Emory Report
November 3, 2008
Volume 61, Number 10



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November 3, 2008

How E.O. Wilson became a scientist
How “the father of biodiversity” E.O. Wilson, keynote speaker at the “Evolution Revolution” conference Oct. 23-24, became a scientist: “I developed a passion as a kid for nature and natural history, for getting out, and for understanding everything.

“I think that we are at a period in our history where we’ve gone indoors too much. To people who say it’s okay to grow up indoors in the cities and suburbs because people are perfectly happy, I would say cattle in an Abilene feedlot are happy but they’re not really developing in a complete manner for their species.”
— Carol Clark

Artist: Take a stand on Iraq
In front of a standing-room only crowd at the Visual Arts Gallery on Oct. 17, artist and anti-war activist Martha Rosler cited her photomontages of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, “Bringing the War Home,” as a call to action: “My work is not just about war, it’s about a way of thinking and being a citizen. My images are designed to simultaneously agitate and provide a still place where people can reflect on what is at stake and then take a stand.

“I want to drive the point home to Americans that we are responsible for what is happening in Iraq right now.”
— Mary Catherine Johnson

Ambiguity in art and the brain
“Science isn’t about measurement, science is about curiosity. Measurement is merely a means that science uses to satisfy that curiosity,“ said Semir Zeki, one of the world’s leading researchers in neuroscience and the arts, in his lecture titled “Ambiguity in Art and in the Brain.”

Studying the neural correlates of subjective mental states, such as creativity, art appreciation and love, is the basis for Zeki’s research.

“I don’t see how the study of neurobiology, which aims to study human contact and behavior, will be able to proceed much further without studying the product of the brain in terms of art, literature and music,” he said as he closed out the 2008 Luminaries in the Arts and Humanities series on Oct. 21. — Christi Gray