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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

LASER event to bring fusion of art, science to Davis

 On Dec. 2, the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program will host a Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous, known as a LASER event. Consisting of four professional speakers commenting on their work, all of which generally fall on the intersection of art and science, this event will cover topics ranging from entomology and ecology to landscape art.

LASER events have previously occurred at institutions such as the University of San Francisco, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz over the last 10 years. However, this will be the first series of LASER events to take place in UC Davis.

Anna Davidson, a PhD student in the department of plant sciences and moderator and organizer of UC Davis LASER events said that LASERs attempt to showcase a diverse set of topics and contemporary issues.

LASER is a program established by Leonardo: The International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology. Leonardo, which began as a journal published by MIT press in the late 60s, is the longest standing advocate for the fusion of arts, science and technology. LASER events were created in recent years to help foster one of Leonardo’s main goals.

“The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of the Bay Area/Davis area and to foster interdisciplinary networking with an emphasis on art and science,” Davidson said.

James Crutchfield, an employee of the physics department at UC Davis with particular interest in interdisciplinary science and a former board member at Leonardo, remarked on the importance of increased interest in science and art fusion.

“The question is why should there be this sort of seamless separation between two cultures?” Crutchfield said. “The most constructive thing about bringing arts and science is that people have a very different perspective. Those perspectives often give a unique view on contemporary problems.”

With the large turnout and success of the first of the LASER events Davidson, and the UC Davis Art Science Fusion program are excited to make LASERs part of the Davis community.

Donna Billick, cofounder of the UC Davis Art and Science Fusion program, feels that LASER event have an important function within the UC Davis community.

“Cross discipline activities are stimulating, build relationships and networks that would never be possible any other way,” Billick said in an email. “It reveals creative thinking, creative confidence and literacy,”

The LASER event will take place in Plant and Environmental Sciences 3001 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event also allots time for networking before and after the actual presentations that begin at 7 p.m. Entrance is free.

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