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 Center, Room 101
Good map and driving directions here. 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.
Cathy Zoi (Stanford/ Energy Transformation Collaborative) on "Human Ingenuity, the Renewable Resource that Really Can Halt the Climate Crisis"
Scientists and engineers have pioneered a suite of technologies to power our economies without emitting greenhouse gases... Read more
Lucia Jacobs (UC Berkeley Psychology) on "How the Brain Evolved from a Nose"
The first fundemental revolution in the evolution of the mind was the ability to map space... 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.
Rachna Nivas (Chitresh Das Dance Company) on "India's Meditation in Motion: Pushing Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Boundaries through Kathak Dance"
A North Indian classical dance technique in which the performer simultaneously performs complex rhythmical movement, recites, sings and plays an instrument... Read more
Chris Chafe (Stanford CCRMA) and Josef Parvizi (Stanford Neurology) on "Music from (your) Brain"
The Brain Stethoscope in Clinical & Musical Applications ...Read more
- 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking
You can mingle with the speakers and the audience
Thinking about Thought
Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
Previous Art/Science Evenings
- Chris Chafe is a composer/ cellist / music researcher with an interest in computer music composition and interactive performance. He has been a long-term denizen of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University where he directs the center and teaches computer music courses. His doctorate in music composition was completed at Stanford in 1983 with prior degrees in music from the University of California at San Diego and Antioch College. Two year-long research periods were spent at IRCAM, and the Banff Center for the Arts developing methods for computer sound synthesis based on physical models of musical instrument mechanics. Two recent discs of his works are available from Centaur Records.
- Lucia Jacobs is a cognitive neuroscientist whose research addresses fundamental questions about the evolution of the brain and cognition. The goal of her research is to understand how a mind is created from the building blocks of learning, memory and the causal links among events and how cognitive primitives expand, duplicate, exapt and specialize over developmental and evolutionary time. Jacobs trained in animal behavior (1978 B.S., Cornell), behavioral ecology (1987 Ph.D., Princeton) and neuroscience (postdoctoral positions: Universities of Toronto, Pittsburgh and Utah). She joined the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1993 and is currently Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. Academic awards and honors include the 1995 Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford, 1999 Prytanean Prize, 2004 Santa Fe Public Lecture and the 2013 Michigan State Distinguished Lecturer in Cognitive Science. Her work focuses on the evolution of spatial navigation and the hippocampus, with studies exploring species, sex and developmental differences in the expression of this trait, culminating in the publication of the 2003 parallel map theory of hippocampal function (Psychological Review). She has published over 40 scientific articles in the field of animal behavior, cognitive psychology and neuroscience and is currently writing a book on olfaction and the evolution of navigation for Princeton University Press.
- Rachna Nivas is a soloist, principal member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company and Director of the Chhandam School, one of the largest classical Indian dance institutions in the world. Studying under Guru, Pandit Chitresh Das, for 16 years, Rachna brings a fierce passion to her performances and has emerged as a compelling leader amongst the next generation of Kathak artists. Deemed "charismatic" and "revelatory" by the SF Chronicle, Rachna has performed at prestigious venues across the U.S. and India - Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Roy and Edna Disney Cal/Arts Theater and Getty Museum in Los Angeles, National Center for Performing Arts in Mumbai, National Center for Kathak Dance (Kathak Kendra) in New Delhi, and many others. She is also actively involved in arts education programs and lecture demonstrations at schools and universities nationwide. As Director of the Chhandam School, Rachna manages over 500 students, 15 teachers, and 7 locations in California. She has been an instrumental leader in building the school as a premiere cultural and educational academy. Rachna is also famed for her exhilarating demonstrations of Kathak Yoga, of which she pioneered playing harmonium while simultaneously singing, dancing, and improvising sophisticated rhythmical mathematics.
- 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 "Demystifying Machine Intelligence" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.
- Catherine Zoi has spent 30 years in the energy and environmental sectors at the nexus between technology and policy. She is currently Consulting Professor at Stanford and directs the recently---established Energy Transformation Collaborative (ETC). Cathy served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary and acting Under Secretary at the Department of Energy, overseeing more than $30 billion in energy investments. In the private sector, Cathy has been an energy investor (Silver Lake and Bayard Capital), a board member (Ice Energy, SES, Pacific Solar), and a management consultant (ICF and Next Energy) with bases in the US and Australia. She was the founding CEO of both the Alliance for Climate Protection established by former Vice President Al Gore and the NSW Sustainable Energy Development Authority, a $50m fund to commercialize technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the early 1990s, Cathy pioneered the Energy Star program at the US EPA and was Chief of Staff for the Office on Environmental Policy in the Clinton White House. Cathy has a BS in Geology from Duke and an MS in Engineering from Dartmouth.
Climate change: its causes are so enmeshed in today's economies and its impacts so far-reaching, the topic incites a range of human responses not constructive to addressing it, including paralysis, denial, and rancorous debate. However, people do have the capacity to halt global warming. Scientists and engineers have pioneered a suite of technologies to power our economies without emitting greenhouse gases - and those technologies keep getting better. Entrepreneurs have created businesses to turn those inventions into commercial enterprises - and those offerings are spreading globally. Consumers continue to crave innovation that improves convenience, welfare, and quality of life - and this now includes technologies that reduce pollution. The growth of solar energy, the smart grid, electric cars, precision agriculture, the internet of things, and the sharing economy demonstrate human ingenuity taking hold. Continued innovation by inventors, entrepreneurs, and consumers -- in both digital realms and in new materials -- underscores that human ingenuity is a renewable resource. And if policy makers steer economies toward development and deployment of `good goods', modern society is capable of safeguarding the planet.
A groundbreaking innovation of Kathak maestro, Pandit Chitresh Das, Kathak Yoga is a technique developed from Kathak dance (classical dance from North India), where the dancer performs complex rhythmical compositions in footwork, movement and expression while reciting the underlying rhythmic cycle (theka), singing the corresponding rhythmic melody (lehara), and simultaneously playing an instrument. Kathak Yoga is a unique and virtuosic practice, innovated by iconic Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, requiring the dancer to integrate focus, breathing, stamina, and weight-bearing movement (the dancer wears ankle bells). The ultimate goal is for the dancer to achieve a complete oneness between the mind, body and spirit. Kathak Yoga was featured as part of Dr. Sarah Morelli's PhD dissertation at Harvard University. For more info and video highlights: http://rachnanivas.com/repertoire/%E2%80%A8kathak-yoga
Brain waves are translated to sound in a collaborative project between Stanford's Departments of Neurology and Music. Josef Parvizi, a music lover and brain scientist, suggested the possibility of tapping into and listening to brain activity as a means to efficiently diagnose epilepsy. Electrode signals from within the brain or from the scalp are sonified to detect seizures. The rhythms and sound textures of normal and abnormal brain behavior are easily distinguished and the sound which results has fascinating qualities which will be demonstrated in music clips by Chris Chafe, a science lover and composer.
Why did brains evolve? Here I suggest that the first fundemental revolution in the evolution of the mind was the ability to map space. And because even bacteria use odors to orient, I propose that the first brain evolved using odors to map the environment and all the resources in it. The implications of this olfactory spatial hypothesis are with us today, where olfactory systems vary widely among different kinds of animals according to their use of odors to navigate. Yet even honeybees and humans perceive odors in the same strange ways. I'll propose that these perceptual peculiarities exist because "birds, bees and even educated fleas" are mapping the diffuse distribution of odors across a landscape in a particular way, in a parallel map structure. This gives animals (including humans) the ability to create a `cognitive map', a unique, flexible representation of space first proposed by Edward C. Tolman, the famous rat psychologist who founded Berkeley's Department of Psychology.
Photos and videos of this evening