Institute to present inaugural Leonardo Art/Science Evening, Oct. 8

 poster for UCSC LASER event

The Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) is a national program of evening gatherings that brings together artists, scientists, and scholars for informal presentations and conversations.

On Tuesday, October 8, UCSC's Institute of the Arts and Sciences will present the campus’s inaugural LASER event, hosting an evening of speakers who will lay the foundation for a new UCSC series by speaking about the intertwining of art and science.

John Weber, founding director of the Institute, noted that the main themes of the event--such as "why art and science" and "why now"--will provide context to show how the new series will serve as a local forum for presenting art and science projects underway throughout the University of California, in the Bay Area, and beyond.

Titled Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, the October 8 event will take place at UCSC’s Digital Arts and Research Center (DARC) in Room 108, beginning at 6:45 p.m.

 Participants will include:

 • Piero Scaruffi—founder of the Leonardo Art/Science Evenings (LASERS), cognitive scientist, author, and cultural historian. Topic: “A Brief History of Creativity from Cheops Pyramid to Silicon Valley: 5000 years of Art/Science Misunderstandings.”

Ken Goldberg—professor of New Media at UC Berkeley, where he and his students investigate robotics, art, and social media. Topic: “Sensitivity Analysis: Arts, Robots, and Nature."

Jennifer Gonzalez—professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department at UCSC, and at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York, she writes about contemporary art with an emphasis on installation art, digital art, and activist art. Topic: “Artists Interrogating Democracy.”

Greg Laughlin: professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UCSC, he works on the detection and characterization of planets orbiting nearby stars. Topic: “The Three Body Problem (No Longer a Proof Walking on Stilts).”

Gail Wight: professor of experimental media art at Stanford University, with a focus on issues of biology and the cultural impact of science and technology. Topic: “Scenic Overlook.”

“Leonardo is a long-established, international organization devoted to furthering dialogue and work in the arts and sciences, and our talks will be publicized both regionally and nationally through their network,” said Weber.

“This is a way to get people together who might otherwise not meet, create connections, and lay the seeds for future collaborations.”

Weber added that future LASER events at UCSC will deliberately mix speakers from on and off campus and will feature work from a variety of different fields.

“We are inviting some speakers working in areas we are particularly interested in, such as health and water, and we are also paying attention to fields that UCSC is particularly strong in, such as astronomy, said Weber.

“Beyond that, we will simply be working to identify really intriguing research happening here and elsewhere, as well as good speakers.”

Future LASER events at UCSC are scheduled for November, 5, January 28, February 25, April 8, and May 6. Speakers TBA.


This event is presented by UCSC's Institute of the Arts and Sciences and the Division of the Arts. For more information, contact the Institute at