The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Humanities & Sciences, by Continuing Studies and by the department of Chemical Engineering.

The San Francisco LASERs are sponsored by the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Outside the Bay Area:

See ISAST's website for more series. I recommend that you subscribe to Leonardo ISAST's newsletter.
The LASERs are an international program of gatherings that bring the humanities, arts and sciences together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. As of 2022, they take place in more than 40 universities and cultural institutions in four continents.

The LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series was started by cultural historian Piero Scaruffi in january 2008 in San Francisco as a local forum for presenting art and science projects underway in the Bay Area. Besides the series at University of San Francisco, co-chaired with Tami Spector, Piero also started the series at Stanford, now co-chaired with prof. Curtis Frank, and UC Berkeley. Sister series, coordinated by Leonardo ISAST, have appeared in many cities of the world. Think globally, act locally.

As of 2021, LASER series are held in Washington D.C. (chaired by JD Talasek at the National Academy of Sciences), Los Angeles, CA (chaired by Victoria Vesna at UCLA), Santa Cruz, CA (formerly chaired by John Weber at UCSC), Davis (chaired by Jiayi Young, at UC Davis), London (chaired by Heather Barnett at University of the Arts London), Austin, TX (chaired by Sally Weber at Umlauf), North Texas (chaired by Ruth West at University of North Texas), Kansas (chaired by Carlos Castellanos at KSU), Zurich, Switzerland (chaired by Jill Scott and Boris Magrini, at the University of Applied Science), Paris, France (chaired by Annick Bureaud, at the University of Applied Science), Toronto, Canada (co-chaired by Nina Czegledy and Roberta Buiani at ArtSci Salon), New York City (chaired by Ellen Levy and Patricia Olynyk), Tacoma, WA (chaired by Siddarth Ramakrishnan at University of Puget Sound), Montreal, Canada (chaired by Nina Czegledy and Gisele Trudel at Hexagram), Augusta, GA (chaired by Scott Thorpe at University of Augusta), Irvine, CA (chaired by David Familian and Caitlin Moore at the Bealle Center at UC Irvine), Edmonton in Canada (chaired by Marilene Oliver and Pamela Brett-MacLean at the University of Alberta), San Jose (chaired by Craig Hobbs at SJSU), New Jersey (chaired by Elizabeth Demaray and Julia Buntaine at Rutgers University), Rio de Janeiro (chaired by Joao Silveira and Tania Araujo-Jorge), Fortaleza, Brazil (chaired by Clarissa Ribeiro), Sao Paulo, Brazil (chaired by Tania Fraga), Tehran (chaired by Marzieh Zare), Houston, TX (chaired by Surpik Angelini at Transart Foundation), Vienna (chaired by Klaus Spiess and Susanne Gahbauer), Buffalo, NY (chaired by Paul Vanouse and Solon Morse at the State University of New York), Hong Kong (chaired by Yun Wah Lam and Mariana Perez Bobadilla), Hong Kong (chaired by Lisa Park SoYoung and Alvaro Cassinelli), New Brunswick (chaired by Elizabeth Demaray), Tel Aviv University (chaired by Michael Chodakiewitz), Boston (chaired by Alexandra Mueller-Crepon and Julia Buntaine Hoel at Swissnex), Pasadena (chaired by Stephen Nowlin), North Carolina (chaired by Victoria Szabo at Duke Univ), Santa Barbara (chaired by Jane Chang at UCSB), New Zealand (chaired by Janine Randerson), Mexico City (chaired by Luz Cardona Sanchez), Arizona State University (chaired by Pamela Winfrey), Dartington College in England (chaired by Alan Bolden), Aalto University in Finland (chaired by Laura Beloff), in Moscow (chaired by Anastasiia Sibrenkova), University of Queensland (chaired by Elizabeth Stephens), University of Art and Design Linz (chaired by Christa Sommerer and others), Cyland/St Petersburg/ Moscow, Helsinki/Espoo (chaired by Laura Beloff and others), Brussels (chaired by Alexandra Dementieva), Lisbon (chaired by Luis Graca and Marta de Menezes), Tel Aviv (chaired by Tal Yizrael), Valencia (chaired by Moises Maas Carbonell and Guillermo Muoz Matutano), Lisbon (chaired by Marta de Menezes and Luis Garcia), Liverpool (chaired by Mark Roughley), Denmark (chaired by Morten Sondergaard), Oxford Univ (chaired by Sonia Contera), Shanghai (chaired by Cissy Yiwen Sun and Langyuan Ma at Swissnex), Amsterdam (chaired by Lucas Evers), Jerusalem (chaired by Galina Bleikh and Daria Kesler), Joint Research Centre, European Commission in Italy (chaired by Caterina Benincasa), ... See the alphabetical list updated to 2019.

Maps as of 2020:

The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

Each evening, in a casual academic setting, free of charge and open to the public, presents up to four artists, scientists, philosophers, historians, inventors and scholars who are working on paradigm shifts. Each evening also allows the audience to socialize and encourages people in the audience to briefly introduce their work. (If you are interested in running a LASER series at your university, please contact me and this is roughly what makes the LASERs different).

A white paper about the LASERs

Archive of past LASERs

Gallery of past presenters

See also the The LAST festival


Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist who was the manager of the Olivetti Artificial Intelligence Center in Silicon Valley, held visiting scholarships at several academic centers (notably Harvard and Stanford universities), lectured in three continents, and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (most recently, the four-volume "Thinking about Thought" in 2014 and "Intelligence is not Artificial" in 2015). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s; and he has co-authored "A History of Silicon Valley" (2012).

As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (Second edition, 2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). He has also written extensively about cinema, literature and the visual arts on his website www.scaruffi.com. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). "A Brief History of Knowledge" (2011), the lectures from his old UC Berkeley class, has been published as an Amazon ebook.

Full bio: click here.

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