Date: Saturday October 24, 2015
Time: 8pm
Location: Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (map)

Books on the Move: #Bibliomigrancy

Summary: How did the Epic of Gilgamesh—which the Sumerians read on stone tablets 2000 years ago—end up on your electronic tablet? How do books travel? How do they become vessels of stories and migrate from one part of the world another? How do they find shelf space in libraries of new readers? How are our perceptions of books and libraries “coded” and “recoded” through history? Care about these questions? Come listen to one of your Area Book Nerds. Don’t care? You are still welcome.

Presenter bio: B. Venkat Mani is Professor of German at UW-Madison. He co-directs UW-Madison’s Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Bibliomigrancy: World Literature in the Public Sphere.” He spent a year recently at the German National Library as an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Fellow. His first book, Cosmpolitical Claims (University of Iowa Press, 2007) was on migration of human beings and literature. His forthcoming book, Recoding World Literature (Fordham University Press, 2016) is about migration of books. His bucket list consists of pilgrimages to libraries around the world. He judges books by their covers and cities by their public libraries.


The Physics of Color

Summary: Unless we are colorblind, as soon as we look at something, we know what color it is. Simple, isn’t it? No, not really. The color we see is rarely just determined by the physical color, that is, the wavelength of visible light associated with that color. Other factors, such as the brightness surrounding a certain color, or the illuminating light affect our perception of that color. Most striking, and useful, is understanding how the retina and the brain work together to interpret the color we see, and how they can be fooled by additive color mixing, which makes it possible to have color screens and displays. Pupa will show the physical origin of all these phenomena and give live demos as she will tell us how they work. Bring your own eyes!

Presenter bio: Pupa Gilbert is a professor of physics at UW-Madison, who studies biominerals, including seashells, sea urchin spines and teeth, corals, and eggshells. She likes to figure out how they are formed by living organisms who master physics and chemistry. She lives in Madison and Berkeley, teaches “physics in the arts”, likes to travel and collect biominerals, to do experiments at the synchrotron, and to make wine.


From Filter Bubbles to NBIC Technologies: Why it’s easier and easier to be wrong about science, and what we can do about it

Summary: We live in a world in which it is possible for citizens to access more (scientific) information with less effort than ever before. At the same time, politically divided news environments have created a world of filter bubbles and echo chambers that allow us to only hear what we already believe in. What are the effects of these new news environments on our democracy? And why are we as a country less equipped than ever before to debate controversial issues with each other in a civil fashion? This talk will explore some of these questions and what the latest research tells us about causes and possible solutions.

Presenter bio: Dietram A. Scheufele is the John E. Ross Professor in Science Communication and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Honorary Professor of Communication at the Dresden University of Technology (Germany). He currently also co-chairs the National Academies’ Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences. Scheufele’s deals with the interface of media, policy and public opinion. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, and a member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering. His consulting experience includes work for PBS, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank.