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Originally published Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 5:31 AM

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Stephen Hawking is star of Seattle's Science Luminaries Series

Stephen Hawking and astronauts Bonnie Dunbar and George "Pinky" Nelson are among speakers featured in Seattle's monthlong Science Luminaries Series, which investigates "the intersections of science, art and society." The series continues June 9, 16, 22 and 29.

Seattle Times arts writer


The first Seattle Science Festival was in full swing last Saturday with a Science EXPO Day that packed the grounds of Seattle Center with science-hungry youngsters and their parents. The festival's Science Luminaries Series, five panel discussions/performances that "celebrate and showcase the intersections of science, art and society," should have equally broad appeal.

The series, aimed at middle-schoolers and their elders, kicked off June 1 with a talk about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's "Reinventing the Toilet" initiative. Four more events, including one featuring Stephen Hawking, are coming up in June.

"Hackers": Computer scientist Yoshi Kohno, national-security expert Deborah Gracio and IT-security specialist (and former "notorious hacker") Pablos Holman discuss the hazards — viruses, worms, identity theft and more — that threaten computer users. Composer-musician Amy Denio contributes the art element with "The Inadvertent Hacker: An Operetta." 8 p.m. Saturday, Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave., Seattle.

"Evolution": Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, paleontologist Jack Horner and biologist Dr. Leroy Hood discuss evolutionary theory, with Baba Brinkman's "Rap Guide to Evolution" and Spectrum Dance Theater's "Euclidean Space" (a brilliant new piece by Donald Byrd) contributing the artistic commentary. June 16, Paramount Theatre. This event is sold out.

"Space": Former NASA space-shuttle astronauts Bonnie Dunbar and George "Pinky" Nelson join Sierra Nevada Corp. Chairman Mark Sirangelo (developer of the Dream Chaser Space System space plane) in a discussion about the transition from government-funded space activity to the entry of private companies into space exploration and enterprises. The Seattle Opera, performing Rachel Portman's "The Little Prince," and Seattle Aerial Arts will add airborne flair to the program. 8 p.m. June 22, Space Gallery, Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle.

"Gaming": Game-industry movers and shakers Kim Swift, Marty O'Donnell and Chris Taylor discuss the sound, design and vision of computer games. Their discussion will be followed by a screening of "The Matrix," accompanied live by the Seattle Symphony. (Don Davis, composer of the "Matrix" score, will conduct.) Panel discussion 6 p.m., "Matrix" concert at 8 p.m. June 29, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle.

Single series tickets: $10-$40. VIP series tickets: $125, which includes pre-lecture VIP receptions, but does not include the sold-out June 16 event with Stephen Hawking (800-664-8775 or

Michael Upchurch: