Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of September 2012

Constructive Interference of the Arts and Sciences

San Francisco, 10 September 2012
c/o University of San Francisco
See below

An event for and about Artists and Scientists who work/think/imagine/engage at the intersections of the Arts and Science.

Chaired by Piero Scaruffi (p@scaruffi.com) and Tami Spector
Part of a series of cultural events

Leonardo ISAST and USF invite you to a meeting of the Leonardo Art/Science community. See below for location and agenda.

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.

See also...

  • Interdisciplinary panels
  • DASERs (Washington)
  • BRASERs (Rhode Island)
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings

    • 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
    • 7:00-7:25:
    • Hana Mori Bottger (USF Architecture) on "At the Intersection of Beauty and Strength: Earthen Structures that Survive Earthquakes" An overview of the variety of earth-composite structures throughout the world Read more
    • 7:25-7:50:
    • Jennifer Dionne (Stanford Univ) on "Lights, Nano, Action!" Imagine a world where cancer is cured with light, objects can be made invisible, and teleportation is allowed through space and time... 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:
    • Jesse Houlding on "Phenomena as material" Installations that use light and other natural phenomenon to explore perception... Read more
    • 8:35-9:00:
    • Vijaya Nagarajan (USF) on "Embedded Mathematics in Women's Ritual Art Designs in southern India" The kolam and the key ideas embedded within this ephemeral ritual... Read more
    • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

    • Hana Mori Bottger is Assistant Professor in the Architecture and Community Design program at USF. She teaches physics, design, structural analysis and construction materials courses for architecture students, and has created the Architectural Engineering Minor program. Hana's research interests involve low-cost structural engineering techniques for earthen structures, such as the use of reinforcement to allow energy dissipation and inherent warning mechanisms during seismic activity.
    • Jennifer Dionne is an assistant professor in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research investigates metamaterials - engineered materials with optical and electrical properties not found in nature - for applications ranging from high-efficiency solar energy conversion to bioimaging. Jen received her Ph. D. in Applied Physics in 2009 at the California Institute of Technology and B.S. degrees in Physics and Systems & Electrical Engineering from Washington University in 2003. Prior to joining Stanford, she served as a postdoctoral research fellow in Chemistry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her work has been recognized with a NSF CAREER Award, AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Hellman Faculty Scholar Award, and MRS Gold Award. In 2011, she was named one of Technology Review's TR35 - 35 international innovators under 35 tackling important problems in transformative ways.
    • Jesse Houlding has exhibited nationally and locally, including at SFMOMA, Berkeley Art Center, San Diego Institute Museum of the Living Artist, Stanford University, San Francisco State University, Kala Art Institute, the LAB, and Root Division. As a recipient of the 2009 American Psychoanalytic Association Academic Fellowship he spent a year researching psychoanalytic theories relating to his practice. In October of 2011 he became the Print Shop Manager at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. Jesse was recently interviewed in the art practice interview blog, In The Make http://www.inthemake.net/Jesse-Houlding
    • Vijaya Nagarajan is is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Program in Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco. She teaches courses in Hinduism, Religion and Environment, Spiritual Autobiography of Place, among others. Vijaya received her Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkeley in South Asian Languages and Literatures, with an emphasis in Art History and Anthropology, and has been teaching at USF since 1997. Her research focus has been on the South Indian women's ritual design tradition of the kolam, an ephemeral ritual art performed daily in Tamil Nadu with rice flour. She has received numerous grants and fellowships including the Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship, American Institute of Indian Studies, the NEH Chair in the Humanities and the Davies Chair (at USF). Her forthcoming book, Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual and Ecology in southern India-the Kolam (Oxford University Press) will be exploring the kolam through various disciplines: anthropology, art history, medieval Tamil literature, and 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). He has also written extensively about cinema, literature and the visual arts.

    Address and directions:

    University of San Francisco
    2130 Fulton Street
    SF, CA 94117
    Room: Fromm Hall - Maier Room

    See the campus map and directions

    Extended abstracts

    Embedded Mathematics in Women's Ritual Art Designs in southern India

    This talk will focus first on a brief general presentation on the kolam and the key ideas embedded within this ephemeral ritual such as ritual pollution, auspiciousness, and feeding a thousand souls. Next, it will survey briefly the four ways in which mathematical ideas have intersected with the design geometry of this art form: symmetry, infinity, array grammars and fractals. Finally, it will explore some of the larger questions within the field of ethno-mathematics that it poses and generates.

    Lights, Nano, Action! Imagine a world where cancer is cured with light, objects can be made invisible, and teleportation is allowed through space and time. The future once envisioned by science fiction writers is now becoming a reality, thanks to advances in nanomaterials science and engineering. Materials can now be designed on length scales as small as one-billionth of a meter, with properties very distinct from their macro-sized counterparts. For example, nanoscale semiconductors such as silicon can fluoresce while nanosized clusters of silver and gold can appear colors spanning a rainbow palette. The unique functionalities of nanomaterials are now being utilized for next-generation solar cells, batteries, electronics, optical communications, and medical therapeutics. Here I'll describe my group's effort to design new optical nanomaterials. Unlike most natural materials, these engineered materials strongly interact with both the electric and magnetic field of light. Their optical properties enable applications ranging from highly efficient solar-renewable technologies to optical tweezers that can trap and manipulate single nanoparticles and proteins using light alone.

    Houlding's work consists of installations that use light and other natural phenomenon to explore perception and the construction of meaning. By creating a relationship between the visible and the invisible, the artist explores the boundary between the known and the unknown. Houlding is interested in the way we use visual systems such as scientific drawings to understand and explain natural phenomenon. His work draws on this need to explain, on the ways we negotiate the mixture of anxiety and wonder we feel as we attempt to make sense of the world around us.

    Buildings made of earth have existed for thousands of years, and have been a durable, inexpensive and beautiful option for many cultures. Many examples of ancient and modern earthen constructions exist in locations as diverse as Europe, Central Asia, Northern Africa, and North, Central and South Americas. However, many of these locations also share a common natural foe - earthquakes - which have a devastating consequence on earthen materials and their occupants. Can anything be done to mitigate the damage and loss of life? This talk gives an overview of the variety of adobe, cob and other earth-composite structures throughout the world, and the nature of their weakness against earthquake forces. Simple and low-cost techniques are presented which seem to dramatically improve the behavior of these materials and the chances for better life-safety for their inhabitants, without negatively affecting their architectural expression. An approach to "appropriate technologies" which works with the natural strengths and tendencies of the material, rather than brute reinforcement, is proposed.

    Photos and videos