Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 12 April 2017

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, 12 April 2017
c/o Stanford University
LiKaShing building - Room LK130
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

The LASERs are a national program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. See the program for the whole series. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
Where: Stanford University, LiKaShing building - Room LK130
There should be ample parking in the structure on corner of Campus Drive West and Roth Way. (Stanford map)
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 6pm.
Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Goran Konjevod (Origami Artist) on "Origami Beyond Geometry" New approaches to design of folded objects go beyond just two-dimensional geometry... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Eva Silverstein (Stanford/ Cosmology) on "Horizon Dynamics and String Theory" A brief introduction to black hole and cosmological horizons... Read more
  • 7:50-8:10: BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.
  • 8:10-8:35: Megan Palmer (Stanford/ Biosecurity) on "Engineering Biology at Social Scales" How biological engineering is proliferating globally and the challenges this is posing for policy and regulation... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Marjorie Schwarzer on "An Elephant in the Closet: The history of habitat dioramas" Dioramas should be appreciated as a powerful fusion of art and science... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

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See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Archive of past LASERs
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
  • Other recommended events
    • Goran Konjevod has been folding paper for over 25 years. He started by following instructions in origami books. In a clear moment in 2005, after having puzzled about it on and off for 10 years, he reverse-engineered an abstract folded piece that he had seen in a book. From then on, he hsa been folding almost exclusively my own designs. He has been exhibiting my works since 2008. In addition to folding paper, he has been working with thin sheets of copper and stainless steel, using a combination of techniques developed by paperfolders and metalsmiths. Recently, he has also experimented with casting bronze and iron sculptures based on paperfolded patterns. His background is in mathematics and computer science (B.S. in Mathematics, University of Zagreb 1995, Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University 2000). He has worked as a professor (of computer science, at Arizona State University) and as a research scientist (at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory). He has used paperfolding as a tool to teach, because it is unique in bridging mathematics, engineering, art and science.
    • Megan Joan Palmer is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University. At CISAC she leads a research program focused on risk governance in biotechnology and other emerging technologies. Palmer also leads programs aimed at developing best practices and policies for the responsible development of biotechnology. For the last 5 years she served as Deputy Director of the policy-related research program of the multi-university Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc), where she led projects in safety, security, property rights, and governance. She founded and serves as Executive Director of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP), an international fellowship program in responsible biotechnology leadership. She also leads programs in safety and responsible innovation for the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. Palmer currently advises a diversity of organizations on their approach to policy issues in biotechnology, including serving on the board of the synthetic biology program of the Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genomics Institute (JGI). Palmer was previously a William J. Perry Fellow in International Security and visiting scholar at CISAC at Stanford University, and a research scientist at the California Center for Quantitative Bioscience (QB3) at the University of California, Berkeley.
    • Piero Scaruffi is a cultural historian who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s. His poetry has been awarded several national prizes in Italy and the USA. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). His latest book of history is "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011). The first volume of his free ebook "A Visual History of the Visual Arts" appeared in 2012. His latest book is "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in 2008.
    • Marjorie Schwarzer co-directs the Museum Studies Graduate program at University of San Francisco. An award-winning museum scholar and educator, her book, Riches, Rivals and Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America is in its second printing and she has authored over 50 articles on a range of contemporary museum issues. Check out our blog: http://usfmuse.wordpress.com
    • Eva Silverstein is Professor of Physics at Stanford University since 2006. Past Appointments include: Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (1999 - 2000); Fellowship, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1999 - 1999); Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University (1996 - 1997); Permanent Member and Visiting Professor of Physics, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara (2009 - 2010); Assistant Professor, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University (1997 - 2001); Associate Professor, Stanford University, SLAC and Physics Department (2001 - 2006). She has also served on the Advisory Council of Princeton University Department of Physics (2009); the Advisory Board of Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (2004 - 2007); the Advisory Board of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Gravity and Cosmology; the Advisory Board of Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology. She received a B.A. from Harvard University and her PhD. from Princeton University.

    Extended abstracts:

    This November thousands of students from around the world will descend on Boston to compete in a yearly competition in genetic engineering (aka `synthetic biology'). How can we encourage these students put use their new-found skills in building biological machines for good, both now and in the future? Will the same strategies work for their peers, mentors, and heroes? I will discuss how biological engineering is proliferating globally and the challenges this is posing for policy and regulation. I will then describe how an experimental approach to designing governance strategies is helping to shape the future technical and social trajectory of the field.

    Black hole and cosmological horizons play a crucial role in physics. They are central to our understanding of the origin of structure in the universe, while continuing to provide vexing theoretical puzzles. They have become accessible observationally to a remarkable degree, albeit indirectly. I will review how horizons appear in general relativity and quantum field theory. Then I will move to a systematic study of their breakdown and its relevance -- or more precisely, `dangerous irrelevance' -- to thought experiments and real observations in specific situations. After describing the sensitivity of primordial cosmological perturbations to heavy degrees of freedom and large field values, I will share some results exhibiting the breakdown of effective quantum field theory for string-theoretic probes of black hole horizons.

    Habitat dioramas occupy significant square footage in most natural science museums. Yet, their value has been hotly debated. Created before the age of jet travel and the Discovery Channel, and more theatrical than scientifically accurate, are they still relevant as museum exhibitions? Some museum professionals regard dioramas not only as misleading, but boring and static, while visitors have called them creepy displays of dead animals. Perhaps, however, we can appreciate them as a powerful fusion of art and science. "Dioramas," writes former natural science curator Stephen Quinn, "are an illusion created not to deceive us, but ... to tug at our hearts and open our minds." In this talk, drawn from research I conducted for the Oakland Museum of California, I will illustrate this point through discussing the evolution of the diorama as a fascinating artifact that reveals the relationship between urban dwellers and our fantasies about wildlife.

    Traditionally, origami designs are based on the geometry of a two-dimensional sheet of paper. Folds made in the sheet are well-defined by individual creases and the sheet is two-dimensional and doesn't stretch. In the last decade or so, however, a number of approaches to design of folded objects have been developed that go beyond just two-dimensional geometry and use crumpling, tension or surfaces that cannot be folded without stretching. I'll describe some of these approaches, with the focus on my favorite, which involves creating complex curved surfaces using only straight line pleats and the tension generated by pleat intersections.

    Photos and videos of this evening


    The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Stanford Deans of Research; Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; Medicine; and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Continuing Studies; and the Office of Science Outreach.