1 Science is in the spotlight at the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s First Light Festival, a month of science-themed plays, readings, workshops and other theatrical activities. In a partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which promotes connections between science and popular culture, the acclaimed theater company investigates topics from the emotional dynamics of working in a research lab to the eccentric brilliance of Alan Turing, the father of artificial intelligence.
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2 This year marks the first annual World Autism Awareness Day, as designated by the United Nations with the goal of fostering international cooperation in research and educational campaigns. In the U.S. the date coincides with Autism Awareness Month, during which many organizations host fund-raising and educational events. One popular destination is the beach of Lake Erie on the Presque Isle peninsula, where the Northwestern Pennsylvania chapter of the Autism Society of America holds its Annual Walk for Autism on April 26.
3 Explore the sociology of late 19th-century America—including racial and ethnic prejudice and the limited roles of women and children—through lithographic illustrations at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art. Running through June 18, the exhibit Harper’s Weekly: Illustrated Themes of the Nineteenth Century offers a vivid and accessible glimpse of language and culture in the U.S. during the newsmagazine’s entire run, from 1857 through 1916.
12–19 Join more than 10,000 neurologists and neuroscientists at the American Academy of Neurology’s 60th Annual Meeting, one of the world’s largest showcases of brain-related scientific research. In addition to the usual educational activities, this year’s meeting features a 60th-birthday bash complete with a quiz show about neurological diagnosis, two off-Broadway plays dramatizing neurological disorders, and a special brainy performance by the Chicago comedy troupe Second City.
14 Neuroscientist John Donoghue of Brown University lectures as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Neuroscience Seminar Series. Donoghue’s lab developed BrainGate, the revolutionary brain-computer interface that allowed a paralyzed man in 2006 to use a computer with his thoughts alone. Tune in live at noon or download the podcast after the lecture is over.
2 What happens when a naturally creative child finds his imagination stifled by his strict upbringing? In the movie Son of Rambow, set in 1982, 11-year-old Will has never been exposed to television, movies or books other than the Bible—until he accidentally sees a pirated copy of First Blood, the inaugural “Rambo” movie. Will is entranced, and he embarks on a mission to shoot his own film, despite the direct conflict with his family’s beliefs.