Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of August 13, 2015

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, August 13, 2015
c/o Stanford University
Li Ka Shing LK120
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, Li Ka Shing 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 4pm.
What (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Tami Spector (USF) on "The Molecular Elusive" The ways in which chemists represent the elusive and transient... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Tony Wyss-Coray (Stanford/ Neurology) on "Young Blood for Old Brains" The process of "inflammaging" is likely to contribute to brain dysfunction associated with aging... 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: James Wall (Stanford/ Biodesign) on "Biodesign: training the next generation of medical technology innovators" Developing leaders in biomedical technology innovation... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Weidong Yang (Kine-tech) on "Data insights through gestural interactive 3D visualization" A gestural interface for "flying" through 3D graphs... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
    • Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist 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.
    • Tami Spector is a Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of San Francisco. Trained as a physical organic chemist, her scientific work has focused on fluorocarbons, strained ring organics, and the molecular dynamics and free energy calculations of biomolecules. She also has a strong interest in aesthetics and chemistry and has published and presented work on molecular and nano- aesthetics, the visual image of chemistry, and the relationship between chemistry and contemporary visual art. She is on the governing and editorial boards of Leonardo/ISAST, co-hosts the San Francisco based Leonardo Arts Sciences Evening Rendezvous' (LASERs), and serves as the co-editor of an on-going special section "Art and Atoms" for Leonardo Journal.
    • James Wall received an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University in 1999. He graduated from medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. He completed a General Surgery residency at the University of California San Francisco in 2010 and then spent a year learning advanced laparoscopic and endoscopic techniques at the IRCAD institute in Strasbourg, France. James finalized his formal medical training with the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. In addition to his medical training, James is an alumnus of the Stanford Biodesign program and holds a Masters degree in Bioengineering from Stanford University. He founded InSite Medical Technologies in 2007 to develop new approaches to regional anesthesia that resulted in a novel device for epidural access. His current research interest is in the design, development and analysis of medical technology as well as the emerging field of surgical endoscopy. He currently leads the surgical endoscopy program Lucile Packard and is the Assistant Director of the Biodesign Innovation Fellowship Program.
    • Tony Wyss-Coray is a professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, the Co-Director of the NIH-sponsored Stanford Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and the Associate Director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration at the Palo Alto VA. His lab investigates the role of immune responses in brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. He combines the study of mouse models with human clinical samples using cytomic, proteomic, and bioinformatics tools. He is the recipient of an NIH Director's Transformative Research Award, a Zenith award from the Alzheimer's Association, and a distinguished scholar award from the John Douglas French Alzheimer Foundation. He has been a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos and at TED Global in London, and he is the co-founder of two companies and inventor on multiple patents. He has received several honors and awards.
    • Weidong Yang has a Ph. D. in Physics and a M.S in Computer Science. He has also been practicing the art of photography and dancing. With experience in both science and art, he founded Kinetech Arts in 2013, a dance company that explores the boundary of applying science and technology in theatre performance. He founded Kineviz in 2014, developing solution in human data interface and 3D visualization.

    Extended abstracts:


    This talk focuses on the ways in which chemists represent the elusive and transient, and the aesthetics of these representations. Chemistry by its very nature is a science of transformation; reactions begin with knowable starting materials and end with tangible products; yet, for chemists it is often the non-isolable molecular species that exist en route from these stable endpoints that are particularly fascinating. These immaterial unstable states can only be imagined through drawn or computationally rendered molecular depictions. How chemists map chemical instability into the legible domain of molecular representations and the associative aesthetics of such representations are my focus.

    An introducion to the biodesign experience.

    The Wyss-Coray lab at Stanford is interested in the role of immune responses and inflammation in brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. As humans get older many beneficial immune responses decline, while low-level chronic inflammation increases throughout the body. This process, which has been dubbed "inflammaging", is likely to contribute to brain dysfunction associated with aging. Indeed, recent studies from our laboratory have shown that in artificially induced "Siamese" mice, which share a common circulatory system through a process of parabiosis, the blood of old mice is sufficient to induce degenerative changes in the brains of young mice and reduce their memory function. We have isolated blood factors with known functions in the immune system, which are responsible for some of these detrimental effects. By targeting and neutralizing such factors during normal aging or in models of neurodegeneration we are exploring new therapeutic strategies. On the other hand, in the same model of parabiosis, old mice benefit from exposure to a young circulatory system: old brains show signs of rejuvenation which include increased levels of neurogenesis in a brain region involved in memory formation, reduced neuroinflammation, and activation of genes involved in memory function and cellular remodeling. Moreover, blood plasma harvested from young mice or young humans is capable of improving memory function in old mice or in mice that model Alzheimer's disease. The lab is now searching for factors in young blood that mediate these beneficial effects.


    3D data visualization provides several advantages over 2D. It permits much greater information density; perspective and fluid changing of perspective; scale and keeping track of it; location and the relationship among many. The metaphor in 2D information display is that of zooming (map) and transporting (web). The metaphor in 3D is that of visiting and navigation, it resembles our experience of the physical world. In this presentation, we will demonstrate a project that visualizes and compares communication structures among different industries in 3D graphs. Those graphs are constructed from meta-data collected from actual usage on Box collaboration platform. A gestural interface for "flying" through data will also be demonstrated. This work was carried out as a client project for Box and was displayed at Boxworks conference 2015 at Moscone center, SF.

    Photos and videos of this evening