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Tonight: Speed dating for artists and scientists

LASER poster

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In 2005, Cheryl Goldsleger, Augusta University’s William S. Morris Eminent Scholar in Art, had an exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington. When she returned for another exhibition in 2013, the academy had started a program called DC Art and Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER). Goldsleger was interested, and a seed was planted.

One of the responsibilities of the Morris Eminent Scholar is to bring individuals from outside the campus community onto campus to give lectures.

When Goldsleger accepted her position as Morris Eminent Scholar, she remembered DASER.

“Knowing the university had recently merged, I thought it might be interesting to bring J.D. Talasek, cultural director at the National Academy of Sciences, to campus to speak about cultural programming within a science environment and moderate a LASER-type event on our campus,” she said.

There was only one problem. Goldsleger was new to campus and had no idea what the theme should be or which faculty members should be included in a panel discussion.

She turned to Scott Thorp, chair of the Department of Art, for assistance. They met with Dr. Gretchen Caughman, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Dr. Michael Diamond, senior vice president for research. The team decided the theme of the event would be on the influence of 3-D technology on visual arts and medicine.

They also invited three panelists, in addition to Goldsleger, to participate. Dr. Michael Schwartz, art history professor; Dr. Amanda Behr, interim chair and program director, Medical Illustration, and clinic director, Clinic for Prosthetic Restoration, Dr. Charles Clark, dean of the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and Dr. Paul Weinberger, director of research in the Department of Otolaryngology, all agreed to be a part of the event.

Goldsleger approached Talasek with her idea.

“He was enthusiastic that we could find this synergy right here on campus,” Goldsleger said. “He was excited to come and moderate a panel discussion.”

Talasek suggested Goldsleger submit a proposal to Leonardo/The International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) to host a LASER event at Augusta University.

DASER is affiliated with Leonardo/ISAST, a nonprofit organization serving a global network of distinguished scholars, artists, scientists, researchers and thinkers through programs focused on interdisciplinary work, creative output and innovation. Similar to DASER, Leonardo/ISAST has LASERS, Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous.

“I started looking up LASER and realized there was an incredible international network of institutions that do these presentations on a regular basis,” Goldsleger said.

Leonardo/ISAST agreed to let Goldsleger and the Department of Art host the inaugural LASER event for the southeastern region of the U.S.

“This is a big deal,” Goldsleger said. “Top schools in the country host LASER events, including University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.”

Goldsleger hopes the event fosters discussion between the art and science communities.

“The idea for this LASER is to get people to start talking and realize both campuses are active and we share common ground and common interests,” she said. “It may be in different ways and through different approaches, but we still have something in common. Two vital communities became one through the merger.”

In addition to a panel discussion moderated by Talasek, the event will include a meet-and-greet where attendees can explain their use of 3-D technology, and learn about how others use it.

Goldsleger believes attendees will see ways in which education can be improved through the development of physical models. She is also interested to learn about the ways in which researchers are using 3-D printers and how the medium has impacted their research.

She describes the event as “speed dating for artists and scientists.”

Augusta’s inaugural LASER event will be at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 16, in the J. Harold Harrison Education Commons. A reception will follow the event. For more information, contact Carol Cross at chcross@gru.edu.

About the author

Brennan Meagher

Brennan Meagher is a communications coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her at 706-446-4806 or bmeagher@augusta.edu.