Sunday, March 29, 2015

[Yasmin_discussions] your moderator this week


I am taking over from Guillermo in Valencia, Spain as your yasmin

if you are new to the YASMIN list please send us a short email introducing
yourself- when you walk into your community you shake hands dont you ?

guillermo and i thought we would moderate a discussion around Light
and the City- hope you will join in

here is my first post for reaction on the YASMIN discussion list


When yasmin moderator Guillermo Munoz, a nano scientist
in Valencia, Spain suggested we do a Yasmin discussion
around the topic of light I was initially skeptical. There seems to
be day or year of everything these days. But then he said in
passing : "light is my business" and it got me thinking. Indeed as an
astronomer "light is my business" because today the only way we
know anything about the universe is by detecting and manipulating
light. ( we have been trying to detect gravity waves, neutrinos, dark
matter and dark energy but have been failing)

The ironic thing is most things in the universe don't emit light at all.
Dark Energy and Dark Matter don't emit light and they are 97% of the
content of the universe. Astronomers have just been studying the
decoration on the universe ( its as if you told a ethnographer they could
study human nature and human societies but they could only study
humans who lived on snow or ice).

And then humans cant detect most kinds of light ( only a narrow band
around visible light)- whoever designed human beings did it badly
-if you really wanted to design humans to understand the universe
they would have infrared, radio and xray eyes too-and those gravity
waves are SUBLIME !!

Perhaps its amazing how much we understand by studying the decoration !

I look forward to Guillermo's comments as a nano scientist .

And then - for visual artists, light is their business too !

Anyway we thought we would have this discussion on yasmin- knowing
that it rapidly could become banal and un-productive

Guillermo is helping organise the 2nd Art, Science, City International
Conference 201
in Valencia this coming October with Light and the City as the theme and
where he will organise a YASMIN meeting-contact
him if you would like to attend !

As an astronomer of course Light and the City makes me think of the problem
of light pollution. Humans are stupid - city lighting emits a large
fraction of our
energy into the sky un=necessarily and not where we need it= cut your
carbon foot print by designing
better city and home lighting !

By coincidence in Dallas I had the visit of south african artist
Marcus Neustetter.
he has this amazing public art project with the South African Large Telescope

Because of the needs of the observatory the local community in Sutherland
has to avoid light and radio pollution ( South Africa will soon be hosting the
largest radio telescope in the work; SKA
the Square Kilometer Telescope Array ) and in his talks he discussed
the social practice he has developed with the local town of 800 people.

Among other things they have build their own 'observatory' next to the
scientists telescopes:

This project is an excellent example of an art-science project that is
based on socially engaged practice and public art. I will be asking Marcus to
make a comment for our discussion

guillermo I hope you will inject your thoughts as a nano scientist !

Roger Malina
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