February 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Entertaining Science, founded in 2002, is a monthly series at the Cornelia Street Cafe featuring talks by prominent scientists paired with artistic performances related to the evening’s theme. Shows run at 6 pm on the first Sunday of every month and are curated by poet/chemist Roald Hoffmann of Cornell University and composer/neuroscientist Dave Soldier (aka Sulzer) of Columbia University. See Entertaining Science – The Back Story.
IMPORTANT: Science is more popular than you may think! Please call The Cornelia St. Café for reservations (212.989.9318 or 212.989.9319), starting the Monday prior to any show.
Posts for individual shows follow below.
February 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Jason Kendall is an urban astronomer who’s held star parties in the Bronx where tattooed gang members, homeless men in plastic bags and fur-wearing women walking Afghan hounds, all stood next to each other and looked at Saturn in a telescope. He’s shamed NYC Parks into turning off park lights for the International Year of Astronomy, and recently started a stint on a Weather Channel show, telling viewers what to see in the sky. When he’s not taking his 15” Obsession telescope into the wilds of Inwood Hill Park, he stealth-teaches astronomy at William Paterson University to mostly-unsuspecting undergraduates.
Tonight Pluto is his beat, and he teams up with Nadia Roden, a visual artist who crosses the realm into ice wizardry. She has published two award winning books on the subject of shaved ice and creative ice pops and has taken her polka dot Ice mobile cart onto the Highline where she has enchanted people with her imaginative flavors. Oprah Magazine named her the ‘Ice Princess’. Tonight Nadia will share her creative process and then take a trip to Pluto and its 5 moons. Be prepared to have your taste buds frozen in delight as the voyage returns to earth bringing flavors from that remote cold space directly to your table at Cornelia Street cafe’s basement.
January 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
We journey through the Saturn system to explore its wonders, courtesy of the decades-long Cassini-Huygens mission. Our guide will be Jonathan Lunine, a planetary scientist on that mission. We’ll start with Saturn’s intricate rings and bubbling cauldron of an atmosphere, and then move on to Titan–a giant moon where methane streams run down to sunless hydrocarbon seas. Finally, Enceladus, a tiny moon with an underground ocean and jets of salty water spewing into space, may be our best chance to discover living organisms elsewhere in the solar system. Lukas Ligeti, a versatile composer and percussionist whose work incorporates elements of jazz, contemporary classical, electronic and various world musics, will reflect in music on the journey (and his own, from Vienna to Bushwick through Africa). And so will Grey McMurray, guitarist extraordinaire from bands such as Tongues in Trees and itsnotyouitsme.
January 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Sunday, January 4th, at 6pm
Katie Down is a music psychotherapist and multi-instrumentalist who has a penchant for musical and visual drones (not the ones that fly in the air however!) and incorporates what she has coined Therapeutic Musical Drone as a means for inquiry through deep listening – examining how we engage, and react to our immediate sonic environments.
Alex Kontorovich, mathematician at Rutgers and accomplished sax and clarinet player, studies questions at the intersection of geometry, number theory, and chaotic dynamics. He will investigate a visual environment: the fractal beauty of iterated symmetry, and the people fascinated by it (including Descartes and Leibniz, and Frederick Soddy, the 1921 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry).
Together, Katie and Alex will discuss the primeval tie between mathematical and musical patterns. The evening will have fun “experientials” with the audience looking at and listening to patterns of the visual and aural variety including images of cymatics, fractals, etc. Joining Katie on some of her drone instruments such as Tibetan bowls, crystal bowls, Indian shruti boxes, etc., are The Brothers of the Gong, and Aly Sun Panichi on didgeridoo.
December 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
The brain does marvelous things with the variety of sensory “inputs” entering it – light, sound, touch. This program pairs a sage of musical and film “minimalism” who specializes in pieces with very extended pitches, Phill Niblock, with a young master of the way acoustic signals are processed in the brain, Nima Mesgarani from Columbia’s Electrical Engineering Department to lead you to think about sound in unusual ways.
Phill’s music is an exploration of sound textures created in very dense, often atonal tunings. Listen, and you’ll hear things that you cannot imagine could have been heard. Nima designs experiments probing how our brain hears speech, and thinks about interfacing brain signals to machines. He likes to invert things, so he will tell us what a ferret hears when you speak to it. Sounds have textures, they overlay and interlace. And the brain does things with them that you could not imagine!
November 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
Our theme is light and color, showing us the way to understanding. Rob Singer at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine has developed ways to tag individual molecules with tiny fluorescent beacons, and then to observe those molecules in the course of normal living processes. He will show us a remarkable video of molecules traveling in real time in living brain cells of a mouse, while memories are being formed. And how genetic messengers move within us, from one inner zipcode to another.
Color is also a way to penetrate to understanding in the world of Olek. Her art explores communication and sexuality through colors and meticulous detail. Olek consistently pushes the boundaries between fashion, art, craft and public art, fluidly combining the sculptural and the fanciful. If you stand still for a moment, she is likely to crochet around you. Or around your bicycle. Or your mermaid.
October 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
Every austral summer, hundreds of scientists and their support staffs travel to the southernmost continent where they live for several months in stations and field camps. What exactly are they doing? What really happens on the ice?
In Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s novel, The Big Bang Symphony, three women – a geologist, a composer, and a galley worker – take jobs in Antarctica, where they each fall in love and into trouble. “Bledsoe captures the deadly beauty of the southernmost continent….A well-balanced humdinger of a story keeps this unusual novel hurtling along like a skidoo on the ice.” (Kirkus Reviews) Bledsoe has traveled to Antarctica three times, twice as a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Fellowship.
The Antarctic has been warming dramatically in recent decades with changes seen from loss of sea ice, through trophic levels all the way to penguins. Grace Saba’s research focuses on physical biological coupling and food web dynamics – how changes in the environment reverberate through the food web. She studies how ocean acidification impacts communities of phytoplankton, as well as Antarctic krill physiology. The challenge of conducting field work in such an isolated, harsh place makes for wild and compelling stories.