Contact: Wendy Malloy
Pacific Science Center, Seattle
(206) 443-2879

SEATTLE - May 11, 2012 - The average American flushes the toilet about five times per day. Have you ever wondered what would happen to all the human waste generated by the nearly two million of us in King County alone if we didn't have access to the toilets and sanitation systems on which we rely every day? For about 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to safe and affordable toilets, this is a stark reality. Lack of access to adequate sanitation systems is the largest cause of disease worldwide.

To increase local awareness of this global sanitation crisis and the innovative visionaries working to solve this immense challenge, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $88,000 to the inaugural Seattle Science Festival. The grant funds the Science Festival's Luminaries Series: Reinventing the Toilet event on June 1, the first of five evening programs of the Luminaries of Science Series to be held throughout the month of June.

In July 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge to reduce water-borne disease and improve the lives of billions of people worldwide. Teams of researchers worldwide are now working to invent waterless, hygienic toilets that are safe and affordable for people in the developing world and don't need to be connected to a sewer. Luminaries Series: Reinventing the Toilet on Friday, June 1 at 8 p.m. at the Seattle Repertory Theatre features two eco-pioneers who will give the "straight poop" about this global challenge.

Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization and the World Toilet College in Singapore will be joined by renowned British author Rose George, whose book The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste/The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters, was judged one of the best books of 2008 by The Economist newspaper, and one of the top 10 science books of the same year by the American Library Association.

The Science Luminaries Series is a month-long program consisting of five provocative and entertaining evenings that will celebrate the exploration of science and technology through a new cultural paradigm that interweaves TED-style talks with cultural performances.

Tickets to the Luminaries Series events for students, general admission, preferred seating and VIP reception (includes meet and greet with Luminaries Series speakers) can be purchased for individual events or for the entire series at Ticket prices range from $10- $125.

The Luminaries Series is one strand of the month-long celebration of science taking place in June, 2012, as part of the inaugural Seattle Science Festival. Additional programs include Science EXPO Day, a free family event on June 2 on the grounds of Seattle Center, featuring more than 150 hands-on exhibits, demonstrations and activities and Science Festival week, June 3-10, comprised of more than 90 programs and events for all ages throughout the Puget Sound area.

Showcasing the best scientific, technological and educational resources the region has to offer, the Seattle Science Festival is organized by Pacific Science Center in collaboration with the community's cultural, educational, research and business communities. Collaborators to date include: University of Washington, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Institute for Systems Biology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), EMP Museum, Seattle Opera, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, PATH, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle Children's Research Center, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle University, Washington NASA Space Grant, Washington STEM and many more organizations. Visit the Seattle Science Festival website for more details and the current event calendar.

In addition to a generous grant from lead sponsor JPMorgan Chase Foundation, program support for the Seattle Science Festival comes from The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Next 50 Seattle Center 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ordinary People Foundation, Intellectual Ventures, Google and Washington STEM, media partner, KOMO 4 and exclusive print partner, The Seattle Times.

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