A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE LAB

December 7, 2008 § Leave a comment

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In conversation with Lavoisier, the Comte de Buffon once noted that, despite the King’s claims for France, he only did science for the jokes. Some time later this got Bohr laughing, since Buffon was actually famous for not getting Linnaeus’s double entendres, all of which, when told by Bohr, put Heisenberg in stitches, explaining how Barbara McClintock came to tell that famous joke about the gene, the cell, and the hatless Bolivian. So you tell us, was there ever science without humor? Vince LiCata, David Ng & Benjamin Cohen will take time off from their university day jobs to ponder the query, reading and performing. Mezzo Soprano Stephanie McGuire leavens this mix with science-related arias. New material is possible. Accidents will happen. Asymptotes included. Azeotropes not.

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IMAGINE SCIENCE IN FILM

November 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Tonight, a collection of short films curated by Alexis Gambis and Imagine Science Films shows how science can be effectively incorporated in credible yet compelling fashion into fictional narrative filmmaking. In comedy, drama, intrigue, mystery, animation, these films take a shot at bringing science to the public through visual storytelling. We follow the late evening romance of a scientist with a Petri Dish girl, delve into the complexities of relationships as a beautiful woman falls for an architect who suffers from face blindness, cry with a girl who fights cancer with the help of her intergalactic superheroine alter ego, and chuckle at the comedy improv of a global warming scientist matching wits with some witless senators at a madcap hearing on coral bleaching.

THE HAPHAZARD CONSTRUCTION OF THE HUMAN MIND

October 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

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“Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind” ventures a dramatic and entertaining answer to the question, If evolution is so great, how come the human mind is so clumsy? Four months before the two-hundredth anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, NYU Professor Gary Marcus will tell you everything you need to know about evolution, and why it did such a half-baked job with the human mind.

Aaron Kheifets, downtown performance artist and cognitive-scientist-in-training, will lend a helping hand, in the key of comedy.

TABOOS

September 7, 2008 § Leave a comment

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What makes one a parent? Love, genetics, giving birth? This is the question at the center of renowned chemist and playwright Carl Djerassi’s newest play TABOOS.

Returning to his scientific roots, Djerassi explores the other side of planning parenthood. When a lesbian couple and an infertile Christian couple each look to have a child, more than biology gets in the way of the idea of the “perfect family.”

TABOOS is a story about the unexpected, and often messy, results that arise when emotions and science collide. Join us for a reading of selected scenes from TABOOS, followed by a lively discussion of science in theatre with playwright Carl Djerassi, director Melissa Maxwell, and Megan Halpern of Redshift Productions.

Carl Djerassi is emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University and the recipient of many scientific honors, including the American Chemical Society’s Priestley Medal, the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the U.S. National Medal of Science, and the U.S. National Medal of Technology. His literary works, including poems, novels, plays, and memoirs, have been translated into many languages. Among the most widely known of these are Cantor’s Dilemma, The Bourbaki Gambit, Calculus, Phallacy, and Oxygen (co-authored with Roald Hoffmann).

WHY DO WHALES SING?

May 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

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Clarinetist David Rothenberg, author of THOUSAND MILE SONG: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound, addresses this difficult question with the help of Museum of Natural History whale scientist Sal Cerchio, Princeton whale historian D. Graham Burnett, author of TRYING LEVIATHAN, and illustrious ECM violinist Michelle Makarski and drummer extraordinaire Lukas Ligeti.

Are male humpback whales just singing to get the girls, like birds are supposed to be doing? How come no one has ever seen a female whale show any interest in the song at all? Why do the male whales need to constantly change their songs even though no females are listening? And why was there such an important court case in early nineteenth century New York to determine whether the whale was in fact a fish?

The music will blend whale and human melodies and rhythms together in the manner of Rothenberg’s new CD, WHALE MUSIC.

We secretly hope a future Entertaining Science evening will tackle another question that has long intrigued us, Why do fools fall in love?

IT’S THE WAY IT SHATTERS THAT MATTERS

March 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

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So what are the biggest threats to our day to day safety? The facts may well come as a big surprise. Where are our real weaknesses? How come hips break? How do ballistic vests work? And what is crashworthiness? The drive to survive!

Learn the answers to these questions from Nadine Levick, Emergency Physician and Injury Researcher – best known for her John Hopkins ambulance crash tests, awarded the International Society for Automotive Engineers Women’s Leadership Award!

And… conduct your own special and edible crashtest experiments and be entertained to the fabulous sounds of Dan Furman (Piano) and Michael Vitali (Drums) from the Primordial Jazz Funktets and the Dan Furman Trio who will transport you into some exhilarating musical inspiration to soothe your soul.

FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING

February 3, 2008 § Leave a comment

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From the Ilulissat Ice Fjord in Greenland, to the Pine Island Ice Shelf In Antarctica, New York University’s David Holland invites us along on a journey from the extreme North to the extreme South. An expert in polar environmental science, Professor Holland discusses two of his recent field trips to investigate the possibilities of future global sea level change from melting ice sheets. Rolling icebergs, hidden crevasses, unstoppable mosquitoes, plane crashes, sun burn, frost bite, and snow blindness – it’s all part of the quest to understand sea level change!

Julia Meinwald, a talented emerging songwriter and recent graduate of Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU, will showcase (with the help of some friends) her original songs of water in all its emotional states.

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