Liberty Science Center to honor 4 scientists at Genius Gala

The Liberty Science Center's Paul Hoffman. (LSC)

The Liberty Science Center’s 2018 Genius Gala will celebrate both the Jersey City institution’s 25th anniversary and a quartet of science and technology pioneers, it announced Thursday.

The black-tie event, scheduled for May 11, will benefit the center’s exhibitions and programs, including the science education programs LSC offers for 91,000 at-risk children in the New Jersey and New York area.

“Our 2018 Genius Award winners are four visionary women and men of science, ages 24 to 63, who are busting paradigms,” LSC CEO and President Paul Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “Each personifies what it means to be a genius. Each is using his or her exceptional intellectual and creative abilities to disrupt and innovate both in their respective fields and for the betterment of humanity.”

The four honorees who will receive the 2018 Genius Awards, the highest honored bestowed by the center, at the gala, are:

  • Vitalik Buterin: The Russian-Canadian programmer is the creator of Ethereum, the world’s second-most-valuable cryptocurrency network, behind Bitcoin. He is ranked No. 10 on Fortune’s 2017 list of the most influential people in business under age 40.
  • George Church: The serial entrepreneur and genomics professor at Harvard University launched the Nebula Genomics startup in February, aiming to sequence an individual’s genome for less than $1,000 and securely store the data via blockchain.
  • Laurie Santos: The professor of psychology at Yale studies what is unique about the human mind, comparing cognitive abilities of humans vs. animals such as monkeys and dogs. She once taught capuchin monkeys to use money and found they made the same poor choices as humans.
  • Sara Seager: Called “the Indiana Jones of astronomy,” the Massachusetts Institute of Technology astrophysicist is seeking the “holy grail of planetary science,” a second Earth. She is a pioneer in the new field of exoplanetology, with her concept forming the foundation of exoplanet atmosphere studies.

The gala will bring together more than 700 of the region’s industry leaders and philanthropists. The event’s corporate chairs are Steve Howe, U.S. chairman and Americas managing partner, EY, and Ralph Izzo, chairman, CEO and president, Public Service Enterprise Group.

(READ MORE from ROI-NJ on the Liberty Science Center.)

Co-chairs include:

  • David Barry, CEO and president, Urby and Ironstate Development Co.;
  • Christopher Boerner, president and head of international markets, Bristol-Myers Squibb;
  • Jennifer Chalsty, director, advisory council, James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University;
  • Kevin Conlin, chairman, CEO and president, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey;
  • Michael DeMarco, CEO, Mack-Cali Realty Corp.;
  • Alma DeMetropolis, managing director, JPMorgan Private Bank;
  • Matthew D. Ellis, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Verizon Communications;
  • Robert Garrett, co-CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health;
  • David Gockel, CEO and president, Langan;
  • Brian Gragnolati, CEO and president, Atlantic Health System;
  • Joseph Hand, VP and chief of staff, Celgene Corp.;
  • Robert Hariri, co-founder and vice chairman, Human Longevity Inc., and founder, chairman and CEO, Celularity Inc.;
  • Barbara Koster, senior VP and chief information officer, Prudential Financial;
  • Carl Kuehner, chairman and CEO, Building and Land Technology Inc.;
  • Bruce Levy, CEO and president, BMR Energy;
  • Mitch Livingston, CEO and president, NJM Insurance Co.;
  • Barry Ostrowsky, CEO and president, RWJBarnabas Health;
  • Laura Bilodeau Overdeck, founder and president, Bedtime Math;
  • John Overdeck, co-founder and co-chairman, Two Sigma;
  • Chirag Patel, co-founder, chairman and co-CEO, Amneal Pharmaceuticals;
  • Carlos Rodriguez, CEO and president, ADP;
  • Vijay Swarup, VP of research & development, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co.;
  • Gregory Tusar, CEO, Greywolf Consulting LLC;
  • Josh Weston, honorary chairman, ADP;
  • Susan Keating and Norman Worthington, executive chairman, Star2Star Communications and Blueface Cos.

For more information on the gala, click here.