Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of December 12, 2013

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, December 12, 2013
c/o Stanford University
Packard Auditorium in the Hewlett Teacher Center
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,
Packard Auditorium in the Hewlett Teacher Center (directions) (Stanford map)
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 4pm.
  • 7:00-7:25:
    Uwe Bergmann (Stanford/ Linear Accelerator) on "The science and applications of X-Rays" The unusual properties of X-Rays have revolutionized many fields, and are now applied even even to ancient manuscripts and new fuels... Read More
  • 7:25-7:50:
    Ellen Fullman (Musician) on "A Compositional Approach Derived from Material and Ephemeral Elements" Acoustics, engineering and musical composition with the Long String Instrument... 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:
    Alison Gopnik (UC Berkeley/ Psychology) on "The Philosophical Baby" What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00:
    David Stork (Rambus Labs) on "Computer image analysis of Parmigianino's Self portrait in a convex mirror" Computer image analysis has addressed a number of problems and even controversies in the history and interpretation of fine art... Read More
  • 9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Stanford events calendar
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • Other LASER series
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings
    • Uwe Bergmann is a Senior Staff Scientist at SLAC and the Director (interim) of the Linac Coherent Light Source, the world's first X-ray free electron laser. His research activities have focused on the development and application of novel x-ray spectroscopic techniques. His scientific interests include studies of the structure of water and aqueous solution, active centers in metalloproteins in particular the photosynthetic splitting of water, hydrocarbons and fossil fuels and imaging of ancient documents and fossils. Bergmann has done his graduate research at the National Synchrotron Light Source and since worked at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, and now the Linac Coherent Light Source.
    • Ellen Fullman is a composer and performer based in Berkeley, California. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, as a teenager she became inspired by the sounds native to her region: Delta blues music. At the age of one, she was kissed by Elvis, who said to her, "Hi-ya baby!" Fullman studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute where she learned of the work of Harry Partch. Inspired by Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire, she suspended long wires in her loft studio in St. Paul, Minnesota and experimented with different forms of manual articulation. Through an accidental discovery of the longitudinal mode of vibration, in 1980 Fullman invented the Long String Instrument, which has remained at the core of her creative life. The process of refining and articulating this instrument has led her to experimenting with wire alloys and gauges; designing resonators and tuning capos; creating a graphic notation form that defines time by distance walked; and the study of natural tuning and North Indian vocal music, among many other things, in her quest to "Let the strings sing their own song." She has recorded extensively with this unusual instrument and has been the recipient of numerous awards, commissions and residencies including: The DAAD Berlin Residency (2000) and Center for Cultural Innovation Investing in Artists Grants for Artistic Innovation (2013) and Artistic Equipment and Tools (2008). Releases include: Through Glass Panes (Important), Fluctuations, with trombonist Monique Buzzart‚ (Deep Listening) and Ort, recorded with Berlin collaborator J”rg Hiller (Choose Records). For more info go to: www.ellenfullman.com
    • Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children's learning and is the author of over 100 articles and several books including the bestsellers "The Scientist in the Crib" and "The Philosophical Baby; What children's minds tell us about love, truth and the meaning of life". She has also written for Science, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, New Scientist and Slate. She has three sons and lives in Berkeley, California.
    • 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 "Demystifying Machine Intelligence" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature.
    • David Stork is Distinguished Research Scientist and Research Director at Rambus Labs in Sunnyvale CA where he leads the Computational Sensing and Imaging Group. A graduate in Physics from MIT and the University of Maryland, he's held faculty positions in physics, mathematics, computer science, statistics, electrical engineering, psychology, neuroscience and art and art history variously at Wellesley and Swarthmore Colleges and Clark, Boston and Stanford Universities. He has lectured on computer image analysis of art over 250 venues in 14 countries, including major museums such as the Louvre, National Gallery London, National Gallery Washington, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, van Gogh Museum, and Venice Biennale. He is author of the second edition of Pattern classification and co-author of "Seeing the Light: Optics in nature, photography, color, vision and holography". He holds 42 US patents and is a senior member of both the Optical Society of America and IEEE as well as a Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition and of SPIE.

    Extended abstracts:

    In the last thirty years there's been a revolution in our scientific understanding of babies and young children, a revolution that's also transformed our understanding of human nature itself. In this talk, I'll outline some of the new discoveries and their implications for the way we think about young children and ourselves. Human beings have a longer childhood than any other animal - our children are more helpless and dependent than any others. Why make babies so helpless for so long? I'll show that childhood - our long period of helplessness - is responsible for our uniquely human consciousness and our ability to learn, imagine and love. Their long protected childhood gives human babies an opportunity to learn and play, and that let's them plan and work as adults. Our research shows that even the youngest babies have learning abilities that are more powerful than those of the smartest scientists and most advanced computers. Toddlers already analyze statistics and do experiments. In their unstoppable pretend play, preschoolers also use their discoveries to imagine new ways that the world might be. Children not only learn about the world around them, they also learn about other people and themselves. By the time they are three or four they understand love and morality. These remarkable learning abilities reflect special features of babies' and children's brains, features that may actually make them more conscious than adults.

    In the past few years, rigorous computer image analysis has addressed a number of problems and even controversies in the history and interpretation of fine art, from authentication of putative Pollock drip paintings to claims that Renaissance painters secretly traced optically projected images nearly two centuries earlier than previously thought. This talk will present recent computer image analysis of Self portrait in a convex mirror, an important early work by the Mannerist Parmigianino displayed in the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna. The work was executed in Rome in 1524 on a circular wood support, convex, like the "barber's mirror" described in Vasari's Lives of the painters. The executed image and unique optics underlying this work means that the proper viewing position of this work is not perpendicular to the center of the work. To our knowledge there has never been even a single "proper" photograph of this painting in any art history book, monograph, or on the web. We present the first such photograph, and discuss the implications for museum display and the history of art.

    Since the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895, this mysterious form of light has revolutionized many fields of science and research. Most people are familiar with the penetrating power of X-rays that allow us to see the inside of our bodies, but other properties of X-rays might be even more fascinating. For example, X-rays can bring to light the structure and chemistry of molecules with atomic precision, far beyond the best microscopes. X-rays can also identify and image individual chemical elements at extremely low concentrations. Over the past 40 years powerful X-ray sources based on large accelerators, such as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at SLAC, have dramatically advanced the field of X-ray science. Very recently the new X-ray laser at SLAC, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), has enhanced the brightness of X-rays sources by another staggering ten billion fold. We will discuss these amazing machines, some of the most exciting examples of X-ray research and provide a glimpse into the current cutting edge research and future, where we attempt to make movies of molecules in action.

    Fullman will discusse her experiences in conceiving, designing and working with the Long String Instrument, an ongoing hybrid of installation and instrument integrating acoustics, engineering and composition.

    Photos and videos of this evening