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 380-380Y, located in the basement of the Main Quadrangle's Math corner (Sloan Mathematics)
(Stanford map enter "Math Corner" or "Sloan Mathematics")
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 4pm.
- 6:45pm-7:00pm: Socializing/networking.
Jesse Houlding on "Phenomena as material"
Installations that use light and other natural phenomenon to explore perception... Read more
Chris McKay (NASA) on "The Curiosity Mars Mission"
Searching for a second genesis of life beyond the Earth... 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.
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
Salma Arastu on "Celebration of Calligraphy and Journeys of Love"
Interpreting Rumi's poetry with paintings and calligraphy... Read more
- 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking
You can mingle with the speakers and the audience
Stanford interdisciplinary panels
Stanford events calendar
Los Angeles LASERs
Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
Previous Art/Science Evenings
Salma Arastu, a native of India's Rajasthan, has been creating and exhibiting her paintings internationally since the 1970s. Her work with continuous and lyrical line is influenced by her native culture and her residence after marriage in Iran and Kuwait before coming to the US in 1987. Born into the Sindhi, Hindu tradition in her native India, she later embraced Islam through her marriage. At birth, Ms. Arastu was given the life-defining challenge of a left hand without fingers. Seeing the unity of an all-encompassing God, she was able to transcend the barriers often set-forth in the traditions of religion, culture and the cultural perceptions of handicap. She has almost 40 solo shows to her credit, won several awards including East Bay Community's fund for artists in 2012, three works in public places and two books published with her poems and paintings. She is the author of two books: "The Lyrical Line: Embracing All and Flowing" and "Turning Rumi: Singing Verses of Love Unity and Freedom" (2012).
- 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
- Chris McKay is Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration. Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama, Namib, & Sahara deserts to study life in these Mars-like environments. He was a co-investigator on the Huygens probe to Saturn's moon Titan in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory mission in 2012.
- 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). The first volume of his free ebook "A Visual History of the Visual Arts" appeared in 2012. He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.
I'll talk about the current status and activities of the Mars Curiosity Rover and how it fit into the search for a second genesis of life beyond the Earth. Curiosity has been operating on Mars for 200 days. My main interest is the search for organics on Mars. If we find organics on Mars, the next challenge will be to determine if they are of biological or non-biological origin. Beyond Mars, my favorite location in the Solar System is Enceladus, the small Moon of Saturn - I'll explain why.
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.
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
This talk and PowerPoint presentation is about my spiritual journey through my paintings. I will try to describe how I formed my language of spirituality. Arabic Calligraphy, Miniature arts and Folk arts are the three major influences on my work. I will present my recent paintings with Arabic Calligraphy and poem-paintings inspired from Mevlana Rumi's universal poems on love, unity and freedom, in my pursuit of peace, to celebrate diversity and create positive interfaith dialogue through the arts.
Photos and videos