Zoom with an American Hero! Science Center’s Benefit Happening 11/5


(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) – One of our country’s most celebrated spy heroes is set to headline the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s upcoming benefit, “The Science of Espionage.” Scheduled for November 5, 2020 as a virtual event, “The Science of Espionage” will explore the undercover world of counterintelligence, and keynote speaker Eric O’Neill will regale the crowd with tales of how he was charged with gaining the trust – and ultimately contributing to the conviction – of Robert Hanssen, the most notorious anti-American spy in U.S. history.

In February of 2001, O’Neill used his clever talents and intellect to lure Hanssen out of hiding in plain sight. In the three months leading to the arrest, O’Neill was selected to work with the spy with the newly-minted Information Assurance Division, created to protect all classified FBI intelligence.

Now, O’Neill currently heads of The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security consulting agency in Washington, D.C. He is also the National Security Strategist for Carbon Black, an IT security firm. He also wrote Gray Day, the story of how he took down the first Russian cyber spy. The story went on to inspire the thriller film, Breach, starring Ryan Philippe as O’Neill.

Dubbed the “Smarty Party,” this annual lively speaker presentation follows a unique interactive format and encourages direct questions and answers from the audience.

“Our guests participating in ‘The Science of Espionage’ support the Science Center’s mission to open all minds to science,” said Kate Arrizza, President & CEO of the Science Center. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to open our doors to provide a safe place for learning starting Memorial Day. We made safety paramount to our programming while giving kids a clean and secure place to learn. Attendees of ‘The Science of Espionage’ allow us to continue that work. The virtual platform allows guests to attend in their pajamas from anywhere in the world!”

Co-chairs for the event are Caroline Cummings Rafferty, Mary Freitas and Elizabeth Gordon. Honorary chairpersons are Frances and Jeffrey Fisher, Helene and Matt Lorentzen, Heidi and John Niblack, Christine and Robert Stiller. Host committee members are chairpersons Shani Core and Carolyn Sasso, Ann-Britt and Christian Angle, Nicole and David Atkinson, Molly and Larry Austin, Seena and Brendon Carrington, Page Lee Hufty, Allison Ridder Johnstone, William Meyer, Danielle Moore and Alison and Charles Sieving. Sponsors to date include Frances and Jeffrey Fisher, Helene and Matthew Lorentzen, Heidi and John Niblack, Christine and Robert Stiller, Mary and Mark Freitas, Elizabeth and Ben Gordon, Caroline and Nick Rafferty, Howard Cox, Kathleen and Lew Crampton, Diana and Llwyd Ecclestone, Natasha and Jason Rawding, The John and Dianne Scully Charitable Foundation, Caroline and Ed Sasso, EDS Air Conditioning and Plumbing, Michelle and Howard Kessler, The David and Sondra Mack Foundation, Allison and Stuart Haft, Ellen Liman, Lee and Harvey L. Poppel, Palm Beach Illustrated and PNC Bank.

Tickets are $60 for the presentation only or $100 for the presentation and signed “Gray Day” book package. To purchase and for sponsorship information, contact Marcy Hoffman, director of institutional development, at (561) 370-7738 or mhoffman@sfsciencecenter.org. You can also visit SFScienceCenter.org/Gala.

On display now at the Science Center is Real Bodies: The Exhibition which uses real, perfectly preserved human bodies to deeper explore what it means to be alive and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our bodies. The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science” and the indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” an interactive Everglades exhibit and the 18-hole Conservation Course – an outdoor putting course with science-focused education stations. The newest addition includes a $2.5 million permanent exhibit, “Journey Through the Human Brain” and features the most advanced neuroscience research and technology in the world. Real Bodies: The Exhibition runs through April 21, 2021.

Admission to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is $17.95 for adults $15.95 for seniors, $13.95 for kids ages 3-12 and free for members and kids under 3. Planetarium shows and mini golf are not included in general admission pricing.

For more information on Science Center programming, call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org. Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.