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March 11, 2010 Volume 31, No. 23

From art to biology and back

Art intersection

Symposium will explore the junction of art and science

Often thought of as separate and contradictory disciplines, arts and sciences do intersect in a variety of ways. The sixth annual University of Missouri Life Sciences and Society Symposium, “From Art to Biology and Back Again,” will explore these intersections between the creative arts and sciences.

“The symposium will explore through both art and science why humans are interested in art,” says Stefani Engelstein, director of Life Sciences and Society Program. “The speakers will talk about why humans participate in art, what happens in the brain when we create or perceive art, and how art ‘comments’ on science, with plenty of time for questions and discussion from the audience.”

The symposium features eight international experts who will explore, during lectures and panel discussions, the anthropological origins of art, how biological responses play into humans’ views and understanding of art, and how art helps people better understand science. Topics will range from the bioengineering of a glow-in-the-dark rabbit as art to the function of art in the human evolutionary process.

Daniel Levitin, the keynote speaker of the symposium, is a record producer, musician, cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist and writer.

He will present “This is your Brain on Music,” at 7 p.m., Friday, March 12 in Jesse Auditorium on the MU campus. Levitin will explore topics such as how the brain interprets music, why people become musical experts, and how music affects our emotions.

A complete schedule of events and speakers is available online at