The World Think Fest opens today in Boulder, with 200 sessions encompassing the fields of space, jazz and politics. What is it?

A giant, five-day long public think fest that draws economists, diplomats, writers and artists from around the world.

…It’s all about politics, magic, music and economics. Throw in space and religion, a little romance, a diatribe or two on technology and you have the 60th Annual Conference on World Affairs, a week when everyone is encouraged to think with wild abandon.

Founded by University of Colorado sociology professor Howard Higman in 1948, the conference now consists of some 200 sessions over five days. One hundred of the world’s top thinkers – economists, diplomats, musicians and writers – will travel to Boulder to talk about health care, jazz, hip hop, torture, college athletics and more.

Some samplings of what participants are hearing: Why America fears women in politics:

“What might make us fear them, is that we force them to put their necks into the velvet noose of hyper-competence. We make them be better on every score in order to play. If you’ve had to prove yourself more, you get to a place where you feel you have more to offer,” Huges said. That’s scary. And then there’s this: “Maybe the real reason we fear women in power is because we don’t know what they might do,” Hughes said. “They might really do things differently, and we don’t know what that might mean.”

The event is free and open to the public, even via the internet, as key sessions will be live-streamed. You can find the program guide here.