LSC Genius Gala 6.0 to celebrate ‘Techno-Optimists’

LSC News

This year, Liberty Science Center is celebrating optimism – specifically “techno-optimists,” the singularly brilliant technologist entrepreneurs who are inventing a better future for all of us.

The winners of our 2017 Genius Awards, who will be honored at our Genius Gala 6.0 on Friday, May 5, reflect just such individuals. They are:

  • Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, a mathematician and one of the first African-American women to be employed by NASA, as well as the subject of the Academy Award-nominated film Hidden Figures.
  • Ray Kurzweil, one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, authors, and futurists who has been called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes, and the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison” by Inc. magazine.
  • SpotMini, the newest robot from Boston Dynamics, the company that is on the forefront of designing bipedal and quadrupedal robots whose movements uncannily mimic those of human beings and animals. Also to be honored will be SpotMini’s carbon-based enablers, Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert and the Boston Dynamics Robotics Team.

In making the announcement, LSC president and CEO Paul Hoffman said: “Given the current pessimism and uncertainty that’s unfortunately sweeping the media and our society, we are making the 2017 Genius Gala a celebration of ‘techno-optimists,’ those visionaries and trailblazers whose work is profoundly transforming the world in which we live, now and in the future.”

Ms. Johnson, Mr. Kurzweil, Mr. Raibert and SpotMini will join previous Genius Gala honorees Frank Gehry, Jack Horner, Dr. Ellen Langer, Kip Thorne, Sir Richard Branson, Garry Kasparov, Jane Goodall, Oliver Sacks, Temple Grandin, Dean Kamen, Sylvia Earle, Craig Venter, Cori Bargmann, Ernő Rubik, Jeff Bezos, Vint Cerf, and Jill Tarter in LSC’s Genius Gallery, a permanent, interactive display at LSC.

The 2017 Genius Gala begins at 6pm on May 5 at LSC in Jersey City and brings together 700 industry leaders and philanthropists from the NY/NJ metropolitan area. All Gala proceeds benefit LSC’s exhibitions and programs, particularly the science-education programs that LSC does for 91,000 at-risk children across the NJ/NY region.

For more information on this year’s Genius Gala and honorees, visit

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