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March 16, 2010

Jonah Lehrer Will Present ‘The Future of Science is Art’ April 5

The author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist will meet with students and discuss his work

Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, will be on campus April 5 to meet with students and discuss his work.

He will present the lecture, “The Future of Science is Art: Or what we can learn about the brain from a 19th century French chef, Kanye West, and Virginia Woolf,” at 4:15 p.m. in room 224 of Oechsle Hall.

This is the final event in a yearlong speaker series bringing together artists and scientists to talk about their techniques for combining technology with the visual arts. It is free and open to the public. Lehrer will meet with students and faculty from art, biology, and neuroscience throughout the day.

The series is made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation through the efforts of Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art; Chun Wai Liew, associate professor and head of computer science; and Jim Toia, director of the art department’s Community-Based Teaching program. Alex Gibney, an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy award-winning documentary film director, kicked off the series in the fall. Other speakers included sculptor Loren Madsen and “virtual human” designer Stacy Marsella.

Lehrer’s two books, Proust Was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide, explore topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the relationship between science and the humanities. Lehrer is a contributing editor at Wired, Scientific American Mind, and National Public Radio’s Radiolab. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

The speaker series has come about due to the success of the Emergent Patterns project, a multi-year collaboration among Kerns, Liew, and Elaine Reynolds, associate professor of biology and chair of neuroscience. The project has allowed students from technical and artistic backgrounds to work together to produce artwork by exploring the complex patterns and processes that can emerge in visual structures. The culmination of this work was on display in the Computation, Vision: Emergence exhibition, which ran last semester in the Williams Visual Arts Building.

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