December 4, 2005 § Leave a comment


Something about intense, clear, colored light delights the eye and mind. Light artists Kenny Greenberg and Clare Brew, teaming up with dancer and choreographer Rachel Cohen, will create synaesthestic light fantasies for us. Roald Hoffmann will lapse into his professorial mode, and do a show-and-tell on emission, absorption, and line spectra, while Oliver Sacks recounts the remarkable history of the noble gases.



November 13, 2005 § Leave a comment


Our lives, careers, failures, loves and successes are as much directed by chance meetings as by our internal compasses. But surely science can make reliable predictions? Not so fast! Outcomes can still appear random, even if all the rules are known. Mathematician and poet Phil Holmes will expand on chaos theory and how it does and doesn’t help one find one’s way in the world. Poet Susan Case will tell how mathematicians hung out in the Scottish Cafe in Lvov before being swept into the vortex of World War II. A quartet, led by Ben Holmes (trumpet) and featuring Brian Drye (trombone), Take Toriyama (drums) and Reuben Radding (bass) will take the theme to music, with original compositions and free improvisations on traditional melodies of East Europe.


October 2, 2005 § Leave a comment


Europeans march in opposition. Africans leaders refuse American genetically modified corn while their people starve. And yet today our processed food almost all contains FDA-approved GM ingredients. Small-scale farmers in China and India are adopting GM crops as eagerly as large-scale American farmers. Who’s right? Why the controversy? Nina Fedoroff, a leading biologist, author of “Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods,” answers these questions…..and any others you wish to ask. She is then joined by the exciting Murat Erdemsel talking about and performing Argentine tango.


September 4, 2005 § Leave a comment


Companions to dinosaurs and Victorians, edible and poisonous, resurrecting, close to the earth and arboreal, unfurling, sexy, and mysterious — ferns are very special, very ancient plants. Robbin Moran of the New York Botanical Garden, a world expert and author of “The Natural History of Ferns” will tell us of these plants. Oliver Sacks will read from his “Oaxaca Journal” about a recent fern society expedition; poet Liz Socolow will read some poems about ferns. And Reuben Radding on contrabass and Karen Waltuch on viola will play! It may be that the plants themselves will make a rare cafe appearance.


May 1, 2005 § Leave a comment


Musician, writer, and philosopher David Rothenberg hosts an evening devoted to the topic of his new book with the title of this program (Basic Books, 2005) which shows how we need science, music, and poetry to make the most human sense out of what birds are up to. He’s joined by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory neuroscientist Partha Mitra, who has worked on zebra finch brains and cell phone communications, and is now trying to tackle the underlying structure of mockingbird songs. He will also sing some songs of the eminent Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore! Both are joined by Leon Gruenbaum on an instrument of his own invention, the Samchillian TipTipTipCheeepeeeee.


April 3, 2005 § Leave a comment


So, 100 years ago, Albert E. published some papers that shook the world of physics. It’s the time and space to celebrate four dimensions of the man: In our own way. Humorist Steve Mirsky reports a deep conversation with Einstein’s parrot; writer and journalist Fred Jerome will read some excerpts form his book “The Einstein File,” detailing J. Edgar’s Hoover’s obsession with showing that Einstein was a dangerous subversive, storyteller Sharon Glassman updates Princeton’s waltz toward an Einstein memorial. And the photoelectric, nonrelativistic Deni Bonet plays for Albert, on her blue electric violin.


February 6, 2005 § Leave a comment


Does anyone need convincing that life is an opera? We mean real life, not yours. PHOEBE LEGERE (“…a name to conjure with … She is an American original, she’s fun, she’s funny, she’s smart. She’s a beauty, almost like a Carole Lombard. But the main thing about her is SHE’S GOOD”-Studs Terkel, NPR) will use her latest invention, the Sneakers of Samothrace, to perform excerpts of her opera on the evolution of life, The Common Root of All Organisms. She is paired with MARK MOFFETT, an ecologist trained under E. O. Wilson. Mark, as close to Indiana Jones as they come, is one of the great nature photographers of our time. He will use his colorful images to discuss the common structural features of ecosystems.

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