Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of March 2021

Online Edition: the L.A.S.T. Dialogues


Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Hosted from Stanford during March 2021
by Piero Scaruffi

During the covid pandemic, this online program replaces both the 12 physical L.A.S.E.R.s that were planned at Stanford University and University of San Francisco for 2020 and the L.A.S.T. Festival that was planned for Spring 2020. Since some of them are simply "fireside chats", we tentatively called them the The Life Art Science Tech (L.A.S.T.) dialogues. See previous and future speakers and their videos.
(Note: All times are California time)

  • March 11 @ 6pm
    Ian Duncan (UC Berkeley) on "The Novel after the Scientific Revolution"
    Anastasia Raina and the Posthuman Mobility team (Rhode Island School of Design) on "Microbial Cosmologies"
    Christian Kohler (Lawrence Berkeley Labs) on "Environmental Building Technologies"

    Register here or here


    Ian Duncan (UC Berkeley) on "The Novel after the Scientific Revolution"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Ian Duncan studied at King's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1977) and Yale University (Ph.D., 1989), and taught for several years in the Yale English department, before being appointed Barbara and Carlisle Moore Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Oregon in 1995. He came to Berkeley in 2001, and was appointed to the Florence Green Bixby Chair in English in 2011. He is a recipient (2017) of the university's Distinguished Teaching Award. Duncan is the author of Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel (Cambridge, 1992), Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton, 2007), and "Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution" (Princeton, 2019). He is currently writing a short book on Scotland and Romanticism. Fields of research and teaching include the theory and history of the novel, British literature and culture of the long nineteenth century, Scottish literature, literature and the natural sciences, and literature and other storytelling media (opera, film). Duncan is a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a member of the editorial board of Representations, a General Editor of the Collected Works of James Hogg, and co-editor of a new book series, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Romanticism. He has held visiting positions at the Universities of British Columbia and Konstanz, Bogazici University, LMU Munich, Princeton University, and Aix-Marseille University.


    Anastasia Raina and the Posthuman Mobility team (Rhode Island School of Design) on "Microbial Cosmologies"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Anastasia Raina is a multidisciplinary designer, researcher, and an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design. She graduated from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in Graphic Design and has lectured and served as a critic at design schools, including Yale University, Parsons, Pratt, Otis, UCLA, Pomona College and University of Chicago. Prior to her MFA, she worked as a commercial graphic designer and art director in Los Angeles. In her research-based practice, Anastasiia is interested in exploring the aesthetics of technologically mediated Natures through machine vision and computer-generated forms, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and the incorporation of biomaterials into the artistic vernacular. She draws upon scientific inquiry and collaborations with scientists as a means for generating new methodologies and forms in design. In addition to teaching, she consults and collaborates with various international firms, including the Hyundai Motor Group, and has delivered lectures at conferences about posthumanist aesthetics and pedagogy to engage with a wide range of scholars from a variety of disciplines.


    Christian Kohler (Lawrence Berkeley Labs) on "Environmental Building Technologies"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Christian Kohler is the department head for Building Technologies at Berkeley Lab. For over 20 years he has been involved in all aspects of building energy efficiency research such as simulation, measurement and technology development. He has been deeply engaged in software development for various windows related tools, e.g., THERM, WINDOW, and Optics5. He has also led the development of new technologies for highly insulating and dynamic windows. His activities include algorithm development, user support, training, developing embedded controllers and experimental work on highly insulating and dynamic windows. His major work with industry has included being an elected Member of the Board of Directors of the National Fenestration Rating Council and the past Research Chair and Committee Chair Fenestration Technical Committee, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Prior to that he was working at the LBNL Infrared Thermography research facility.
  • March 25 @ 6pm
    Monica Smith (UC Los Angeles) on "Urban Art: The First 6,000 Years"
    Brian Knutson (Stanford) on "Toward a deep science of affect, motivation, and choice"
    Sophia Moskalenko (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism) on "Radicalization and Martyrdom"

    Register here or here


    Monica Smith (UC Los Angeles) on "Urban Art: The First 6,000 Years"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Monica L. Smith (UCLA) is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds the Navin and Pratima Doshi Chair in Indian Studies and is the director of the South Asian Archaeology Laboratory at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Her archaeological field experience includes work in England, Italy, Egypt, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and the American Southwest. With her colleague R.K. Mohanty she has co-directed a long-running archaeological research project in eastern India at the sites of Sisupalgarh, Talapada and Ostapur and their environs, supported by funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. She is the author of The Prehistory of Ordinary People (2010) and Cities: The First 6,000 Years (2019), the co-author (with R.K. Mohanty) of Excavations at Sisupalgarh (2008), and the editor of The Social Construction of Ancient Cities (2003) and Abundance: The Archaeology of Plenitude (2017).


    Brian Knutson (Stanford/ Neuroscience) on "Toward a Deep Science of Affect, Motivation, and Choice"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Brian Knutson is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Stanford University. His research focuses on the neural basis of emotional experience and expression. He investigates the topic with a number of methods including self-report, measurement of nonverbal behavior, comparative ethology, psychopharmacology, and neuroimaging. His long-term goal is to understand the neurochemical and neuroanatomical mechanisms responsible for emotional experience, and to explore the implications of these findings for the assessment and treatment of clinical disorders as well as for economic behavior. Knutson is a fellow of the Academy for Behavioral Medicine Research as well as the Association for Psychological Science. He received a PhD in experimental psychology from Stanford University, and has conducted postdoctoral research in affective neuroscience at UC-San Francisco and at the National Institutes of Health. He recently proposed a "deep science" approach capable of linking neural, affective, and motivational levels of analysis. Although traditionally considered separately, there are links between affect, motivation, and choice. To examine these links, "deep science" frameworks that seek to explicitly connect levels of analysis may complement more popular "broad science" approaches that seek to more exhaustively characterize a single level of analysis (e.g., at the circuit, experiential, or behavioral levels). In recent years, Brian Knutson's team has shown that brain activity is a good predictor of which videos will go viral, which crowdfunding campaigns are the most likely to succeed, and even of what stock prices will do.


    Sophia Moskalenko (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) on "Radicalization and Martyrdom"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:

    . Sophia Moskalenko received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research on terrorism and radicalization has been presented in scientific conferences, government briefings, radio broadcasts and international television newscasts. As a research fellow at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (NC-START) she has worked on research projects commissioned by the Department of Defence, Department of Homeland Security and Department of State. With Clark McCauley, she has co-authored award-winning books: "Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us" (2011), "The Marvel of Martyrdom" and "Radicalization to Terrorism" (2020).


The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Deans of: Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; and Medicine.