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UA Faculty Will Present "Astrobiology and the Arts" Sept. 19-20
University of Arizona scientists, artists, actors, dancers and musicians will present a symposium and concert program titled "Astrobiology and the Arts" on campus Sept. 19 and 20. Both events will be held at the Stevie Eller Dance Theater, 1737 E. University Blvd. They are free and open to the public.
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe.
UA scientists in astronomy, chemistry, biology and geology have been collaborating to understand the nature of life in a cosmic context for the past several years. UA became a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute in 2003, and the Arizona Board of Regents approved the university's astrobiology center, called LaPLACE, in 2005.
UA arts, humanities and social sciences scholars began adding their creative and philosophical perspective on the implications of life beyond Earth in 2004, when The University of Arizona was selected as one of two institutions among 200 that competed worldwide for a coveted Templeton Foundation grant. The grant supports UA's "Astrobiology and the Sacred" project.
UA faculty will present their insights and reflections on the idea that we humans may not be the only sentient creatures in the universe in the two-day program.
The symposium schedule for Wednesday, Sept. 19:
-- 1 p.m., "Astrobiology and the Visual Arts," Richard L. Poss, astronomy
-- 1:30 p.m., "Aliens and Ambivalence in Visual Culture: A Threshold for Spiritual Connection?" Paul E. Ivey, School of Art
-- 2 p.m., "Allegories of Space and Death," Homer B. Pettey, School of Media Arts
-- 2:30 p.m.,"Finding Space: Archives, NASA, and the Moving Image," Jennifer L. Jenkins, School of Media Arts
-- 3 p.m., "Awe and Inspiration: the Artist's Inquiry into the Large," Rick Wamer, School of Dance
-- 3:30 p.m., "Anatomy of a Visitation," fiction reading by Jennifer Rea of Indianapolis, Ind., winner of UA's Astrobiology and the Sacred fiction contest.
-- 7 p.m., "How Strange Could Life Be?" Chris Impey, astronomy, who leads the Astrobiology and the Sacred project.
-- 8 p.m., panel discussion featuring art historian Paul Ivey, LaPLACE Director and Steward Observatory astronomer Neville Woolf, Jennifer Jenkins of the media arts faculty, and Steward Observatory astronomer Chris Impey.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20. Performances include:
-- "Ceili" and "Northern Lights," performed by HarpFusion, the largest touring harp ensemble in the world, with Carrol McLaughlin directing.
-- "Astrobiology and the Ocean of Life," a multi-media presentation by Richard Poss, astronomy --- "Fire of Life," Rick Wamer, School of Dance
-- "Pointing Out Your Ruse," a 2005 work commissioned by the Astrobiology and the Arts program and composed by UA faculty member Craig Walsh. The piece was written for -- and will be performed by -- violinist Mark Rush and percussionist Norman Weinberg of the UA School of Music.
-- "Evolution," Rick Wamer, School of Dance
The symposium and concert are sponsored by the Astrobiology and the Arts program with funding from the Provost's Office, funding from the Templeton Foundation "Astrobiology and the Sacred" project, the astronomy department, the School of Dance, the College of Fine Arts and the College of Science.