UC Santa Cruz hosts ‘Universe in Verse’ April 16 in the Quarry Amphitheater

photos of the performers in a grid
The Universe in Verse is a celebration of science and nature through poetry and music performed by a constellation of artists and scientists.

The fifth annual Universe in Verse—a charitable celebration of science and nature through poetry and music, created and hosted by writer Maria Popova (Marginalian)—will be held in person at UC Santa Cruz in the Quarry Amphitheater on Saturday, April 16.

For this year’s event, Popova joins forces with Natalie Batalha, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, to explore the marvel and mystery of life, from the creaturely to the cosmic, with stories from the history of science and our search for truth, illustrated with poems about entropy and evolution, trees and mushrooms, consciousness and dark matter, the birth of flowers and the death of stars.

The event will feature the work of poets ranging from Emily Dickinson to Gwendolyn Brooks, performed by a constellation of artists and scientists: Batalha and fellow astronomer Jill Tarter, writers Rebecca Solnit and Roxane Gay, musicians Zoë Keating and Joan As Police Woman, artists Debbie Millman and Wendy MacNaughton, poet Diane Ackerman, cosmologist and jazz saxophonist Stephon Alexander, cognitive scientist and writer Alexandra Horowitz, physicist and writer Alan Lightman, and On Being creator Krista Tippett. There will be live music and stargazing, and some thrilling surprises.

Batalha, who has participated in The Universe in Verse in previous years, is a pioneer in detecting and characterizing planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets) with the goal of understanding where are the most likely cradles of life. She leads the interdisciplinary Astrobiology Initiative at UC Santa Cruz.

For ticket information, directions, and additional details, please see the event website.

To make The Universe in Verse maximally open to all, tickets are available on a pay-what-you-can basis at three levels. Please contribute the maximum you are able, knowing that it would make the experience possible for someone else of humbler means. All proceeds from the show will benefit The Nature Conservancy and a new scholarship at UCSC honoring the life and legacy of astronomer and search-for-life pioneer Frank Drake.

Sponsors and partners of this event include the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, UCSC Astrobiology Initiative, the Boom and Gunderson Family Fund, the Humanities Institute, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Amateur Astronomy Club.