Evnin Lecture at Princeton
Two days at Princeton left me energized and inspired by the work of Naomi Leonard, Rebecca Lazier, Susan Marshall and others. I was invited to give the Evnin Lecture, an annual event "established with a gift from Anthony B. Evnin '62 to promote a broader and deeper understanding of the critical roles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in all aspects of human endeavor. Since 1991, [the Evnin Lecture] has invited luminaries in the fields of STEM and science communication to explore topics of interest to a broad audience." I shared my work as a creative director for interdisciplinary project and talked about responding to times of uncertainty with more, not less, collaboration. I was impressed by the level of dialog in the question and answer session and the depth of inquiry apparent in the intellectual community at Princeton. I also enjoyed spending time with faculty and students in dance and in the Council on Science and Technology. I sat in on their arts and engineering courses, taught a movement improvisation workshop and had the delight of visiting Naomi Leonard's lab. Naomi's interests are closely aligned with choreographic thinking as is evident in her statement of interests including "Nonlinear control and dynamics; Coordination and control of networked multi-agent systems; Collective decision-making, collective motion, collective sensing; Mobile sensor networks and adaptive ocean sampling; Collective behavior in animal groups; Human decision-making dynamics; Intersections with the arts; Underwater gliders and other autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)." The last one is the best, she is renowned for having led a large, collaborative, multidisciplinary "Adaptive Sampling and Prediction project on the development and demonstration, in Monterey Bay, CA in 2006, of an automated and adaptive ocean observing system consisting of a coordinated network of underwater robotic vehicles that move about on their own and carry sensors to collect scientific data about the ocean." She's holding one of her samplers in the image below. I like to think of each of us as having our own microtribes of like minded souls around the world and my own tribe is full of genuine collaborators, and Naomi is one of them. She has collaborated with "biologists to study the mechanisms that explain the collective dynamics of animal groups, including killifish, honeybees, caribou, and starlings, and to explain human decision-making under uncertainty" and with choreographer Susan Marshall In 2010 to create "Flock Logic, an art-making project that explored what happens when dancers carry out the mathematical rules for dynamic response used to model flocking birds." Amazing person, amazing place, wonderful visit.