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Berkeley Arts Festival Gallery • 2133 University Ave., Berkeley
November 1 & 2, 2012 • 5:30–9:00pm
Presented by Science@Cal in association with the Bay Area Science Festival
Steve Croft, Astronomer
Astronomy Department, UC Berkeley
Dr. Steve Croft is a researcher in the Department of Astronomy, investigating the growth of supermassive black holes, and explosive events in the Universe, using cutting-edge radio telescopes. He is also passionate about science education, and organizes the public Science@Cal lecture series. He assembled this video, using rudimentary editing techniques, from images submitted by working scientists across the UC Berkeley campus.
We sent out an email request for working scientists at UC Berkeley to submit images made during the course of their research that also had artistic appeal. Although none of these images was created as art, each is both aesthetically interesting, as well as representing the underlying science. The images were assembled into a slideshow which shows the beauty of science and of our natural world, as well as a small sampling of the breadth of scientific research taking place on campus.
Ahna Girshick, Producer
Snibbe Studio, San Francisco
Ahna Girshick is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in human behavior, perception and technology. She is fascinated by the hypothesis that our perceptions and behavior are not the result of arbitrary and complex rules, but rather simple probabilistic inference. With this motivation she investigates a diverse range of topics including visual perception, information visualization, user interface design, 2D and 3D digital displays, and the relationship between perception, art, and computer graphics. She is currently working her husband, Scott Snibbe, as a producer at Snibbe Studio in San Francisco. They produce interactive audio-visual app experiences such as Biophilia (for Björk’s latest album) and REWORK_ (for the new Beck-produced Philip Glass remix album). These apps draw on Ahna’s background and interest in science, data visualization, and connections between art and tech. Previously she spent years as a multi-disciplinary academic researcher in UC Berkeley Vision Science Program (Ph.D.), New York University’s Department of Psychology (postdoc), and UC Berkeley Computer Science Visualization Lab (postdoc).
Mark Lescroart, Postdoctoral Researcher
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI)
Art, Science and the Imagination, panelist
Mark got his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 2011, working with Irving Biederman. He uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the way that our brains transform the patterns of light on our retinas into useful information about the shape and identity of objects in the world.
Bernie Peyton, Origami Artist and Wildlife Biologist
Most of the work Bernie did as a field biologist was on spectacled bears in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Now he sculpts bears and other forms of endangered wildlife in folded paper to show how fragile their existence is.
Steven Stahler, Research Astronomer
Astronomy Department, UC Berkeley
Art, Science and the Imagination, moderator
Steve is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies the formation of stars and the wrote the first graduate textbook on the subject. He also is an accomplished artist, whose sketches can be seen at http://astro.berkeley.edu/~stahler/.
Ruth Tringham, Professor
Graduate School (Anthropology), UC Berkeley
Creative Director and President of the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA), a recently established non-profit organization
Art, Science and the Imagination, panelist
She has directed and published archaeological excavations in Southeast Europe and Turkey (Çatalhöyük). Her current research focuses on creating database narratives and recombinant histories about the life-histories of people, places and things and the multisensorial construction of place. She combines the use of imagination with digital technologies to engage a broader public in alternative scenarios about the prehistoric past.
Anand Varma, Photographer
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley
As a natural history photographer, Anand relies on his training as a biologist to understand his subjects. His goal is to make research about the natural world more engaging for the public.
Lauren Weiss, Graduate Student
Geoff Marcy’s Research Group, UC Berkeley
Lauren Weiss is a first-year graduate student at UC Berkeley, working with Geoff Marcy to characterize exoplanets and binary stars. Lauren also write for Astrobites, a journal of astronomy reviews for undergraduates.
Anand Varma, Photographer
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley
Anand Varma has been drawn to natural history since he was a boy, exploring the streams and wooded lots near his home in Atlanta. In high school, he picked up his dad’s old camera on a whim and found that he could use it to tell stories about his adventures. During his first two years as a biology student at UC Berkeley, Anand spent most of his time and energy pursuing opportunities in research. Photography was little more than a hobby until a graduate student in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology on campus put him in contact with National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager. From his experience working as David's assistant, he realized that photography was the ideal tool to feed his curiosity about the natural world and share his discoveries with others.
Since beginning work as a photographic assistant in 2006, Anand has worked on 12 feature stories for National Geographic Magazine. In 2010, he received a Young Explorer Grant from the National Geographic Society to photograph the wetlands of Patagonia and has since become a freelance contributor to the magazine.
As a natural history photographer, I rely on my training as a biologist to understand my subjects. I work closely with biologists in order to better understand the subjects I am photographing. In the process, I hope to make science and natural history more accessible to a broad audience. This work is a sample of the research projects I have worked on.
Dave Strauss, Volunteer
UC Museum of Paleontology, UC Berkeley
Dave Strauss is a UC Berkeley alum (’70) who currently works in the electronics industry. A lifelong photographer with a strong amateur interest in biology, geology, and other sciences, Dave volunteers several hours a week to assist UCMP staff, faculty, and students with photography that supports their research.
UCMP paleontologists study tissue development by cutting very thin slices from fossil bones, teeth, scales, etc., and then mounting them on slides for study under microscopes. I recently photographed hundreds of these histology slides for UCMP’s online documentation. This photo composite is an appreciation of the unexpected beauty that emerged from a routine administrative process. Apart from fossils, I have been photographing everything from lantern slides to correspondence as part of UCMP’s “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” project. The project—to create online finding aids for the museum’s archives—is funded by a three-year grant from the Mellon Foundation.
Carlo H. Séquin, Professor
CS Division, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Dept., UC Berkeley
Carlo H. Séquin has a Ph.D degree in experimental physics from the University of Basel, Switzerland. From 1970 till 1976 he worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., on the design and investigation of Charge-Coupled Devices for imaging applications. In 1977 he joined the faculty in the EECS Department at Berkeley. He started out by teaching courses on the subject of very large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits. He was head of the Computer Science Division from 1980 till 1983. Since then he has concentrated on computer graphics, geometric modeling, and on the development of computer aided design (CAD) tools for circuit designers, architects, and for mechanical engineers. Since 1995 he has collaborated with P. Wright in Mechanical Engineering on the CyberCut / CyberBuild project with the goal to streamline the path from creative design to rapid prototyping. Séquin's work in computer graphics and in geometric design have also provided a bridge to the world of art. In collaboration with a few sculptors of abstract geometric art, Séquin has found a new interest and yet another domain where the use of computer-aided tools can be explored and where new frontiers can be opened through the use of such tools.
I work on the boundary between art and mathematics. Sometimes I create artwork by using mathematical procedures; at other times I enhance a mathematical visualization model to the point where it becomes a piece of art. Often my work relies on basic concepts of symmetry and topology and I am fascinated by knots, regular polyhedra, and Klein bottles. Recently I have been trying to make deeply mathematical concepts understandable to the general public by creating appropriate visualization models.
Kala Art Institute Youth Programs
For more than twenty years now, Kala Art Institute has helped artists sustain their creative vision and fostered art education. Kala provides exceptional facilities to regional, national, and international artists working in printmaking, digital media, photography, and book arts. In addition to the artist residency programs, Kala’s annual activities include: six to eight exhibitions in the Kala Gallery as well as off-site locations; on-going lectures, artist talks, and special events; over 100 classes and workshops open to the general public and an Artists-in-Schools program that provides curriculum-based visual arts education in public schools. Through all its programs, Kala serves an estimated 35,000 individuals annually.
Kala’s Artists-in-Schools (AIS) program sends talented teaching artists into underserved public schools in Alameda County where they deliver innovative art education classes.
Projects include printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, map-making, mural arts, animation, and digital arts. Kala’s unique professional artists inspire respect in students as they share their technical expertise and passion for arts and culture. Through these multi-layered projects, students learn to synthesize academic curricula and their own personal stories into fully realized visual artworks.
Ecology. Layering. Recycle. Composition. Efficiency. Patterning.
These make an unusual yet inspiring list. Kala’s Eco House Lesson for young artists in the second grade at Oakland’s Thornhill Elementary sought to bring together environmental science, language arts, and visual art. In three hour-long sessions, students were introduced to concepts of sustainability and encouraged to understand the connection between our choices and their impact on the environment. Employing the “engage and persist” attitude to art making, students are led from brainstorming an idea to practicing image-making techniques like painting. Through the creative process students consider environmental issues and envision solutions that are depicted in images and discussed in text. “What makes your house different? What makes it better for the earth?”
My Eco House, a set of paintings, is the result of this exploration. The images you are seeing are digital reproductions of the original artwork.
Ken Goldberg, Professor
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Ken Goldberg is an inventor working at the intersection of art, robotics, and social media. At UC Berkeley, Ken teaches and supervises research in Robotics, Automation, Art, and New Media. Ken was awarded dual degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania (1984) and MS and PhD degrees from Carnegie Mellon University (1990). He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995 where he is craigslist Distinguished Professor of New Media. He is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, with secondary appointments in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, Art Practice, and the School of Information. Ken also holds an appointment in the UC San Francisco Medical School's Department of Radiation Oncology. Ken has published over 170 peer-reviewed technical papers on algorithms for robotics, automation, and social information filtering; his inventions have been awarded eight US Patents. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), Co-Founder of the African Robotics Network (AFRON), Co-Founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), Co-Founder and CTO of Hybrid Wisdom Labs, Co-Founder of the Moxie Institute, and Founding Director of UC Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Lecture Series.
The Portrait of William Mulholland was part of an installation that included a custom-designed robotic painting machine, large hand-painted images, and several images painted with the robot. All images were from events surrounding the building of the Los Angeles Aqueduct between 1906-13.
As an educator and an engineer, I’m doubly responsible for making things clear. But the art world is about a different mode of presentation—it’s not about explaining. The language of art is essentially silence. As an artist, the hardest thing has been learning how to say less and let a work be self-standing. People want to know, “What were you thinking? Why?” But often a work means less after an artist has spoken. It’s not really up to the artist to say, “This interpretation is right. This is wrong.”
Shinji Nishimoto, Postdoctoral Researcher
Gallant Laboratory, UC Berkeley
Shinji Nishimoto is a postdoctoral researcher in the Gallant laboratory. He is from Japan, and received his PhD from Osaka University. He was originally trained as an engineer before switching to neuroscience.
This video shows an attempt to re-create a movie based on brain activity measured while a single human subject watched the movie. The left clip is a segment of a Hollywood movie trailer that the subject viewed while in the fMRI scanner. The right clip shows the reconstruction of this segment from brain activity measured using fMRI. The procedure is as follows: (1) Record brain activity while the subject watches several hours of movie trailers. (2) Build dictionaries (i.e., regression models) that translate between the shapes, edges and motion in the movies and measured brain activity. A separate dictionary is constructed for each of several thousand points at which brain activity was measured. (For experts: The real advance of this study was the construction of a movie-to-brain activity encoding model that accurately predicts brain activity evoked by arbitrary novel movies.) (3) Record brain activity to a new set of movie trailers that will be used to test the quality of the dictionaries and reconstructions. (4) Build a random library of ~18,000,000 seconds (5000 hours) of video downloaded at random from YouTube. (Note these videos have no overlap with the movies that subjects saw in the magnet). Put each of these clips through the dictionaries to generate predictions of brain activity. Select the 100 clips whose predicted activity is most similar to the observed brain activity. Average these clips together. This is the reconstruction.
Alex Huth, Graduate Student
Gallant Laboratory, UC Berkeley
Alex Huth is a fifth year graduate student in the Gallant laboratory at UC Berkeley. Before coming to Berkeley, Alex earned his undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He is not trained as an artist, but is a devotee of beautiful data, and has read all of Ed Tufte’s books (The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and others).
This display is an interactive tool designed to accompany a recent paper for our lab. It shows which semantic categories activate different parts of the brain when they are present in a visual stimulus. The left pane shows a 3D representation of one subject’s cerebral cortex. This subject was shown 2 hours of Hollywood movie trailers while his brain activity was recorded using fMRI. The right pane shows the 1705 categories of objects and actions that appeared in those movie trailers, organized into a semantic graph. The graph links words according to their super-ordinate categories; for example, dog and cat are connected to mammal. Each category is assigned a color such that categories with similar colors are represented similarly in the brain. Each location on the cortex is assigned a color that shows which categories that location responds to. You can click on a location in the cortex to see how that location responded to each of the 1705 categories. Click on a category in the semantic graph to see which locations in the cortex responded to that category.
Liliane Lijn, Artist
John Vallerga, Research Physicist
Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley
Solar Beacon is a collaboration between the artist Liliane Lijn and the scientist John Vallerga and has been designed and constructed by volunteers from the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL), UC Berkeley. Liliane Lijn is based in London and works in a broad range of materials and media, making extensive use of new technologies to create works that view the world as energy. A constant dialogue between opposites, her sculptures use light and motion to transform themselves from solid to void, opaque to transparent, formal to organic.
John Vallerga, an astrophysicist at SSL, manages the overall Solar Beacon project. His expertise is the development of very sensitive photon detectors for NASA space astronomy missions where he has participated on projects such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the New Horizons mission currently on its way to Pluto. Solar Beacon would not have been completed without the creativity of the Team who designed, fabricated and tested the Heliostats, software, and cellular connections. They include: Patrick Jelinsky, Jason McPhate, Adrian Martin, Greg Dalton, Greg Johnson, Robert Lettieri, Carl Dobson, Joe Tedesco, and Chris Scholz.
Solar Beacon was an art installation on top of the Golden Gate Towers that reflected the Sun’s light throughout the Bay Area, calling attention to the man-made structure’s 75th anniversary using the brightest natural light available. Observers of Solar Beacon saw two points of light, one on each tower top, that were as bright as the Sun, but much smaller in size. Through an online interface, the public scheduled a time-based performance, during which the observed spots of light appeared to turn on and off. It could be seen by anyone in the Bay Area who had a direct view of the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge tower. Solar Beacon acts as a bridge between Sun and Observer, Sky and Earth, Natural and Man-Made. In concept and design it has connected Artist and Scientist as well as Golden Gate Bridge Engineers and Aeronautical Engineers from the Space Sciences Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley. During the 75th Anniversary celebrations and the months that followed, the solar beam directly linked the line of sight between the public and the Bridge they love. We will be displaying not Solar Beacon itself, which requires Sunlight and the Golden Gate Bridge, but rather the two key components that made it work: the Heliostats that directed the beams under computer control. With a knowledge of the exact location of the Sun and Observer at the time of the “appointment”, the software running on computers at Berkeley directed the Heliostat Pan-Tilt mounts to angle the mirrors just right to reflect the Sun to the Observers eyes, and continued to track the Sun during the 5 minute performance. The design of the structure of the mirror panels on the heliostat was inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge and reflects many of the design elements of the bridge towers, including the ratios of the mirror openings and the stepped perimeters. We also used button head screws throughout, that look similar to the rivets used to hold the Bridge together. We picked a gold color for the anodizing of the aluminum panels, to both complement the International Orange of the Bridge, but also as a call out to U.C. Berkeley colors.
Lynette Cook, Artist
A child of the Midwest, Lynette Cook moved South for college, receiving a BS in biology and a BFA in drawing and painting from Mississippi University for Women. After graduating with a MFA from the California College of the Arts (drawing, with a specialization in scientific illustration), she became the staff Artist/Photographer for the Morrison Planetarium and her space career was launched.
Via freelance work and subsequent self-employment she has worked with researchers and science educators at the forefront of scientific discoveries. Among them are Dr. Geoff Marcy, Dr. Frank Drake, and Dr. Debra Fischer. This resulted in worldwide publication of her space images in books, periodicals, documentaries, press releases, and web sites published and produced by Astronomy, BBC Television, CNN, The Discovery Channel, Gemini Observatory, Japan Public Television, NASA, Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American, Time, UCLA, and US News & World Report (a partial list). She also has been featured on ABC7 News (KGO) and in USA Today.
My original space art has been exhibited in many shows, including Stanford, Lick Observatory, the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian, and the Palace of King Dom Manuel in Portugal. Though I was trained traditionally, the field of science illustration moved into the digital age in recent years and I too allowed the magic of the mouse and tablet to direct my imagery. Today, my airbrush is retired and I create my space art on the computer.
16 Cygni B Planet and Moon II
I consulted with Geoff Marcy on these images, as these confirmed exoplanets were discovered by him and his team. I used traditional media, first airbrushing the main color with acrylic airbrush paint and using colored pencil and gouache with a watercolor brush for the detail.
Planet Ingestion in the HD82943 System
These are confirmed exoplanets. I consulted with discoverer Garik Israelian on #3 (Planet Ingestion in the HD82943 System) and Alex Wolszczan on #4 (Pulsar Planets). I used traditional media, first airbrushing the main color w
Roy Caldwell, Professor
Roy Caldwell is Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. An animal behaviorists and marine biologist by training, he has studied the evolution of behavior in a variety of marine organisms ranging from the stomatopod to mantis shrimp to octopus and was involved in the discovery of a new species of Indonesian coelacanth. His research has also monitored the impact human activities such as oil spills and blast fishing on coral reefs and examined ways that destroyed reefs might best be restored.
While I have been taking photographs of marine animals for over 50 years, I usually have been disappointed in my ability to “stop the action” and capture high resolution images of fast moving animals. With the development of modern digital cameras and lighting equipment, it is now possible to freeze the action of even one of the fastest known animal movements, the strike of a mantis shrimp that occurs in less than 2 milliseconds – 50 times faster than the blink of an eye. Now the problem for me as the photographer is no longer stopping the action but rather predicting when and where the behavior being shot is going to occur. This is where my experience working with the animals pays off. Having studied the behavior of stomatopods and cephalopods for many years, I can often anticipate when and where the behavior in question will occur and set up my equipment to capture the image.
Dan Chapman, Senior Artist and Curator
CITRIS Tech Museum, UC Berkeley
Dan is also a member of BMI, Berkeley Manufacturing Institute, a Multi-Disiplinary, Multi-Department team of researchers dedicated to Manufacturing Complete Mechanical and Electrical Products http://bmi.berkeley.edu/
Maurizio Forte, Professor of World Heritage
Director, Virtual Heritage Lab
School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, UC Merced
Maurizio Forte is professor of World Heritage at the University of California, Merced, (School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts) and Director of the Virtual Heritage Lab. He was Chief of Research at CNR (Italian National Research Council) of “Virtual Heritage: integrated digital technologies for knowledge and communication of cultural heritage through virtual reality systems”, Senior Scientist at CNR’s Institute for Technologies Applied to the Cultural Heritage (ITABC), and Professor of "Virtual Environments for Cultural Heritage" in the “Master of Science in Communication Technology-Enhanced Communication for Cultural Heritage”at the University of Lugano. He received his bachelor’s degree in Ancient History (archaeology), and a Diploma of specialization in Archaeology, from the University of Bologna, and his PhD in Archaeology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. He has coordinated archaeological fieldwork and research projects in Italy as well as Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Kazakhstan, Peru, China, Oman, India, Honduras, Turkey, USA and Mexico. He is editor and author of several books including “Virtual Archaeology” (1996), Virtual Reality in Archaeology (2000), “From Space to Place” (2006), “La Villa di Livia. Un percorso di ricerca di archeologia virtual” (2008) and he has written more than 200 scientific papers.
Nicola Lercari, Postdoctoral Researcher
School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, UC Merced
As a scholar in the field of arts, digital media, and humanities, Nicola Lecari is currently focused on interdisciplinary research on serious games, digital archaeology, new media and ICT, focusing his investigation on both academic and artistic projects. His main goal is to explore and develop cross-medial communicative environments for education and museums. His research agenda is driven by a strong interest in serious games, virtual environments, and new media. More specifically, he focuses on remote sensing, serious games interfaces and mechanics, interaction design, and digital storytelling for museums.
Western Han Dynasty: Archaeology@Reality” is a virtual, 3D and interactive exhibit featuring: virtual tombs and artifacts, digital landscapes, and hands-on experiences. The digital exhibit shows a new dimension of archaeology’s future. Showcasing the work of UC Merced Professor Maurizio Forte, the exhibit is organized by UC Merced in collaboration with CITRIS.
The Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) was the first unified and powerful empire in Chinese history and one of the greatest of the world history. The extension of its empire was three times larger than the Roman Empire. Even today, around its ancient capital city Chang’An, the modern Xi’an laid the sacred lands of emperors where the landscape is shaped by imperial mounds of the ancient mausoleums.
American, Italian and Chinese institutions are coordinating a multidisciplinary international research project concerning the reconstruction of this period using advanced technologies, such as laser scanning, virtual reality, remote sensing and 3D modeling. The initial results from of the project are highlighted in this exhibit, which constitutes an overview of digital applications and virtual simulations:, including 3D tombs, artifacts, landscape reconstructions and architectural models. All of this will be interactive and accessible for the first time. Two monumental Han tombs – no longer accessible after the excavation – are scientifically and virtually reconstructed in this exhibit through an immersive and collaborative system.
Bernie Peyton, Origami Artist and Wildlife Biologist
Bernie Peyton received his BA at Harvard University, MS at University of Montana, and PhD at the University of California Berkeley. From 1977 to 1985 he studied spectacled bears in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Later (1988-1995) he worked on endangered kangaroo rat populations in the San Joaquin Valley, California. During this time he co-chaired the IUCN/SSC Bear Specialist Group (1992-1998), and was an editor and author of its action plan to manage the world’s eight bear species.
He recently switched back to art, a career he had when he graduated from college. When Bernie was 9 years old his step-father Robert Olney gave him Isao Honda’s book on origami. Thus began 50+ years of folding enjoyment. In late 1998, he began designing his own creations in paper. He attributes the years he spent observing wildlife as a rich reservoir to tap for this purpose.
Most origami designers focus their attention on the edges of the paper. I became enamored with seeing how much behavior of a subject could be twisted out of the paper’s middle. This is a world of curved surfaces and folds that go “somewhere about here” because it looks “right”, not because the folds line up with each other. So what do I do with the paper edges? I fold them over to show the color on the reverse side.