Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of October 13, 2016

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, October 13, 2016
c/o Stanford University
LiKaShing building - Room LK130
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, Room LK130
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: Jenn Smith (Mills College/ Assistant Professor of Biology) on "Leadership in Mammalian Societies: Emergence, Distribution, Power, and Payoff" With elections around the corner, which traits make a good leader?... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Greg Niemeyer (Associate Professor of the UC Berkeley Center for New Media and Founder of the Stanford University Digital Art Center) on "State Change: Searching for Aesthetics of Climate Change among Eskimo and Scientists in Barrow AK" Data visualizations and immersive media about the impact of the thawing permafrost on soil and soul... 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: David Anderson (UC Berkeley/ Space Sciences Laboratory) on "An introduction to SETI@home" What if ordinary people's devices could do scientific computing? ... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00: Curt Frank on "A History of Pigments" This was the result of a residence at the Djerassi Art in Residence Program ... Read more
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience
  • Watch it live on your mobile device by using
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See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
  • Other recommended events
    • David Anderson is a Research Scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests revolve around using the Internet and computer technology to involve the global public in scientific research. He has spearheaded the development of volunteer computing, which has brought Peta-scale computing to scientists in a range of areas. He co-founded SETI@home and is director of the BOINC project, which develops middleware for volunteer computing. Dr. Anderson received graduate degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin. From 1985 to 1992 he served on the faculty of the U.C. Berkeley Computer Science Department. In addition to volunteer computing, his research interests include distributed systems, real-time and multimedia systems, and computer graphics."
    • Curt Frank is a Professor in Chemical Engineering at Stanford and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering. He was the founding Director of the Center on Polymer Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation, from 1994 to 2010. He was also the Chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 2001 to 2006. His research interests are in polymer materials science, and he has current collaborations with the School of Medicine directed at development of an artificial cornea and toward hydrogel-based arrays for study of primary hepatocytes, with Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source on the development of proton and anion exchange membranes for fuel cells, and with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on developing bio-based composites and foams for applications in the construction industry. In collaboration with his wife Sara Loesch-Frank, a calligrapher, artist, and art teacher, Curt has taught an Introductory Sophomore Seminar on "Art, Chemistry, and Madness: the Science of Art Materials" for the past six years. Curt lectures on a series of historical palettes: Paleolithic, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Industrial, and Contemporary.
    • Greg Niemeyer (UC Berkeley/ Center for New Media), born in Switzerland, started working with new media when he arrived in the Bay Area in 1992 and he received his MFA from Stanford University in New Media in 1997. At the same time, he founded the Stanford University Digital Art Center, which he directed until 2001, when he was appointed at UC Berkeley as Assistant Professor for New Media. At UC Berkeley, he is involved in the development of the Center for New Media, focusing on the critical analysis of the impact of new media on human experiences. His creative work focuses on the mediation between humans as individuals and humans as a collective through technological means, and emphasizes playful responses to technology. His most recognized projects are Gravity (Cooper Union, NYC, 1997), PING (SFMOMA, 2001), Oxygen Flute (SJMA, 2002), ar (Pacific Film Archive, 2003), Ping 2.0 (Paris, La Villette Numerique, 2004), Organum Playtest (2005), Good Morning Flowers (SFIFF 2006, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt, 2006), blackloud.org, sevenairs.org, and polartide.org
    • 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. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in 2008.
    • Jenn Smith is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Mills College. Her research integrates perspectives from evolutionary ecology, animal behavior, and physiology in an effort to understand how natural selection and current conditions shape decision-making in mammals. She combines naturalistic observations on free-living mammals with field experiments, genetic and endocrine analyses, and social network statistics to test evolutionary theory. Her work focusing on understanding the evolution of cooperation, leadership and social structures to reveal commonalities among mammalian societies. Her research includes studies of leadership roles in spotted hyenas in Kenya (covered by BBC News), the origins of cooperation in human societies , cover by NPR, and, most recently, a local field project focuses on, The Behavioral Ecology California Ground Squirrels at Briones Park.

    Extended abstracts:

    With elections around the corner, which traits make a good leader? Ecological studies of animal leadership have historically focused solely on leadership during group travel. Here, we expand this scope by applying an evolutionary perspective to understand the emergence, distribution, power and evolutionary pay-offs of leadership across multiple domains: movement, food acquisition, within-group conflict mediation, and between-group interactions. We develop a novel comparative framework and apply it to data derived from long-term studies on free-living non-human mammals (African elephants, bottlenose dolphins, chimpanzees, African lions, plains zebra, spotted hyenas, and white-faced capuchins) and small-scale human societies (The Ache, Cheyenne, Inuit, Kipsigis, Nootka, Pimbwe, Shoshone, and Tsimane). First, we compare leadership across multiple domains. Second, we quantify variation in leadership across five dimensions: distribution, emergence, power, relative payoff to leadership, and generality. Our study reveals both commonalities and differences across mammalian species, raising key theoretical and empirical issues in this emerging area of study.

    Researching the ways in which natives and scientists cope with change, Niemeyer presents data visualizations and immersive media about the impact of the thawing permafrost on soil and soul in Barrow, AK. The key media innovation question is: How can we distinguish uncertainty from noise in media. What artworks and media exist for visualizing uncertainty? What fundamental aesthetics do Eskimos and Scientists have in place to allow them to see the uncertainties and dynamics of climate change, and how can these aesthetics be leveraged for a broader understanding of climate change?

    Most of the world's computing power is in consumer products such as laptops, smartphones, and game consoles. What if these devices could do scientific computing? That's the idea behind SETI@home, which uses millions of home computers to look for extraterrestrial radio signals. I'll talk about the history and status of SETI@home, and the use of volunteer computing in other domains.
    Photos and videos of this evening