Press Release: Starmus 2014


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ENGLISH PRESS RELEASE STARMUS 2014 ‘Beginnings: the making of the modern cosmos’

Following on from the huge success of the first Starmus “50 years in space” festival in Tenerife in June, 2011, which featured keynote presentations from internationally renowned Astronauts, Cosmonauts and Scientists such as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Alexei Leonov, Richard Dawkins, Kip Thorne and George Smoot, we are very pleased to announce the second Starmus 2014 Festival, which will be taking place in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain from 22nd to 28th September 2014, to address astronomy, science and the arts under the title ‘Beginnings: the making of the modern cosmos’.

– The speakers will include Nobel Prize winners Robert W. Wilson and Sir Harold W. Kroto the chemist and physicist, and eminent ethologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist and scientist Richard Dawkins.

– The event is driven by its developer Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist researcher IAC (Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute) and a scientific advisory board including Dr Brian May, astrophysicist and guitarist for the legendary rock band “Queen” and Alexei Leonov, the legendary Russian cosmonaut who made the first space walk in 1965. The Festival is supported by Gobierno de Canarias, Cabildo de Tenerife, International Astronomical Union and Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute (IAC).

– An appointment to enjoy, learn and share together with some of the brightest minds of our time under the Canary Island’s skies.


An International Festival of international knowledge dedicated to the world of astronomy and science promoted by Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and festival director. This second edition will address the theme “Beginnings : the making of the modern cosmos” from a multidisciplinary point of view and it has the support of the Government of Canarias and Cabildo of Tenerife and the collaboration of the Abama Golf & Spa Resort, managed by Ritz Carlton.

Enjoy the presence of a panel of guests including Nobel Laureates and eminent scholars and international figures from various fields of science, knowledge and the arts.

Starmus 2014 will take place between 22 and 28 September 2014 on the islands of Tenerife (Canary Islands – Spain) and is intended for attendees to learn and share knowledge and experiences of astronomy, science and the arts, whilst enjoying the skies and landscapes of the Canary Islands, in the company of the greatest minds of our time


The first edition of the festival “50 years in space: Poyekhali” was a heartfelt tribute to the pioneers of the space race with a central act, the ‘Tribute to Yuri Gagarin’, the first human to travel into space on 12 April 1961.

We also had the immense privilege of having the presence among others of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon on July 21, 1969, in the last Congress he attended in his life. Alexei Leonov, the first human to perform a spacewalk on March 18, 1965. It also featured a cast of fellow astronauts and cosmonauts both in successive missions of Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft such as Viktor Gorbatko, Bill Anders Apollo 8, Jim Lovell (Apollo 13), and the legendary ‘Buzz ‘ Aldrin, pilot of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history, and Charlie Duke (Apollo 16), the tenth man to walk on the lunar surface.

In the lectures we enjoyed presentations from leading world figures in science such as the eminent ethologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist and scientist Richard Dawkins; the Nobel Prize winning molecular biologist Jack Szostak; the Nobel physicist and astronomer George F. Smoot, theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical applications of the Theory of General Relativity, and Brian May, astrophysicist and guitarist of the rock band ‘Queen’.

Another highlight was the performance of the pioneering ambient and space rock band ‘Tangerine Dream’ with their characteristic “cosmic” sound, who were joined by Brian May on stage to perform together.


This second edition of the festival presents an even more ambitious programme, and is seeking even greater international coverage. This revolves around five areas of distinct activities:

1) ‘Conferences’

They are the highlight, and will be held on the premises of the Abama Golf and Spa Resort which is managed by the Ritz Carlton (Tenerife) chain. A panel of international luminaries from different fields of science and the arts will sit and discuss the central theme of this year’s event: ‘Beginnings: the making of the modern cosmos’.

We have the great pleasure to present the first three speakers already confirmed for Starmus 2014 to date:

a) Richard Dawkins (England) is a famous ethologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist and writer. He is the author of The Selfish Gene, published in 1976, work that popularized the evolutionary vision focused on genes, and which introduced the meme and memetic terms, “The Extended Phenotype”, which states that the phenotypic effects are not limited to the body of a body, but can stretch in the environment and the God Delusion, which sold more than 2,000,000 copies. The book held the belief in a supernatural creator, and that belief in a personal God is a kind of mirage, a false belief held tenaciously despite the strong evidence against. In 2005 the magazine ‘Discover’ referred to him as ‘Darwin’s rottweiler’.

b) Sir Harold W. Kroto (USA) is a chemist and university professor who won the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1996, for his research on a new form of geometrical crystallization of carbon from the chemical synthesis of fullerenes. These structures are used in the manufacture of high temperature resistant materials and even as substitutes for silicon in the chip due to their exceptional stability.

In 1995 he launched the ‘Vega Science Trust’ ( to create videos with quality scientists ‘broadcasts’ for broadcast on televison. Today he is very involved in the Geoset (Global Educational Outreach for Science, Engineering, and Technology) programme that exploits the creative dynamics revolutionary Internet to improve the general level of scientific compression and raise awareness about the importance of science worldwide.

c) Robert W. Wilson (USA) is a physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1978 for his discovery in 1964 of the cosmic microwave background or CMB confirming assumptions made by the theory of the Big Bang.

In 1970 he discovered along with his team many interstellar molecules including carbon monoxide.

As director of Radio Physics Research Department of Bell Institute astronomical techniques he used to measure the Earth – space propagation of some infrared wavelengths with further applications in wireless and optical communications. He has been a member of the ‘U.S. National Academy of Science’ since 1979. The other speakers will be announced throughout 2014 until two months before the event.

2) 108′

A select group of astronomers, physicists and engineers will sit inside the dome of the Gran Telescope Canarias ‘Roque de Los Muchachos’ on the island of La Palma to present, analyze and discuss the latest developments in their respective fields.

Its duration, 108’ is the same time as the first space trip that Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took aboard Vostok 1 on 12 April 1961.

3) ‘Teide Star Party’

A magical evening of stargazing at one of the clearest skies in the world in the crater (2000 meters above sea level) at the foot of Mount Teide. Speakers and audience share the experience of seeing the cosmos together outdoors sharing knowledge and experiences.

This will be an enriching experience that will give attendees the opportunity to exchange their views with real geniuses of science.

4) ‘Astrophotography International Contest’

Capturing the elusive beauty of the night sky with their cameras, and participate to win a unique and exclusive prize, an hour of observation in the GTC ‘Roque de Los Muchachos’ La Palma, the world’s largest optical telescope, as well as free admission to the festival.

5) Sonic Universe

A concert by a world class musician/rock band who will perform the music of the stars and the sounds of the cosmos.