Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of February 12, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Stanford, February 12, 2014
c/o Stanford University
Li Ka Shing Center, Room LK102
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, Li Ka Shing Center, Room LK102 (directions)
Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge at Stanford University School of Medicine: room LK102. Good map and driving directions here. 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.
  • 7:00-7:25:
    Dave Deamer (UC Santa Cruz/ Biomolecular Engineering) on "Meteorites, soap bubbles and the origin of cellular life" RNA -based microorganisms may have been the first forms of life... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50:
    Mark Applebaum (Stanford CCRMA) on "Visual Music and the Rehabilitation of Archaic Technologies" Visual music is enabled by archaic technologies... 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:
    Margot Gerritsen (Stanford/ Computational Math) "Linear Algebra: the incredible beauty of a branch of math with a bad reputation" The artistic beauty of linear algebra and its many application... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00:
    Kim Anno (California College of the Arts) on "Aesthetics and Adaptation in a World of Rising Sea Levels" How aesthetic and intellectual life is adapting to the new reality of a watery world during to rising sea levels... 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
      Kim Anno has been a professor at the California College of the Arts since 1996. She is a painter, photographer, and video artist whose work has been collected by museums nationally and shown internationally, recently she had a solo exhibition at the Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta,and at the Goethe Institute, Johannesburg in July 2012. She has also presented a two channel screening and live concert with composer, David Coll at the Kala Art Institute in 2013 of "Water City, Berkeley". Anno has had exhibitions and screenings at in three continents. She was awarded a fellowship by the Zellerbach Foundation and the Open Circle Foundation in 2012-13, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Purchase Award and the Eureka Foundation's Fleishhaker Fellowship. Her recent interests and expertise has been in the intersection of art and science, particularly in aesthetic issues surrounding climate change, water,and adaptation. She has been granted a Sustainable Arts residency at Kala Art Institute in support of her new interdisciplinary work. She is currently at work on a multi chapter intersdisciplinary video work: Men and Women in Water Cities, with in 2013 Water City:Berkeley in the filming process.
    • Mark Applebaum is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia with notable premieres at the Darmstadt summer sessions. Since 1990 Applebaum has built electroacoustic instruments out of junk, hardware, and found objects for use as both compositional and improvisational tools. Mousetrap Music (1996) and The Bible without God (2005), CDs of sound-sculpture improvisations can be heard on the Innova label. Also on Innova is The Janus ReMixes: Exercises in Auto-Plundering, a CD of eleven electronic works whose source material corresponds exclusively to recordings of the eleven acoustic compositions that constitute his Janus Cycle (1992-1996), as well as Intellectual Property, a CD of hybrid acoustic and electronic works. His orchestral music can be heard on the Innova CD Martian Anthropology; solo pieces appear on the Innova CD Disciplines; and chamber works appear on the Innova CDs 56 1/2 ft. and Asylum, and on the Tzadik CD Catfish. In 1997 Applebaum received the American Music Center's Stephen Albert Award and an artist residency fellowship at the Villa Montalvo artist colony in Northern California. Applebaum is also active as a jazz pianist and builds electroacoustic instruments out of junk, hardware, and found objects for use as both compositional and improvisational tools. His music can be heard on recordings on the Innova, Tzadik, Capstone, and SEAMUS labels. Prior to his current appointment, he taught at UCSD, Mississippi State University, and Carleton College. Additional information is available at www.markapplebaum.com.
    • Dave Deamer is Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He recently published First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began (University of California Press, 2011). Deamer also co-edited Origins of Life with Jack Szostak, published by Cold Spring Harbor Press, 2010. Deamer's research focuses on molecular self-assembly processes related to the structure and function of biological membranes, and particularly the origin and evolution of membrane structure. In collaborative work with colleagues at NASA Ames, Deamer showed that photochemical reactions simulating those occurring in the interstellar medium give rise to soap-like molecules that can self-assemble into membrane structures. This confirmed earlier studies in which Deamer demonstrated that microscopic vesicles were produced by similar molecules present in carbonaceous meteorites. These results led to a new hypothesis about how primitive forms of cellular life could appear on the early Earth, which will be described in his talk.
    • Margot Gerritsen is the Director of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University. She launched a program at her department called "ICME Artiste" to bring art into the working areas with the goal to show how art and math can impact and stimulate each other. Initial exhibitions featured Francois Miglio, Alison Holt, and Michael Scott. Originally from the Netherlands, she escaped in 1990 to search for hillier and sunnier places. She received a PhD in Scientific Computing from Stanford University in 1996 and joined Auckland University, New Zealand, as a faculty member. In 2001 she returned to Stanford's Department Energy Resources Engineering. Since 2010, she is the director of the Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering at Stanford. Her research focuses on the design of highly accurate and efficient parallel computational methods including applications to petroleum engineering, search algorithms and coastal ocean simulation that are extremely challenging because of the very strong nonlinearities in the governing equations. She teaches both energy-related topics (reservoir simulation, energy, and the environment) and mathematics for engineers. She also initiated a consulting course for graduate students in ICME, which offers expertise in computational methods to the Stanford community and selected industries. She also teaches at Bergen University in Norway and she contributes as editor to the Journal of Small Craft Technology.
    • 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.

    Extended abstracts:

    Anno is working on a long term epic film project that images post sea level rise society for those in coastal cities around the world. She works with local populations to stage works that show aesthetic and intellectual life is adapting to the new reality of a watery world. She is at the beginning of this work, having shot now four chapters: northern and southern california, her hometown of Berkeley, california , Durban, South Africa, working with young people from Kwazulunatal townships, and she is in the midst of Water City, Miami, working with miami actors and dancers, and youth. She has plans to go to some island nations in the Pacitic or Indian Ocean, as well as Pyramid Lake, Nevada and working with the Paiute tribe. In every location she is looking for cultural expression and sports to be both metaphors and harbingers of the coming disaster. She will also discuss works by others that pivot arond similar ideas.

    The Origin of Cellular Life.
    All life today has an absolute dependence on membranous boundary structures composed of lipid bilayers. It seems inescapable that a primitive version of membranes must have been present nearly 4 billion years ago when cellular life emerged on the Earth, but what lipid-like compounds were available? The most likely candidates are amphiphilic molecules resembling fatty acids -- soaps -- that are capable of self-assembly into membranous vesicles. We have found such molecules in carbonaceous meteorites and observed that they can assemble into microscopic vesicles. Although simple containment is one function of boundary membranes, they could also play other roles related to their ability to concentrate and organize monomers. I will describe recent results in which the organizing effect of lipids was shown to promote polymerization of mononucleotides into RNA-like polymers. The resulting protocells represent a model system for studying how RNA -based microorganisms could have emerged as the first forms of life.


    Composer Mark Applebaum focuses on his recent preoccupation with visual music and archaic technologies that enable it. He will explain a number of his idiosyncratic works: Echolalia (for 22 amplified Dadaist rituals), Aphasia (for invented sign language synchronized to audio), Rabbit Hole (in which an ensemble of players move actively from place to place on stage but rarely make sound), Straitjacket (for artists working at amplified easels), Mouseketier Praxis (for an original sound-sculpture), and Tln (for 3 conductors and no players). He will share examples of his varied approaches to musical notation in diverse scores such as his fastidious 72-foot long graphic score The Metaphysics of Notation, and in his wristwatch pieces--works in which players follow the second hand of custom wristwatches as they pass over various notational glyphs.


    When I was first introduced to algebra I believed, with many of my friends, that it was a dry and abstract field. If someone had told me then that 30 years later I would be raving about the subfield of linear algebra, I would probably have despaired. But the topic of this talk is indeed about the beauty of linear algebra and its critical role in engineering and physics applications. Although I will use a little bit of algebra in this talk, it's OK to be rusty in algebra or calculus. And for those looking for pretty pictures, I will share some of those also.

    Photos and videos of this evening