Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 15 February 2023

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Stanford, 15 February 2023 at 7pm
LiKaShing building - Room LK308
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi and prof. Curtis Frank
Free and open to everybody

The LASERs (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) are an international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. See the program for the whole international series and the dates for the Bay Area. Send an email to "scaruffi at stanford dot edu" if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs.
Where: Stanford University, LiKaShing building - Room LK308
There should be ample parking in the structure on corner of Campus Drive West and Roth Way. (Stanford map)
Parking is mostly free at Stanford after 6pm.
If you cannot attend in person, you can watch it on Zoom. Click here to register or here. Note that the quality of the stream will be approximate. We do our best but there are physical limitations in the classroom.
Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • Alice Yuan Zhang (Media Artist) on "The Need for Intergenerational Tech" Toward a cyclical framework of sowing code as seed, maintenance as recipe, and just relations as networked infrastructure... Read more
    If you missed this presentation, you can view it by clicking on the image:
  • Jennifer Dionne (Stanford Univ) on "Life-speed reads of biological bits with Silicon photonics" In-situ, highly miniaturized sensors based on silicon photonic chips... Read more
    If you missed this presentation, you can view it by clicking on the image:
  • Adegboyega Mabogunje (Stanford/ Design) on "Accelerating Innovation: Children, Women, Sex, and Bombs" The primary drivers of innovation acceleration can be grouped under four categories... Read more
    If you missed this presentation, you can view it by clicking on the image:
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

  • Adegboyega Mabogunje is an engineering-design scientist at the Center for Design Research in Stanford University, where he explores the interplay between the activities of designing, learning, engineering, innovation, and capital formation. He conducts empirical studies of design teams using Video Interaction Analysis, Immersive Virtual Reality and Computer Simulation to identify formative performance metrics which are then used to guide the development of practices for accelerating the rate of innovation and capital formation. He has done field observation in Nigeria, India, Missouri, and California.
  • Jennifer Dionne is a sculptor of light at the nanoscale. She develops optical methods to detect and direct molecules, emphasizing critical challenges in global health and sustainability. As a Professor of Materials Science and of Radiology at Stanford, and a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, her research has developed culture-free methods to detect pathogens and their antibiotic susceptibility; methods to image and direct photo-chemical reactions with atomic-scale resolution; and materials that enable direct visualization of cellular forces. She is also co-founder of Pumpkinseed – a company dedicated to improving personal and planetary health through protein sequencing. She frequently collaborates with visual and performing artists to convey the beauty of science to the broader public. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards. She is also Senior Associate Vice Provost of Research Platforms at Stanford University, and Director of the Department of Energy's "Photonics at Thermodynamic Limits" Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC).
  • Piero Scaruffi is a cultural historian who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s. His poetry has been awarded several national prizes in Italy and the USA. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). His latest book of history is "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011). The first volume of his free ebook "A Visual History of the Visual Arts" appeared in 2012. His latest book is "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in 2008. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.
  • Alice Yuan Zhang (b. Dalian, China) is a media artist, researcher, and educator based between Berlin and Los Angeles. Her transdisciplinary practice operates on cyclical and intergenerational time. Along the peripheries of colonialist imagination, she works to bring technology down to earth by devising collective experiments in ancestral remembering, interspecies pedagogy, and networked solidarity. Alice is a founding steward of virtual care lab, 2022 DWeb fellow, recent research resident at 0x Salon, Creative Wildfire artist, resident artist at CultureHub, and community member of NAVEL and Trust. She has taught Media Studies for Performance at Sarah Lawrence College, facilitated a study group on Digital Matterealities, and hosted lectures, workshops, and other learning engagements across academic institutions including CalArts, Harvard, Duke, NYU ITP, and University of Toronto, arts institutions such as Goethe-Institute, Iowa PS1, and MAK Center, and independent cultural initiatives like SFPC, Tiny Tech Zines, SOFTER, and M20.

Extended abstracts:

I am an engineering-design scientist who studies engineering-designers. Specifically, I am interested in how innovation happens, and how it can be nurtured and accelerated. Knowing how to accelerate innovation means we can spur socio-economic growth in developing economies and reduce human suffering. It also means we can develop and deploy technologies that will reverse the warming of the planet in the best possible — and most timely — manner. Finally, it means that we can develop new solutions that address the unknown challenges that are anticipated in the near future. After over 10 years of work on this topic, I believe that the primary drivers of innovation acceleration can be grouped under the following four categories: children (wonder, openness to experience, diversity, and time), women (intuition and empathy), sex (trust, collaboration, sublimation and repurposed energy) and bombs (fear, language, technology). In this talk, I will elaborate on how these factors in combination accelerate innovation.

What organisms only comprise 1% of the global plant biomass, but are responsible for 50% of global photosynthetic activity and over half of the world’s oxygen production? The answer is phytoplankton - microscopic organisms that are key players in ocean and freshwater ecosystems. Due to climate change, phytoplankton distributions are shifting, not only influencing the marine food web but also leading to increased blooms and biotoxin production that can harm humans and wildlife, contaminate water sources, and damage local economies. Join Professor Jen Dionne of Stanford and c-founder of Pumpkinseed to learn about the latest research and technology developments, such as in-situ, highly miniaturized sensors based on silicon photonic chips, that detect millions of cells, gene fragments, proteins, and metabolites in biological samples. Plus, learn about an autonomous robotic water sampler developed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) for real-time phytoplankton, environmental DNA, and toxin detection and analysis.

What lies beyond the linear arrow of technocapitalist futurity, which relies on obsolescence sustained by extractive geopolitics? Media artist Alice Yuan Zhang draws from decolonial and diasporic sensibilities to call for an intergenerational approach to technology. She will discuss the ills of hegemonic innovation and conspire toward a cyclical framework of sowing code as seed, maintenance as recipe, and just relations as networked infrastructure. This talk surfaces from her ongoing artistic research theme Becoming Infrastructure, in which she examines technological infrastructure across temporal and earthly scales through the lens of ecosystemic grief.

Photos and videos of this evening


The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Stanford Deans of: Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; and Medicine; by Chemical Engineering and by Continuing Studies.