We've done four Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous events this year, known as LASERs. They've featured excellent speakers from on and off campus, and we have been gratified by strong audience turnouts, including several cases where we had to scramble to add chairs at the last minute after putting out what we thought was a generous number. Conceptualized and first organized by Piero Scaruffi at Stanford, LASERs are conceived as a way to attract audiences for the arts and sciences that would not normally mix. It turns out that inviting an eclectic combination of artists and scientists to speak at the same time brings in an equally eclectic audience. You get the people who go to art talks, and you get the people who go to science talks. Some of those groups overlap, but not as much as we might hope. LASERs get them both, or at least they are here at UC Santa Cruz. We've had the pleasure of hearing from members of our own brilliant faculty, from some accomplished UCSC graduates who have gone on to stellar careers, and from a number of terrific off campus speakers. What has been the most exciting for me, personally, has been watching the LASERs spark interactions on campus by people in different departments, allowing them to find each other and make connections that have already led to new collaborations. That's a key goal of the Institute, and it's already happening.
Our next LASER is on April 8, with the amazing Pamela Z coming down from San Francisco, and the equally amazing (but in a different way!) Jenny Reardon from UC Santa Cruz, plus two more speakers we are finalizing now. As always, we will be in the DARC 108 room, with refreshments at 6:45 and the program at 7pm.