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Exploring the Link between Science and Art

The 6th annual MU Life Sciences and Society Symposium will take place in March; former record producer will discuss how the human brain interprets music.

Feb. 23, 2010

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430

Daniel Levitin will present "This is Your Brain on Music" at the sixth annual MU Life Sciences and Society symposium.

Daniel Levitin will present "This is Your Brain on Music" at the sixth annual MU Life Sciences and Society symposium.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Often thought of as separate and contradictory disciplines, arts and sciences do intersect in a variety of ways. The sixth annual University of Missouri Life Sciences and Society Symposium, “From Art to Biology and Back Again,” will explore these intersections between the creative arts and sciences.

“The symposium will explore through both art and science why humans are interested in art,” said Stefani Engelstein, director of Life Sciences and Society Program. “The speakers will talk about why humans participate in art, what happens in the brain when we create or perceive art, and how art ‘comments’ on science, with plenty of time for questions and discussion from the audience.”

The symposium features eight international experts who will explore, during lectures and panel discussions, the anthropological origins of art, how biological responses play into humans’ views and understanding of art, and how art helps people better understand science. Topics will range from the bioengineering of a glow-in-the-dark rabbit as art to the function of art in the human evolutionary process.

Daniel Levitin, the keynote speaker of the symposium, is a record producer, musician, cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist and writer. He will present “This is your Brain on Music,” at 7 p.m., Friday, March 12 in Jesse Auditorium on the MU campus. Levitin will explore topics such as how the brain interprets music, why people become musical experts, and how music affects our emotions.

Before returning to school to obtain a doctorate, Levitin produced albums and was a sound designer for artists such as Blue Oyster Cult. He was a consultant for Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder and a recording engineer for Santana and the Grateful Dead.  Now a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, he is the bestselling author of the book, “This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession” and “The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.”

The keynote address will take place in Jesse Hall and the remaining talks in the Bond Life Sciences Center.

 Life Sciences and Society Program

From Art to Biology and Back Again

SCHEDULE

 

Thursday, March 4

“Art and Human Nature”

2 p.m.

Colonnade, Ellis Library

Speaker: Carsten Strathausen, Chair, Department of German and Russian studies.

 

Tuesday, March 9

“A Knock on the Door” – An interactive theater piece that explores the gender dynamics of a fictional faculty search.

2 p.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Mizzou ADVANCE Interactive Theatre Troupe

 

“This Historical Position of Literary Darwinism”

3:30 p.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Joseph Carroll, University of Missouri – St. Louis

 

Friday, March 12

“This is Your Brain on Music”

7 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall

Speaker: Daniel Levitin

 

Saturday, March 13

“The Arts in Human Evolution: the Artification Hypothesis”

10 a.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Ellen Dissanayake

 

“Dialogue with the ancestors: The arts, anticipation and cultural change”

11:05 a.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Kathryn Coe

 

“Critical Art Practice in the Era of Biological Citizenship”

1:30 p.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Lisa Cartwright

 

“BioArt”

2:35 p.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Eduardo Kac

 

Panel Discussion

3:40 p.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speakers: Ellen Dissanayake, Kathryn Coe, Lisa Cartwright and Eduardo Kac

 

Sunday, March 14

“Quality versus Speed: What Neuroarthistory Teaches Us about
 the Importance of Unconscious Mental Formation”

8:45 a.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: John Onians

 

“Whatever Happened to Selective Attention?”

9:50 a.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Barbara Maria Stafford

 

“(Re:) Visualizing Bioscience – Re-Picturing Art”

11:15 a.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speaker: Patricia Olynyk

 

Panel Discussion

12:20 p.m.

Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center

Speakers: John Onians, Barbara Stafford and Patricia Olynyk

 

Exhibits:

“Connecting with Contemporary Sculpture

Through March 16

Museum of Art and Archaeology

 

“Anatomical Illustration: Art Informing Science: 1543-1950”

March 3 – March 26

Ellis Library

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