BAHFest MIT 2019

BAHFest is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect scientific theory. Our brave speakers present their bad theories in front of a live audience and a panel of judges with real science credentials, who together determine who takes home the coveted BAHFest trophy. And eternal glory, of course.

BAHFest returns to MIT in conjunction with MIT Lecture Series Committee and Cambridge Science Festival on Sunday, March 31st at Kresge Auditorium.

Host and Judges

Ben Lillie

Ben Lillie

Host

Ben Lillie is a high-energy particle physicist who left the ivory tower for the wilds of New York's theater district. He has a B.A. in physics from Reed College, a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Stanford University, and a Certificate in improv comedy from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. He is the founder of Caveat, an event space dedicated to intellectual nightlife opening soon. He is also co-founder of The Story Collider, where people are invited to tell stories of their personal experience of science, is a Moth StorySLAM champion, and was a writer and contributing editor for TED.com.

John McWhorter

John McWhorter

Keynote

John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, teaching linguistics, Western Civilization and music history. He has written extensively on issues related to linguistics, race, and other topics for Time, The New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, The New Republic and elsewhere, and is a Contributing Editor for The Atlantic. He was Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute from 2002 until 2010. He is the author of The Power of Babel, Doing Our Own Thing, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, The Language Hoax, Words on the Move, Talking Back, Talking Black, Losing the Race, and twelve other books, including three academic monographs and two academic article anthologies. The Teaching Company has released five of his audiovisual courses. He spoke at the TED conference in 2013 and 2016, hosts the Lexicon Valley language podcast at Slate, and has appeared regularly on Bloggingheads.TV since 2006.

Rosemary Mosco

Rosemary Mosco

Judge

Rosemary is a nature cartoonist and author. Her webcomic Bird And Moon explores the funny and gross attributes of birds and other critters. She co-wrote the New York Times Best Seller The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid and wrote the graphic novel Solar System: Our Place in Space. She writes nature articles and comics for Audubon and other outlets. Her favorite amphibian is the Paradoxical Frog.

Ben Tolkin

Ben Tolkin

Judge

Ben Tolkin is the winner of BAHFest East 2018. Other than that, he doesn't have any particularly interesting degrees, publications, or achievements, but when it comes to fake science, he is exactly as qualified as everyone else.

John Urschel

John Urschel

Judge

John Urschel is a mathematician and retired professional National Football League (NFL) player. Urschel attended Pennsylvania State University where he played football and received his bachelor’s in mathematics. While at Penn State, he was awarded the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the "academic Heisman." In 2014, Urschel was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round and played three years in the NFL.


Urschel has bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Penn State and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In his program at MIT, Urschel is focusing on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra, and machine learning. Last year, Urschel was named to Forbes' "30 under 30" list of outstanding young scientists. 

Robin Abrahams

Robin Abrahams

Judge

Robin Abrahams writes the popular “Miss Conduct” social advice column for the Boston Globe Sunday magazine, and is the author of the book Miss Conduct’s Mind Over Manners. Robin works as a research associate at Harvard Business School, holds a PhD. in research psychology from Boston University, and is involved in the local theater scene as an actor and dramaturg.  She is married to Marc Abrahams, creator of the Ig Nobel Prizes.