Windhover – a Sanctuary, a Discovery, and a Soaring Spirit

November 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

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The Windhover Diptych through the glass wall of the building. Photo by Matthew Millman.

It has been a rough month.  Just when the Windhover is sorely needed.

I stumbled upon the Windhover Contemplative Center at Stanford on a stroll through campus 2-3 years ago, when it was still under construction.  Intrigued, I made a mental note to visit, but did not have a chance to do so until last Thursday, thanks to a faculty friend who accompanied me in.

I discovered not only a poetically restorative sanctuary, but also the stunning artworks by Nathan Oliveira, Prof. of Studio Art at the School until his passing in 2010; as well as the inspirational story of the space’s very creation. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Picture, I – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

April 4, 2016 § 3 Comments

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond

By Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, for Davos 2016

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Excerpts:

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. … « Read the rest of this entry »

Haute Couture et Nature Sublime. Magnified and Magnifique.

August 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

August is for vacation.

Also for photography!

As I gather my gear for some amateur photo action on my upcoming holiday in the Caribbean, I would like to leave you, in this month’s newsletter, with three amazing bodies of photography works I recently came across, from three ingenious photographers around the world:


Fashion and Nature

Valentino pre-fall 2015 | "Pillars of Creation" through the eyes of Hubble telescope (photo by NASA)

Valentino pre-fall 2015 | “Pillars of Creation” through the eyes of Hubble telescope (photo by NASA).  Pairing by Liliya Hudyakova.

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“Science In Surrealism” At Gallery Wendi Norris In San Francisco Explores The Scientific Influences Of This Avant-Garde Movement

July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

By Joe Ferguson for SciArt in America

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Victor Brauner, “Indicateur de l’Éspace,” c. 1934. Oil on canvas 17 7/8 x 21 3/8 inches (55.8 x 54.3 cm)


The term SciArt may have been coined in the 1980s, but the intermingling of science and art is much older. Early Greek statuary portrayed anatomy in representations that could have only come from careful examination. Italian Renaissance painters practiced human dissection as early at the 15th century. Many French impressionists explored the latest discoveries of visual science in their paintings. One movement, however, is rarely talked about–the surrealist painters and the influence of early 20th-century physicists. « Read the rest of this entry »

October 8, 2014 “Blood Moon” in Stunning Photos

October 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Starwatchers across the Americas, East Asia and Australia were treated to a spectacular total lunar eclipse today, and astrophotographers captured stunning photos of the “Blood Moon”, nicknamed such due to the coppery, reddish color the moon takes as it passes into Earth’s shadow.

This phenomenon was the second this year, after its first appearance on April 15.  There will be two more Blood Moon showings in 2015, on April 4 and September 28, respectively, making it a rare tetrad.

美洲、东亚和澳大利亚的天文爱好者们今天尽享到月全食的盛景,由于在进入地球的影子里时反映太阳在大气中的光线放射,平时清亮银色的月亮, 变成了铜红色,被昵称为“红月亮”或“血月亮”。 这里是各国天文摄影者拍摄的精彩照片。

这一现象是今年的第二次,4月15日曾经发生过一次。明年2015年的4月4日和9月28日“血月亮”还会有两次亮相,这一连四次的罕见事件被天文学家们称为“血月亮四分体“。

The Physics of Jazz and “Here Comes Now”

August 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

By day, Dr. Stephon Alexander, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, is a theoretical physicist specializing in the interface between cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity.  By night, he “blows sax”.  Born in Trinidad and raised in Bronx, NY,  Alexander draws music heritage from Jazz,  Caribbean Reggae and Hip Hop.   His ambition in science is big – to unify quantum theory, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and string theory, which have fascinated him since childhood, into a theory of quantum gravity!  When he gets stuck, he turns to music like Einstein used to do, except his instrument for relaxation and subconscious realization is the tenor saxophone, instead of violin and piano.

“Exploring a physics problem is like jazz improvisation—understanding the basic rules and themes lets you take off in spontaneous new directions. Music allows me to understand physics on a simpler, yet deeper level.”

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Life is a Braid in Spacetime

February 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

How to see yourself in a world where only math is real

By Max Tegmark, Illustration by Chad Hagen. Originally published on Nautilus, January 9, 2014

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“Excuse me, but what’s the time?” I’m guessing that you, like me, are guilty of having asked this question, as if it were obvious that there is such a thing as the time. Yet you’ve probably never approached a stranger and asked “Excuse me, but what’s the place?”. If you were hopelessly lost, you’d probably instead have said something like “Excuse me, but where am I?” thereby acknowledging that you’re not asking about a property of space, but rather about a property of yourself. Similarly, when you ask for the time, you’re not really asking about a property of time, but rather about your location in time.

But that is not how we usually think about it. Our language reveals how differently we think of space and time: The first as a static stage, and the second as something flowing. Despite our intuition, however, the flow of time is an illusion. Einstein taught us that there are two equivalent ways of thinking about our physical reality: Either as a three-dimensional place called space, where things change over time, or as a four-dimensional place called spacetime that simply exists, unchanging, never created, and never destroyed.

I think of the two viewpoints as the different perspectives on reality that a frog and a bird might take. The bird surveys the landscape of reality from high “above,” akin to a physicist studying the mathematical structure of spacetime as described by the equations of physics. The frog, on the other hand, lives inside the landscape surveyed by the bird. Looking up at the moon over time, the frog sees something like the right panel in the figure, “The Moon’s Orbit”: Five snapshots of space with the Moon in different positions each time. But the bird sees an unchanging spiral shape in spacetime, as shown in the left panel.

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