Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of February 11, 2016

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, February 11, 2016
c/o Stanford University
Li Ka Shing Center, Room 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 Center, 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 4pm.
What (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Birgitta Whaley (Berkeley Quantum Information and Computation Center) on "What role does Quantum Mechanics play in Biology? Advances in nanotechnology are driving the development of microscopic studies of biological phenomena... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Rieko Yajima (Stanford/ Design and AAAS) on "Catalyzing scientific innovation using design-thinking paradigms" Design Thinking Paradigms (DTP) have successfully been applied to non-design fields... 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: Christine Lee (Visual Artist and Designer) on "Latent Potential - Using art, design and engineering to help divert materials from going to the landfill" Rethinking what we consider to be trash and creating a sense of accountability for the amount of excess waste generated... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Jennifer Widom (Stanford/Computer Science) on "Big Data, Big Discoveries, Big Fallacies" It is surprisingly easy to come to false conclusions from data analysis alone... 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
    • Birgitta Whaley was born in England and moved to the US following an undergraduate degree in Oxford University. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in 1984 and was appointed to the faculty at the University of Berkeley, California in 1986, where she is now Professor of Chemistry, Director of the Berkeley Quantum Information and Computation Center, and senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Fellow of the American Physical Society and former chair of the APS Division of Chemical Physics, her honors include Kennedy and Sloan Foundation fellowships, an Alexander von Humboldt research award, a Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science Professorship at Berkeley, and senior Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (2012-2013). Advisory activities include committees for the National Academy of Sciences, the scientific advisory board for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Her research is broadly focused on quantum information and quantum computation, control and simulation of complex quantum systems, and quantum effects in biological systems.
    • Christine Lee (San Diego-based Visual Artist) works on functional design, sculptural objects and installations to explore the latent potential of mundane, surplus, and other disregarded materials. She experiments with multiple configurations and patterns to transform these overlooked materials. Lee has also been collaborating with engineer John F. Hunt of the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory on naturally bonded non-toxic interior composite panels. Currently she is the visiting faculty in the Wood/ Sculpture Program at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU.
    • 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.
    • Jennifer Widom is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in Stanford's School of Engineering. She served as chair of the Computer Science Department from 2009-2014. Jennifer received her Bachelor's degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 1982 and her Computer Science Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1987. She was a Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center before joining the Stanford faculty in 1993. Her research interests span many aspects of nontraditional data management. She is an ACM Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; she received the ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award in 2015, the ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award in 2007, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000. She has served on a variety of program committees, advisory boards, and editorial boards.
    • Rieko Yajima is a biochemist with interests that lie at the intersection of science and society-which include design and policy. She has organized national symposia on these topics. She has given talks on the nexus between scientific research and design thinking at Stanford University's d.school and the Design Principles and Practices Conference. For the past eight years, she has worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in Washington, DC, where she advises the scientific community on ways to strengthen research and innovation and in the use of informed decision-making for funding research. In 2015, Yajima was elected to the Global Young Academy, a rallying point for outstanding young scientists from around the world to come together to address topics of global importance. She holds a doctorate degree in integrative biosciences from Penn State University and served as a science policy fellow at the National Academy of Sciences.

    Extended abstracts:

    There is much talk of multi- or inter-disciplinary efforts to advance scientific discoveries. There is also a recognition that human, social, and cultural factors can strongly impact scientific innovations. This presentation focuses on the potential of Design Thinking Paradigms (DTP) to catalyze scientific discoveries and innovation. DTPs have successfully been applied to non-design fields (engineering, healthcare, business, etc.) through the transfer of design behaviors and practices to other disciplines. It is time to explore how scientists might use design methods and practices in research and discovery processes. This is particularly urgent in light of severe competition for funds in a tight budgetary environment, and political and public demands for more rapid transfer of knowledge to produce practical technological solutions
    Can functional and sculptural work created within a non-wasteful art and design practice promote ways to rethink what we consider to be trash and create a sense of accountability for the amount of excess waste generated? How can experiments with multiple configurations and patterns help to transform these overlooked materials beyond novelty? What are some of the outcomes when collaborative scientific research between art and engineering investigate alternative approaches to material use? For this presentation I shall present objects, forms and installations created to reveal the unbounded value of these overlooked materials while challenging our society's abusive pattern of over- production and waste.
    Many of the world's biggest discoveries and decisions in science, technology, business, medicine, politics, and society as a whole, are now being made on the basis of analyzing massive data sets. But it is surprisingly easy to come to false conclusions from data analysis alone, and privacy of data connected to individuals can be a major concern. In this short talk we will provide some background and discuss a number of examples illustrating the glories and pitfalls of Big Data.

    The discovery of Quantum mechanics immediately transformed both physics and chemistry; and questions were soon asked about its implications for biology. The first era of quantum biology focused on the structure and stability of biological entities like molecules. A second era began in the 1960s, with lasers allowing experiments on the very short time scales relevant to atomic and molecular motions. Today, we have novel nanoprobes of real living cells, and evidence for biological phenomena that may involve highly non-trivial quantum effects such as long-range coherence and entanglement. I shall review some of this history, and then describe studies of dynamical quantum effects in biological systems, discussing the diverse questions that these studies raise for our understanding of the biological world we inhabit.

    Photos and videos of this evening