Sir Brian May and Dr Garik Israelian announced the festival’s theme, ‘Starmus Earth: the future of our home planet’, at a panel event at London’s Royal Society. They were joined by world-renowned ethologist and conservationist Dr Jane Goodall DBE, (who now joins the Starmus Advisory Board), cosmologist Sir Martin Rees and Global Governance Professor Mary Kaldor, who led a unique discussion, moderated by Dr Israelian, on how to solve some of our planet’s most pressing challenges.
Microbiologist and Nobel Laureate Emmanuelle Charpentier joined the panel remotely from a parallel launch event on the river Danube in Bratislava, alongside iPod inventor Tony Fadell and Richard Marko, a cybersecurity expert and CEO of ESET, the festival’s lead partner.
“Starmus has traditionally focused on interrogating the mysteries of the universe, looking upwards to inspire and educate the next generation of explorers and regenerate the spirit of discovery, bringing art, music, and the world’s greatest scientific and artistic minds together to enhance science communication,” said Starmus co-founder Dr Garik Israelian. “As the old saying goes, ‘Earth is a planet too!’ We are a privileged part of the cosmos, and as living beings we are made of star stuff. The very atoms in our bodies were forged in the earliest days of the universe or in the deaths of low-mass and high-mass stars. Earth is in the universe, and just as much a part of it as the stars”.
“Climate change could eventually make life on Earth untenable, and we are seeing signs of that rapid evolution now. We must take steps to take care of our world, and Starmus offers an important voice that draws attention to the urgency” said Dr. Jane Goodall.
In 2024, Starmus will turn its gaze closer to home and analyse how we can tackle the challenges that most threaten Earth’s future, from the threats facing our environment and climate to far-reaching technologies like artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cybersecurity – as well as the humanitarian crises caused by armed conflict around the world.
“Since 2011, STARMUS conferences have assembled scientists and artists to look outwards at the Space around us with clear eyes, to celebrate the wonders of the Universe. This year, more than ever aware of the current threat of the extinction of life in the Biosphere, for the first time, STARMUS focuses inward on our home planet. By bringing together many of the greatest and most free-thinking brains from all countries, we will try to find new answers to the questions we must now ask, to save the life of Planet Earth.” said Sir Brian May, legendary Queen guitarist and Starmus co-founder and Advisory Board member.
This year, Starmus is partnering with ESET – a global cybersecurity company headquartered in Bratislava – to inspire young people in Slovakia and around the world to take responsibility and contribute to the future of our planet, using scientific research and state-of-the art technology.
“ESET’s role is to deliver state-of-the-art technology and innovation that protects societal progress. We believe this progress is brought about by science,” said Richard Marko, CEO of ESET. “We are proud to partner with Starmus to join its efforts in inspiring new generations of scientists and those who appreciate its values.”
Starmus Earth will welcome world-class scientists, artists, and environmentalists to share breakthrough discoveries, debate the big questions and inspire new generations of scientists, technologists, and activists. The Starmus Advisory Board will announce the full line-up of scientists, artists, and musicians later this year, but some of the 40+ confirmed speakers at Starmus Earth include astronaut and Apollo 16 moonwalker Charlie Duke, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, and physicist Donna Strickland (full list on the website).
The festival, as in previous editions, will also award the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication across four categories: Music & Arts, Science Writing, Films & Entertainment, and Lifetime Achievement.
Next year’s festival will be the first Starmus since September 2022, when it was held in Yerevan, Armenia and celebrated 50 years of mankind’s exploration of Mars. Previous incarnations of Starmus have seen the festival travel to Zurich, Switzerland; Trondheim, Norway; and Spain’s Canary Islands.