Institute to host second art/science LASER evening Nov. 5

molecule from UCSC Oceanic Scales project

UCSC’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences will present its second LASER event on Tuesday, November 5, beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Digital Arts Research Center (DARC building, Room 108).

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

The goal of the series is to feature compelling new developments in the arts and sciences, and--in the words of series founder Piero Scaruffi--"to mix audiences that would not normally be found at the same event."

Admission is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be available prior to the presentations, which begin at 7 pm.

The speakers and topics will include:

  • Robert Dawson: "From Alan Chadwick to Bill Moyers: Forty Years of Thinking About the Commons"
  • Amy Franceschini: “Excursions through Domains of Familiarity and Surprise”
  • Jennifer Parker and Gene Felice: “OpenLab: Publishing in Public and Oceanic Scales”
  • Bruce Schumm: “The Higgs Boson Discovery: What it Reveals and Where it Leads”

San Francisco photographer and UCSC alumnus Robert Dawson is founder and co-director of the Water in the West Project. His photographs have been recognized by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and by a Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. His books include Robert Dawson Photographs; The Great Central Valley: California’s Heartland; Farewell, Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream; and A Doubtful River.

Dawson’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian); and the Library of Congress.  He graduated from UCSC in 1972 and has taught photography at San Jose State University since 1986, and at Stanford University since 1996.

An overarching theme in the work of artist and designer Amy Franceschini is a perceived conflict between "humans" and "nature.” In 1995, she founded Futurefarmers and in 2004 she co-founded Free Soil, international collectives of artists, activists, researchers, and gardeners who work together to propose alternatives to the social, political and environmental organization of space.

Franceschini’s solo and collaborative work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Museum of Modern Art and Walker Art Center. She received her BFA from San Francisco State University in photography, her MFA from Stanford University, and she is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow.

A faculty member of the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics, physics professor Bruce Schumm is part of the UCSC team working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, where the long-theorized Higgs Boson was discovered in July 2013. His current research focuses on the search for dark matter, which might also be expected to be found among the collision products of the LHC proton beams.

He also works on the development of advanced instrumentation for the proposed International Linear Collider--the most likely follow-on project to the LHC. Schumm is the author of Deep Down Things – The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics, a treatment of the Standard Model of Particle Physics written specifically for non-physicists. Schumm received the UCSC Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002-2003.

Chair of the UCSC Art Department and a professor in UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media program, Jennifer Parker is a founding director of UCSC’s OpenLab--a research center in the Arts Division facilitating innovative, creative and collaborative research with art, community, design, technology and science.

Parker’s solo and collaborative work has been presented nationally and internationally at SFMOMA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the World Trade Center in Osaka, Japan; Školská 28 Galerie; Kala Art Institute; Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, ZER01, and the Tech Museum. She has been the recipient of visual arts fellowships from Art Matters, the New Forms Regional Grant (NEA), the NSF, The New Jersey State Council of the Arts, and the Kate Neal Kinely Memorial Fellowship Award.

A graduate student in UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media program (DANM), Gene Felice is currently working with OpenLab and the Mechatonics Research Group to develop the Oceanic Scales project. He currently divides his research between art, design, and education. This split allows him to develop a balance between interactive art, living systems, and the latest available technology for new media.


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