Scientists and artists have long found common ground in their delight and fascination with patterns and regularities we see in the natural world. I will explore what we can say about how such patterns arise and how they have been used in art and design across time and cultures, from the Neolithic period to postmodernism.
Philip Ball is a freelance writer and broadcaster, and worked previously for over 20 years as an editor for Nature. He writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and has authored many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and the wider culture, including H2O: A Biography of Water, Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour, The Music Instinct, and Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. His book Critical Mass won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. Philip is a presenter of Science Stories, the BBC Radio 4 series on the history of science. He trained as a chemist at the University of Oxford, and as a physicist at the University of Bristol. His latest book is The Modern Myths: Adventures in the Machinery of the Popular Imagination (June 2021).
Wednesday, April 21
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. CT
Can there be design by disorder? This talk discusses ideas based on stochastic (re-)configuration in granular materials that spawned new concepts for soft robotics and architecture.
Heinrich Jaeger is the Sewell Avery Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A focus of his work are granular materials, which are large agglomerates of particles that can exhibit both liquid-like and solid-like properties. His research group explores these properties to make novel stress-adaptive materials for high-efficiency energy absorption, soft robotic systems that can change shape and compliance, and new forms of architectural structures that are fully recyclable.
Wednesday, April 7
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. CT
African Americans in Europe: London, Copenhagen, and Paris
Anita Welbon, Ethelene Whitmire, and Calvin Forbes (10.16.19)
African Americans have been traveling to and living in Europe since and before the end of slavery, right up to the present; perhaps most famously noted in the writing of James Baldwin. Join us for a discussion of some of the varied aspects of the long and wonderfully complex story.
From Science to Perspectivism: Nietzsche on Art
Guy Elgat (9.12.19)
Liberal Arts Lecturer Guy Elgat examines Nietzsche’s view on art, specifically music, in two separate periods of Nietzsche's thought: 1878, when he published his Human, All Too Human, and 1886, when he published the fifth book of The Gay Science as well as Beyond Good and Evil. Dr. Elgat examines Nietzsche’s early view of art in relation to contemporary scientism, and explains how in his later work Nietzsche transcended this earlier, more limiting view by appealing to his doctrine of perspectivism. Dr. Guy Elgat's research focuses on German philosophy, with emphasis on the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. His book, Nietzsche's Psychology of Ressentiment was published in 2017 with Routledge.
Transcending Science: Can artists and designers help climate scientists prevent a climate apocalypse?
Mika Tosca (4.29.19)
The climate crisis is more desperate than ever - ice caps are melting, disease is spreading, heat waves are multiplying, storms are strengthening - and politicians continue to ignore the warning signs. In this talk Dr. Tosca details ways in which working with artists and designers can improve communication of climate science, bolster scientific research, and help bridge the divide between scientists, artists, and the public.