Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of June 11, 2014

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
UC Berkeley, June 11, 2014
UC Berkeley Extension Golden Bear Center, 1995 University Ave, Berkeley - Room 208
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. This event is kindly sponsored by the Minerva Foundation.
Where: UC Berkeley Extension Golden Bear Center, 1995 University Ave, Berkeley - Room 208
  • 7:00-7:25: Annapurna Pandey (San Jose State Univ/ Anthropology) on "Magic" Abstract forthcoming... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: Rachel Haurwitz (CaribouBioSciences) on "Precise DNA edits to advance biological research and human health" A new technology facilitates easy and precise changes to the DNA of cells... 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: Tania Lombrozo (UC Berkeley Psychologist) on "Why we ask 'why?'" The nature of human cognition and our remarkable ability to function in a complex world... 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...
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • Previous Art/Science Evenings
    • Rachel Haurwitz is a co-founder of Caribou Biosciences and has been President and CEO since its inception. began researching CRISPR, or what was then a largely uncharacterized prokaryotic immune system, as a graduate student at UC Berkeley. She recognized the broad commercial uses of several of the proteins from the CRISPR system and in response, co-founded Caribou Biosciences. Dr. Haurwitz earned an A.B. at Harvard College in biological sciences, and received a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
    • Annapurna Pandey is a trained sociologist, anthropologist, teaching Cultural Anthropology at the university of California, Santa Cruz since 1995 as well as at San Jose State University since 2006. Born and brought up in Odisha, India, she graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and taught Sociology for 7+ years at the Ravenshaw University in Odisha. After her post-doctoral research in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, she moved to Santa Cruzin 1989. She began teaching in 1995 and resumed her research on Women in Politics and Religion. She started looking into the impact of globalization on Odisha and Odia Diaspora. She also produced a documentary on the experiences of the diasporic Odias in the greater Bay Area titled "Homeland in the Heart" and she is now working on another film, "Giving Life to God: The Installation of Lord Jagannath in the Fremont Hindu Temple". She has collaborated with Prof. James Freeman of San Jose State University on the documentary "The Myth of Buddha's Birthplace" (2012).
    • Tania Lombrozo is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an affiliate of the Department of Philosophy and a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University in 2006 after receiving a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a B.A. in Philosophy from Stanford University. Dr. Lombrozo's research aims to address foundational questions about cognition using the empirical tools of cognitive psychology and the conceptual tools of analytic philosophy. Her work investigates explanation and understanding, conceptual representation, categorization, social cognition, and causal reasoning. Recent projects have focused on the role of explanation in learning and how explanations guide inference, with related strands of work in both children and adults. Dr. Lombrozo is the recipient of numerous early-career awards including the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, the Spence Award from the Association for Psychological Science, and a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, as well as a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition. She is also the Psychology Director for a project funded by the Templeton Foundation on "Varieties of Understanding: New Perspectives from Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology," which will begin in the summer of 2013, and she blogs about psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science at Psychology Today and for NPR's 13.7: Cosmos & Culture.
    • 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 Rambus Fellow and directs research in the Computational Sensing and Imaging Group at Rambus Labs in Sunnyvale CA. 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, and has published widely on the subject including as co-editor of the first three volumes on computer image analysis in the study of art. He delivered the 2011 C. P. Snow Memorial Lecture celebrating scholarly work spanning the arts and sciences. He is author of the second edition of Pattern classification, 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 (IAPR), of the International Academy, Research and Industry Association (IARIA), and of SPIE.

    Extended abstracts:

    Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies have given researchers a wealth of information about DNA changes that occur in different diseases, but we lack the precise tools to specifically make those DNA changes in cell and animal models of disease. Caribou Biosciences is developing a new technology, developed in the lab of Jennifer Doudna at UC Berkeley, that facilitates easy and precise changes to the DNA of cells in the laboratory. This technology, based on a protein called Cas9, allows researchers to make specific disease models, allowing the development of new and better therapeutics.


    Children and adults, like scientists, are driven to explain the social and physical world around them. Why are we so motivated to explain? And why are we so picky when it comes to explanations, with some striking us as deeply satisfying, and others deeply dissapointing? Drawing on research from cognitive science, I'll discuss three mysteries of explanation and what they tell us about the nature of human cognition and our remarkable ability to function in a complex world.


    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.

    Photos and videos of this evening