RIGHT BRAIN, LEFT BRAIN?

December 5, 2004 § Leave a comment

Ursula von Rydingsvard, a wonderful sculptor of mystery and memory in wood, will show images of her work. And Paul Greengard, a Nobel laureate neurobiologist from Rockfeller University will tell us of his studies of the mechanism of action of neurotransmitters, of therapeutic agents and drug abuse. They just happen to be a couple. And they do art and science, building structures large and small, their work calmly and intensely speaking to others, always trying to understand. Do art and science, have anything in common? What goes on in our mind when we discover and create? Avis Berman, a writer and art historian, will comment.

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HOW MANY PEOPLE, PAST AND FUTURE?

November 7, 2004 § Leave a comment

On the day of the New York City Marathon, population biologist and applied mathematician, storyteller and musician Joel Cohen will remind us that there are more people in New York City today than there were in the entire world when agriculture was being invented at the end of the last ice age. Manhattan was then covered by thousands of feet of ice. The connection between warmer climate and more people is not accidental, and causation goes in both directions. What will the next 50 years bring for the human population? Tune in! For comic relief, Cohen will premiere some satirical songs and read from his book of scientific and mathematical jokes. He may even play a serious piano piece or two.

HOW VULGAR CAN YOU GET?

October 3, 2004 § Leave a comment

In French, “vulgarisation” means popularization, as of science. In English, the lovely populist sense of the word got buried in the shade of an elitist construction of ‘vulgar’ (“what we surely ain’t…”). One of the great writers of science, K.C. Cole, will introduce us to the special landscape between vulgar and popular.

Roald Hoffmann will show slides of a remarkable (some said weird) interaction of science and popular culture at the 2004 Carnaval of carnivals, in Rio. And Shawn Hansen and his band “The Brothers Zoto,” including an FM radio transmitter and an imaginary banjo player, will expand that landscape further.

WINGED PSALTERIES, WINGED OYSTERS

September 5, 2004 § Leave a comment

What could they have in common? Yes, mollusks please our eye with their luster of pearls and the perfection of their shell form, while music moves our hearts. But it is not just aesthetics that unites musical instruments and seashells. Both man-made artifacts and living creatures change as time goes by.

Musician and biologist Ilya Tëmkin will explore a biological metaphor in his work on the evolution of winged oysters and the reconstruction of the past of the Baltic psaltery, an ancient musical instrument of north-eastern Europe. He’ll also play the psaltery and for the musical part will be joined by Michael Andrec, a bandura player, composer, and computational biologist

BORDERS

August 1, 2004 § Leave a comment

They are there, naturally — in every living cell. Upscale, we build them (as did God in Genesis). To transgress them, of course, to transport things cross them.

Michael Klein, a molecular biophysicist with an artist’s sensibility, will show us some of his wonderful modeling of the structures of the cell, and how they self-assemble. And Shoko Nagai (piano) and Satoshi Takeishi (audio processing, percussion) will assemble music(s) that cross borders.

VOX HUMANA

June 6, 2004 § Leave a comment

Nothing touches us more directly, is more full of wonders and expressive power than the human voice. Nor more mysterious. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie McGuire will show us the magic, with arias from Bach oratorios through the operatic repertoire. And Johan Sundberg (from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm), a world expert on the acoustics of the human voice, will take us through the way the voice works, demonstrating along the way the tools that can take apart and reconstruct the art of a man or woman singing.

THE ENGINEER AND THE ARTIST

May 2, 2004 § Leave a comment

Raffaello D’Andrea holds the distinction of being the only engineer to have a work of art in the National Gallery of Canada. The piece, known simply as ‘The Table,’ is a collaboration of D’Andrea, a control systems engineer at Cornell, with Canadian artist Max Dean. Their artwork responds to the presence of the viewer by trying to establish a relationship with the human observer.

D’Andrea and Dean will discuss this work and their collaborative process — the meeting of art and technology, their differences in approach and the striking similarities in their working methods, goals and motivations. They will also describe past independent work — D’Andrea is the coach/trainer of the champion (Cornell of course!) World Cup Robotic Soccer team — and offer a glimpse into future possibilities.

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