Best of LASER (Leonardo Art & Science Evening Rendezvous) at the MAH, March 13

Image Credit: Rita Mehta
Image Credit: Rita Mehta
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Museum of Art and History (MAH) 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz

On March 13, The Institute of the Arts and Sciences will presents:

Best of LASER
Celebrating 5 Years of Leonardo Art & Science Evening Rendezvous at UC Santa Cruz

Leonardo Art & Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) is an international program of evening gatherings that bring artists, scientists, and scholars together for informal presentations and conversations. For this Best of LASER, the IAS has invited back crowd favorites from the last five years of events and will feature presentations by evolutionary (paleo) biologist Beth Shapiro, glaciologist Slawek Tulaczyk, director and filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, and evolutionary marine biologist Rita Mehta.

March 13, 2018
6:30 p.m. Wine reception
7 p.m. Program

Museum of Art and History
705 Front Street

This event is presented as part of the international LASER series initiated by the Leonardo International Society for Art, Science, and Technology.


Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist whose work has been centered on an anaylsis of ancient DNA and the genetics of ice age animals and plants. Shapiro is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She was awarded a MacArthur “genius” fellowship in 2009 and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2006.

Slawek Tulaczyk is Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America since 2010. He has authored and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications focused ice sheet and glacier dynamics, permafrost properties, and polar microbial habitats. His research has been funded by NSF, NASA, and DoE. He co-led the multidisciplinary research project WISSARD, which returned the first water and sediment samples from a pristine subglacial lake trapped beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Cumulatively, Slawek spent nearly 3 years doing field work in Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Arctic Canada. In 2006 the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names named after him a mountain glacier on the highest mountain in Antarctica, the Vinson Massif. 

Dee Hibbert-Jones is a Professor of Art & New Media at UC Santa Cruz. Her work incorporates animation, installation, public art, and documentary film to examine power and politics. Her recent film, Last Day of Freedom (created in collaboration with Nomi Taslisman), was nominated for an Oscar and won multiple awards, including the International Documentary Association's Best Short Film of 2015; Best Short Film at Full Frame Documentary Festival, and the Filmmaker Award from the Center for Documentary Studies, among many others. Hibbert-Jones is a Guggenheim Fellow, and she was recently awarded a United States Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award in recognition of her outstanding national commitment to civil rights and social justice. 

Rita Mehta is Associate Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. Her research explores morphological, physiological, and behavioral evolution. Mehta focuses on the mechanisms guiding diversification in vertebrate clades whose members have evolved an elongate and limb-reduced (or complete loss) body plan such as snakes, anguilliform fishes, and other eel-like vertebrates. Mehta has received honors, awards and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Division of Comparative Biomechanics of the Society for the Study of Integrative and Comparative Biology, and the Association for the Study of American University Women.