THE WORLDS WE MAKE UP

September 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

KC_Roald_Oliver

People make up worlds out of bricks, molecules, words, thoughts. There’s probably no better example than Entertaining Science itself–created 7 years ago when K.C. and Roald and Oliver and the Minister of Culture of this temple, Robin, concocted a program on the art and science of nothingness. (That in turn inspired the creation of yet another made-up world–KC’s Categorically Not! series in Santa Monica–another story.) This is our reunion!

The constraints of the so-called “real world” seem limiting to people. But as the late physicist Frank Oppenheimer pointed out: There is no “real world” except as we make it up. Largely in response to his horror at the bombing of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Frank created a “museum of human awareness” – the Exploratorium in San Francisco —a place where art and science allow people to discover that they can understand the complex world around them. Author and USC professor K.C. Cole will tell the story of the “other Oppenheimer” and the world he created, drawing on her new book: Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up.

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks will speak about how the brain, like nature, abhors a vacuum–and how, for instance, if there is no visual perception, as in the blind spot which all of us have, or in those who have lost their sight, the brain will create its own virtual reality by images or hallucinations. And Roald will ponder why we think up new molecules.

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