Art and science have long enjoyed a fruitful partnership (da Vinci, anyone?) and Lavin’s speakers are no exception to the rule. In light of the release of physicist and writer Alan Lightman’s latest novel, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, we rounded up three of our speakers whose work brings together science and the humanities in creative, disruptive, and surprisingly beautiful ways.
Alan Lightman – Theoretical Physics and Fiction
The Guardian says that Lightman’s new novel “is full of insight into some of the mysteries of the physical world, as well as the physics of mystery.” As a speaker, too, Lightman bridges the gap between the worlds of art, the humanities, and science, and is an internationally recognized thinker on the meaning of science for understanding ourselves. He speaks elegantly about creative and scientific processes; the role of intuition and imagination; the meeting of science and faith; and the wonder and fragility of human nature.
David Kong – Translating Microbes into Music
At the MIT Media Lab, David Kong is a passionate, brilliant exponent of biotechnology: the next major scientific innovation to transform life as we know it. Kong also works to ‘culture hack’ biotech’s limited public perception, and connect the discipline with diverse cultural languages—like hip-hop. His ‘Biota Beats’ project uses a microbial record player to translate microbes from the human body into music (he’s even sampled DJ Jazzy Jeff’s unique makeup).
Margot Lee Shetterly – STEM on the Screen
Hidden Figures—a #1 New York Times bestseller and inspiration for a #1 movie—is the true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. In talks, Shetterly celebrates these unsung heroes, teasing out issues of race, gender, science, and innovation against the backdrop of WWII and the Civil Rights Era.