Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 11 April 2019

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, 11 April 2019
LiKaShing building - Room LK120
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

The LASERs are an international 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 and the dates for the Bay Area. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the Bay Area 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 LK120
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: Helen Bronte-Stewart (Stanford/ Neurology) on "Using Art and Science to Improve the Lives of People with Parkinson's disease" Improving the sense of embodiment for a person with Parkinson's disease can be highly therapeutic... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Adrienne Mayor (Stanford/ Classics and History and Philosophy of Science) on "Gods and Robots" Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence?... 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: Jay McClelland (Co-Director, Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology, Stanford University) on "Embodiment in Mathematical Cognition" Why embodiment is important in learning Math... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Rhonda Holberton (Media Artist, SJSU) on "Best of Both Worlds: Physical Ramifications of Digitally Engineered Reality(s)" The creators of virtual worlds should take into account the collective needs of the physical one... 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
    • Helen Bronte-Stewart is the John E. Cahill Family Professor in the department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery at the Stanford University Medical Center. She is also Director of the Stanford Movement Disorders Center, Division Chief of the Movement Disorders division, and co-director of the Stanford Balance Center. Her expertise in single neuronal electrophysiology in primates has been transferred to the operating room where she performs the intra-operative microelectrode mapping of basal ganglia nuclei during deep brain stimulations (DBS) procedures for the treatment of patients with Movement Disorders. Her research focus is on elucidating the mechanisms of abnormal brain activity that contribute to abnormal movement and balance disorders in Parkinson's disease, tremor and dystonia. She has developed new technology to measure human motor control such as a MIDI keyboard, which has been developed by Intel's division of Healthcare Technology. In the Stanford Human Motor Control & Balance laboratory, her team is investigating the effects of interventions such as DBS and/or exercise on specific aspects of balance and upper extremity movement in Parkinson's disease. In the operating room, she and her colleagues record electrical signals directly from the human brain and have demonstrated that DBS suppresses an abnormal rhythm in the brain and may act like a brain pacemaker. Her passion for understanding how the brain controls movement comes from a background in classical and modern dance.
    • Adrienne Mayor, a historian of ancient science, investigates natural knowledge contained in myths and oral traditions. Mayor's most recent book is "Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology" (2018). Other books include "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World" (2014) and a biography of Mithradates VI, "The Poison King," a National Book Award finalist (2009). Her research looks at ancient "folk science" precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor's two books on pre-Darwinian fossil traditions in classical antiquity and in Native America opened a new field within the emerging discipline of Geomythology, and her book on the origins of biological weapons uncovered the ancient roots of biochemical warfare. A research scholar in Classics and the History and Philosophy of Science Program, she is currently a Berggruen Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford.
    • Jay McClelland is Co-Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology at Stanford University, where he was formerly the chair of the Psychology Department. In fall 2006 McClelland moved to Stanford University from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a professor of psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. He also holds a part-time appointment as Consulting Professor at the Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit (NARU) within the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester. In 1986 McClelland published Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition" with David Rumelhart. His present work focuses on learning, memory processes, and psycholinguistics. He is a former chair of the Rumelhart Prize committee, having collaborated with Rumelhart for many years. Awards include: William W. Cumming prize from Columbia University (1970), Research Scientist Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (1981—86, 1987—97), Rumelhart Prize (2010), and C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize (2014). He has been a Fellow of the National Science Foundation (1970—73). In July 2017, McClelland was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
    • Rhonda Holberton's multimedia installations make use of digital and interactive technologies integrated into traditional methods of art production. Holberton received her MFA from Stanford University and her BFA from the California College of the Arts. She was a distinguished lecturer at Stanford University and is currently a professor of Digital Media Art at San Jose State University. Holberton was a CAMAC Artist in Residence at Marnay-sur-Seine, France and awarded a Fondation T‚not Fellowship, Paris, France. Her recent solo exhibitions include Transfer Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions (San Francisco, CA), City Limits Gallery and Royal Nonesuch (Oakland, CA), and the Berkeley Art Center (Berkeley, CA). Holberton's 3D Animation, Best of Both Worlds, was recently acquired by SFMOMA and her work is included many notable private collections. She was recently nominated for a three person exhibition for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, curated by SFMOMA's Curator Jenny Gheith. Holberton has been included in exhibitions at the Yerba Center Center for the Arts, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and the San Francisco Arts Commission and was selected for a solo presentation in ZONA MACO SUR 2016 in Mexico City. Her work has been featured in Paper Journal, Terremoto Magazine, PLASMA, SFAQ, Art in America, Art Practical and Daily Serving, among others. Holberton is represented by CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions.
    • 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. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.

    Extended abstracts:

    Some of the greatest contributors to mathematics and physics can be said to have had a highly "embodied" approach to understanding deep mathematical ideas. In my talk I will discuss why embodiment might be important in learning math and in discovering mathematical ideas. I will present relevant findings from research in Cognitive and Education Science, and I will talk about current steps toward an AI/Cognitive Science of Embodied Mathematical Cognition.

    Who first imagined robots, automatons, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence? Long before technology made self-moving devices possible, concepts of artificial life--and qualms about replicating nature--were explored in ancient mythology. Beings that were "made, not born" featured in Greek myths about Jason and the Argonauts, the bronze robot Talos, the sorceress Medea, the craftsman Daedalus, the fire-bringer Prometheus, and Pandora, the artificial woman fabricated by the god of technology Hephaestus,-and in ancient legends of India and China. From the age of myth to the proliferation of real automata in Hellenistic times, the impulse to create artificial life is timeless.

    Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disease that is diagnosed based on loss of mobility, the presence of resting tremor and difficulty walking. However, it also includes non-motor features that may predate the motor features and cause great distress. The combination of a progressive loss of motor and non-motor function leads to a loss of the positive sense of oneself in one's body, or embodiment, that is rarely discussed in medical literature. I will use two examples of art (dance) and science (brain pacing) to address how improving the sense of embodiment for a person with Parkinson's disease can be highly therapeutic.

    We are living through a crisis of reality. Recent world-wide elections have revealed many people living in parallel, but rarely overlapping, realities. Today, ubiquitous screens mediate bodily experiences of the physical world. In turn, we are beginning to see digital content shaping material reality. Technologies to deliver Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR) will soon become as common as smartphones are today. At the same time, the material environment and physical bodies living within it are approaching a critical moment of climate-induced destabilization that can only be mitigated by collective action. If VR can create a situation in which the user's entire environment is determined by the creators of the virtual world, then it is imperative that the creators of virtual worlds take into account the collective needs of the physical one.

    Photos and videos of this evening


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