LASER Talks | LAST Festival


Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvouz (LASERs)

An international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience.

The LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series was started by cultural historian Piero Scaruffi in January 2008 as a local forum for presenting art and science projects underway in the Bay Area. The Bay Area LASERs now alternate between San Francisco (at USF), Silicon Valley (at Stanford University) and the East Bay (at UC Berkeley). Sister series, coordinated by Leonardo ISAST, were started in 2010 in Washington DC (chaired by JD Talasek at the National Academy of Sciences), in January 2013 in Los Angeles (chaired by Victoria Vesna at UCLA), in October 2013 in Santa Cruz (chaired by John Weber at UCSC) and in Sacramento (chaired by Anna Davidson at UC Davis), and in February 2014 in London at the University of Westminster (chaired by Heather Barnett) and in March 2014 at the Umlauf Museum in Austin, Texas (chaired by JD Talasek).


The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

Each evening, in a casual academic setting, free of charge and open to the public, presents up to four artists, scientists, philosophers, historians, inventors and scholars who are working on paradigm shifts. Each evening also allows the audience to socialize and encourages people in the audience to briefly introduce their work.

Sample videos of LASER talks (more can be found here).

Linear Algebra - the incredible beauty of maths 

Prof. Margot Gerritsen, computational mathematician

Ambient Music

Robert Rich, ambient electronic music composer

The Search of Extraterrestrial Life

Dr. Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist at NASA

Music and Brain 

Indre Viskontas, PhD, neuroscientist and operatic soprano

Computer Image Analysis of Parmigianino's "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror" and of Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring"

David Stork, PhD, inventor

What role does Quantum Mechanics play in Biology?

Prof. Birgitta Whaley, chemist and quantum biologist