#StarmusIVFestival2017: Stephen Hawking in London

During the presentation of the Starmus IV Festival 2017 at the Royal Society in London on Friday 19 May, with participation of Professor Stephen Hawking, Professor Garik Israelian (astrophysicist and the founder of Starmus), Raynald Aeschlimann (President and CEO of OMEGA), Professor Claude Nicollier (Switzerland’s first astronaut) and Professor Edvard Moser (neuroscientist and Nobel Laureate), writes Margarita Chrysaki.

Professor Stephen Hawking was one of the panel speakers ahead of the Starmus IV Festival, and said with regards to his new statements on our time left on Earth that he had revised his estimate from the previous 1,000 years to only 100: I strongly believe we should start seeking alternative planets for possible habitation,” he indicated. “We are running out of space on earth and we need to break through technological limitations preventing us living elsewhere in the universe.

I am not alone in this view and many of my colleagues will make further comments at the Starmus.”

Under the name of this great scientist, Starmus created the Stephen Hawking Science Medal, an award which recognizes life time achievements of those who promote science through media on an international level.

The astrophysicist and founder of the Starmus, Garic Israelian points out that the main objective of this festival is to celebrate science and the arts with the goal of bringing an understanding and appreciation of science to the public at large. Based on this, the public will have the opportunity to discover cosmos and get inspired to change the world.

Communicating science is more important now than ever and Israelian emphasized: We want to show the real heroes of society. This festival is about sciences and arts. These are the two most important values. Everything else is in between them. Starmus is about the whole not only about the celebrities. We want to have people that are interested on sciences: space and astronomy and then all other sciences biology, chemistry etc.

I see people who are only interested on joining a lecture of a celebrity because he/she is very popular to the media. But one of the goals of Starmus is to actually kill that and bring together the scientists that they deserve to become famous together with the ones they already are. People should also go to their lectures.

This is my message and the same thing is for music. Last year there was Hans Zimmer participating in the event together with a not very popular but talented rock progressive band called Anathema. Creative musicians should also get the recognition they deserve. I cannot see this selectivity. I promote the good ones and keep them in a very high level.”

The founder of the Starmus festival also underlined the importance of investments in the space industry: Any project is developing new technologies is welcome. Almost 90% of the funds we spent in space missions – for example the Hubble Space Telescope – goes in creating technologies and engineering. For this reason space is a profitable industry as it creates new jobs and contributes to the global workflow,” he concluded.

Margarita Chrysaki is a Brussels-based political analyst. She has a BSc and a Master in political sciences and currently is undertaking research in the field of space activities and the EU strategy on space.

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