[ASC-list] Margaret Wertheim at Sydney Uni, Templeton Lecture, 18 March

Ian ianw2 at exemail.com.au
Mon Feb 25 00:09:10 UTC 2013

ASCers in Sydney might be interested in this free, public talk (see below).

FYI, the annual Templeton lecture is funded by Charles Birch who won the
Templeton Prize (and who used the money to fund the annual lecture and other

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Sent: Sunday, 24 February 2013 8:24 PM
Subject: [CHAST] 18 March, Templeton Lecture by Margaret Wertheim

The 2013 Templeton Lecture, "WE ARE ALL POLYPS NOW: A meditation on art,
science and collectivity in the age of global warming" by Margaret Wertheim,
science writer and curator.

6:30pm, Monday 18 March, 2013

Eastern Ave Auditorium, University of Sydney.
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/8ZSzU

Open to all, no bookings. Free admission.

Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted science writer and exhibition
curator whose work focuses on the relations between science and the wider
cultural landscape.

She is the author of three books on with the cultural history of physics:
Pythagoras' Trousers, a history of the relationship between physics and
religion (Times Books/W.W. Norton paperback); The Pearly Gates of
Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet (W.W. Norton), and
Physics on the Fringe, which explores the phenomenon of "outsider science"
(Walker & Co). 

Margaret has a B.Sc. in physics (University of Queensland) and a B.A. in
mathematics and computer science (University of Sydney). As a journalist,
she has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Sciences, New
Scientist, The Guardian and many other publications. From 2000-2005 she
wrote the "Quark Soup" science column for the LA Weekly, sister paper to the
Village Voice, and is a contributing editor for Cabinet, the renowned arts
and culture quarterly. Wertheim has contributed essays to scholarly
anthologies including Architecture of Fear (Princeton University Press),
Prefiguring Cyberspace (MIT Press) and The Quick and the Dead (Walker Arts
Center). Her work was included in Best American Science Writing (2003). In
2006 Wertheim won the excellence in journalism award from the American
Institute of Biological Sciences and in 2004 she was the US National Science
Foundation's visiting journalist to Antarctica. Her ABC television science
series Catalyst (aimed at teenage girls), won prizes around the world. For
ten years in Australia, Margaret wrote regular columns about science for
women's magazines, including Vogue Australia and Elle Australia. She may be
the only journalist in the world to have held such a position.

Wertheim has lectured widely at universities and colleges across America and
abroad - including Harvard, Tufts, Oxford, University of Oslo, University of
Sydney, Princeton Theological Seminary, Rutgers, Cornell and Goldsmiths
College. She has been a keynote speaker at the International Design
Conference Aspen, the "Sacred Space" conference at the Ecclesiastical
Academy Tutzing (Germany), the Royal Australian Institute of Architects,
South African Science Week, and the Tate Modern. She has curated science
discussion series at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and the Los
Angeles Public Library. In 2012 Wertheim served as the first Discovery
Fellow at the University of Southern California Libraries. Here, she
designed participatory programming that engaged students across campus from
the arts, sciences, humanities and engineering faculties. A highlight of the
fellowship was a campus-wide project to build a three-dimensional fractal
sculpture out of 50,000 business cards. This unique community experiment at
the intersection of art + maths was a collaboration with engineer Dr.
Jeannine Mosely. 

In 2003, Margaret and her twin sister Christine founded the Institute For
Figuring, a Los Angeles-based organization devoted to public engagement with
the aesthetic and poetic dimensions of science and mathematics.
(www.theiff.org) The IFF hosts lectures, curates exhibitions, publishes
books and maintains an extensive website. Through the IFF, Margaret and
Christine, have designed exhibitions for galleries and museums around the
world, including Machine Project (Los Angeles), Art Center College of Design
(Pasadena), and the Hayward Gallery (London).

The IFF's "Crochet Coral Reef" project is now perhaps the largest science +
art endeavor in the world. It has been shown at the Andy Warhol Museum
(Pittsburgh), the Chicago Cultural Center, the Science Gallery (Dublin), the
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York), the Smithsonian
Institution's National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC), and
elsewhere. Through an unlikely conjunction of art, geometry and handicraft,
the Crochet Coral Reef project addresses global warming by engaging people
in participatory, hands-on, informal science education. The project has
inspired communities throughout the USA, the UK, Australia, Latvia, Ireland,
Norway, Croatia, Germany, Denmark, South Africa and the Middle East. In 2009
Margaret spoke about the Crochet Reef project at the TED Conference. For
this work Margaret and Christine were granted the 2011 Theo Westenberger
Award for Women of Excellence from the Autry National Center, an honor given
to a living female artist.

In an age of climate-change denial, humanity urgently needs positive ways to
help us face up to global warming. No ecosystems are more vulnerable than
coral reefs, and in these fragile marvels we may find a metaphor for hope.
Coral reefs are made up from millions of tiny coral polyps. Each polyp is
insignificant on its own, yet when acting collectively these minute sessile
creatures collectively produce the spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef, the
only organism that can be seen from outer space. In 2005, twin sisters
Christine and Margaret Wertheim began to crochet a coral reef in their Los
Angeles living room. Inspired by the action of living reefs, the sisters
envisioned their project as a collaborative endeavour that would fuse
environmentalism, marine science, handicraft and community art practice.
Today the Crochet Coral Reef is perhaps the largest art + science endeavour
on the planet. More than 25 reefs have been crocheted around the world,
including in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Latvia, Germany
and Ireland. Tens of thousands of people have participated in making local
reefs and more than 3 million visitors have seen the resulting exhibitions.
The project has been called, "the AIDS quilt of global warming." Within the
framework of the Crochet Coral Reef project, people are invited into a
process that mimics nature itself. Through participatory experience, a
profound lesson is conveyed: While none of us as individuals can solve the
problem of global warming, collectively we have the power to sustain a
better and healthier world.

CHAST is the Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology, at Sydney
University, see

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