Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of January 12, 2015

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
San Francisco, January 12, 2015
c/o University of San Francisco
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi and Tami Spector

A Special LASER celebrating the 2014 Scientific Delirium Madness program
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.

Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. The event is free and open to everybody. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.
See below for location and agenda.
Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs.
See also...

  • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
  • 7:00-7:25: Charlotte Jacobs (Standford University) on "Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio" Salk's polio vaccine all but eradicated a crippling disease... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Meredith Tromble (San Francisco Art Institute) on " Dream Vortex: Adventures in Collaboration " An interactive, 3-D, mixed-reality art installation, based on dreams collected... 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: Pireeni Sundaralingam (Poet and Cognitive Scientist) on "Poetry & Memory: Playing with the Past" How classical poetic forms capture human memory... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Sasha Petrenko (Choreographer) on "A World without Nature" Choreography reflecting a more integrated planetary existence... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Charlotte Jacobs, M.D. is the Ben and A. Jess Shenson Professor of Medicine (Emerita) at Stanford University. A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, she graduated studied medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. As a professor at Stanford University, she engaged in teaching, cancer research, and patient care. She has served as Senior Associate Dean and as Director of the Clinical Cancer Center. Her academic honors include numerous awards for excellence in patient care and teaching, as well as the Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University. She currently cares for veterans with cancer at the Palo Alto Veterans Medical Center. Mid-career, Jacobs began studying biography and has been awarded several writing residencies, most recently at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program where she received the Patricia E. Bashaw and Eugene Segre Fellowship. Her first biography, Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin's Disease, published in 2010, was called one of the Best Five Books on doctors' lives by The Wall Street Journal . Jacobs' second biography, JONAS SALK: A LIFE, is being published by Oxford University Press with a release date of May 2015.
  • Sasha Kolin Petrenko is an educator, intermedia artist, environmental choreographer and founding member of the New Urban Naturalists. Her site specific installations and performances have been supported, commissioned and presented nationally at institutions including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF), Robert Wilson's Watermill Center (NY), Southern Exposure (SF), the Lab (SF), the Temescal Arts Center (OAK), the University of San Francisco, the Headlands Center for the Arts (CA), and the Djerassi Foundation (CA). She teaches drawing, woodworking and new media at the University of San Francisco, Diablo Valley College, and the public education program at the San Francisco Art Institute.
  • 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.
  • Pireeni Sundaralingam is a cognitive scientist, poet, and playwright. Having conducted both her undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Oxford, she has gone on to explore the cognitive bases of perception and the role of analogy in problem-solving and reconfiguring what we perceive in the world around us at MIT's Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences. Sundaralingam is editor of Indivisible, the first national anthology of South Asian American poets, winner of the 2011 N. California Book Award & 2011 PEN Oakland National Book Award; her own poetry has been published in journals such as Ploughshares and The Progressive, anthologies by W.W.Norton, Prentice Hall, and Macmillan, translated into 5 languages, and been featured on national radio in the United States, England, and Sweden. Dedicated to examining the confluence of science and art, Sundaralingam has held national fellowships both in cognitive science and in poetry, and most recently, a fellowship in interdisciplinary thinking at Berlin's Institut Fr Raum Experimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments). She has spoken on the intersections between poetry and cognition at MOMA (New York), the Exploratorium (San Francisco), and the Life in Space symposium at Studio Olafur Eliasson (Berlin), and recently guest-edited a special issue of World Literature Today on the "Crosstalk between Science & Literature".
  • Meredith Tromble is an artist and writer whose areas of interest include creative process and interdisciplinary research. She is the author of Art & Shadows, a series of essays on contemporary in light of contemporary research, funded by the Art Writers Grant Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation. In addition to her work as an Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, she is currently collaborating with Dawn Sumner of the University of California, Davis on a virtual installation, Take Me Me To Your Dream (Dream Vortex).

Address and directions:

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
SF, CA 94117
Fromm Hall - FR 115 - Berman Room

See the campus map and directions

Extended abstracts


Jacobs' upcoming biography, JONAS SALK: a Life, chronicles the life of one of the USA's most beloved and decorated scientific heroes. His polio vaccine all but eradicated a crippling disease from the face of the earth, and the scientific community never forgave him. This first full account of Salk's life, to be released by Oxford University Press in May of 2015, reveals the complex man behind the controversial legend. Jacobs will discuss the challenges of portraying the life of a famous figure.


How do we think about the past? What type of patterns do our remembered images create? During this presentation, I'll be sharing my creative investigations into how various classical poetic forms capture the distortions, repetitions, and fragmentations of human memory. Additionally, I'll explore alternative forms of poetic experimentation that may reflect the idiosyncrasies of memory structure.


"Dream Vortex" is an interactive, 3-D, mixed-reality art installation, based on dreams collected from a visualization research community. Originally intended for a CAVE, the work is now being developed for new 3-D technologies such 3-D monitor and Oculus Rift. The hyper-creative environment of the Djerassi Residency brought unexpected gifts of collaboration to the development of this ongoing project.


Nature is often seen as something pure and innocent, something that must be protected and kept separate. It's becoming more clear however that this kind of thinking, Nature as Other, may not only be erroneous, but deadly. Imagine a world without Nature (capital 'N'). I'll share my own path as an artist and naturalist and explore instances in art, science and literature that reflect a more integrated planetary existence, one that holds ecology as the pivot point for human and extra human progress and survival.

Photos and videos of this evening