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January 24th 2017
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December 4, 2013Islamic structures of science and society
Lydia Wilson, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY
This lunch is hosted by the School of Cognitive Science and by the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies (SSiMS)Abstract: I will argue that an analysis of the relationship between science and Islam can provide a fresh lens through which to look at the functioning of modern political Islam and contemporary Muslim societies. In analysing contemporary critiques of science in the Muslim world, echoes with the situation under totalitarian regimes were hard to ignore, most obviously in: 1) treatment of dissenters; 2) other forms of political interference; 3) a creation and defence of an alternative scientific epistemology; and 4) a definition of, and attacks on, an enemy. This last gives an insight into political and social attitudes more broadly. The definition of the enemy under Soviet theory was class-based (bourgeois or capitalist); under the Nazis it was race-based (non-Aryan and in particular Jewish); in certain Islamic science discourses today it is geopolitical (Western science, often conflated with "modern"). There have been various characterisations given of "Western" science in the Muslim world, and a variety of responses, from total rejection to complete assimilation. But even within societies creating an Islamic epistemology for science, scientists play a high profile role, including within extremist movements, both violent and non-violent. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood appointed an engineer to be prime minister, and engineers are vastly over-represented in jihadist attacks in the past 20 years. This ambivalence to science can be seen as one instance of the ambivalence to Western culture more generally.Biography: Lydia Wilson is the Mellon postdoctoral fellow at CUNY Graduate Center. After completing a Ph.D. in medieval Arabic philosophy (University of Cambridge, UK), she shifted to the modern Middle East, building on previous journalism experience to pursue anthropological research, particularly anthropology of conflict. Lydia reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, and edits the Cambridge Literary Review.
November 20, 2013The affective science of free-range baconEric Anderson 01S, Hampshire College alum and Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab at Northeastern UniversityAbstract: Research on moral psychology has exploded in recent years but has focused on improbable hypothetical scenarios (trolley dilemmas). This makes inferences about actual moral real-world behavior difficult. Everyday food choices are a domain infused with moral considerations for some individuals. These concerns have even shaped the market-place with organic, sustainable, fair-trade, free-range labels. Some people experience conflict between hedonically pleasant meat meals, and knowledge that animals may suffer during meat production. In this talk, I will describe completed and ongoing work that explores the relationship between moral considerations, animal mind perception, and the pleasure of eating bacon.Biography: Eric Anderson (S01) was first inspired to study the mind in a cognitive psychology class at Hampshire College. Since then, he studied prairie dog communication in the desert, strategy use in mental arithmetic, morality in dementia patients, and affective influences on vision. Currently he is studying the role of moral considerations in the perception and hedonic experience of food. His work has been published in top academic journals (Science) and takes an interdisciplinary approach with collaborators in anthropology, psychiatry, and computer scientist. He is pursuing technology (smartphones, pervasive sensors, video games, big data) as a tool for exploring the mind. In the future, he is interested in leveraging social science research to understand real-world issues such as racism, poverty, and environmental damage. Eric is currently a Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab at Northeastern University.
November 13, 2013Reflections on the Integrity of the Cognitive, Psychological, and Behavioral Sciences Neil Stillings, professor of psychologyAbstract: Over the last few years what might be called a reliability, or replication, crisis has developed in a broad swath of the cognitive, psychological, and biobehavioral sciences. I will describe and to some extent pull together some of the strands of the crisis, including prominent cases of fraud, doubts about the tradition of null-hypothesis significance testing (NHST), voodoo correlations in social neuroscience, critiques of biobehavioral genomics, some highly publicized replication failures in social psychology, Nobel-prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman's call to address these failures, changes in the publication practices of journals and other shifts in scholarly incentives, doubts about randomized controlled trials of new drugs, and the resurgence of cultural relativism in cognitive psychology. I will make an initial attempt to separate media-driven exaggeration from genuine problems, and then review some suggestions for addressing the problems. This will be an informal talk intended to inspire faculty and students to reflect on the nature of our scientific pursuits.Biography: Neil Stillings, professor of psychology, has taught at Hampshire College since 1971. His Ph.D. is from Stanford and he holds a B.A. from Amherst College. His interests include learning, visual and auditory perception, and the psychology of language. Music perception, relationships between cognition and culture, and the psychology of science learning are current research interests.
October 30, 2013Seeking Good Debate: Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life
Michael Evans, Ph.D., Neukom Fellow in the Neukom Institute for Computational Science and the Department of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College
This lunch is hosted by the School of Cognitive Science and by the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies (SSiMS)Abstract: Why do science and religion seem to generate contentious public debate? In this talk I draw on computational linguistic analysis of over 10,000 newspaper articles, biographical research on key participants, and qualitative interviews with ordinary Americans to show that apparent conflicts in the public sphere over "science and religion" issues such as stem cell research, human origins, environmental policy, and the origins of sexuality actually result from a disconnection between the structure of elite debate in the American public sphere and the ideals of deliberative debate expected by ordinary Americans. I show how this insight helps explain several anomalies in current scholarship, such as why religious beliefs do not always impede support for science, why there is a gap between trust in science and trust in scientists, and why religious conservatives continue to dominate American public life. I also discuss the implications for science communication, particularly around issues where religion is involved.Biography: Michael Evans is an interdisciplinary scholar who uses computational and qualitative methods to study contentious debates over science and technology issues. He has written about the social sources of public conflict over science and religion, how scientific elites shape interested publics, how narratives of continuity bolster scientific credibility, the role of religion in science communication, and the deliberative preferences of ordinary Americans, among other topics. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Science Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Currently he is a Neukom Fellow in the Neukom Institute for Computational Science and the Department of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth College
October 23, 2013How Did We Get to Division II?
CS Student Panel: Kyrie McIlveen, Div II; Emma Opitz, Div III; and Louisa Smith, Div III
What were our most helpful resources for Div II? How did we find our faculty? Things we wish we had known that would have helped us, and will help you! Bring your questions, and your suggestions.
October 16, 2013Lightning Talks by Coppinger Endowment Funded Students, reporting on their summer 2013 projects
Jolie Anderson, research assistant to Professor Kim Bard, University of Portsmouth, United KingdomSocio-emotional experience and primate social cognitionAbstract: I learned to code reliably videos of human and chimpanzee infants in a variety of environments, focusing on joint engagement (the act of being engaged with someone about something), as well as the topic of engagement, the partner, the initiator, and the emotional tone of each interval of engagement. I was also able to spend a significant amount of time with my supervising professor and received indispensable advice about graduate school and the life of a researcher in the field of developmental and comparative psychology.
Kathleen Leeper, research assistant to Professor Charles Nichols, Louisiana State University Health Sciences CenterSerotonin receptor pharmacology in Drosophila and mammalian systemsAbstract:My research this summer was an exploration of the pharmacology of the 5HT-2a serotonin receptor, notable for its role in the signaling pathways of the classical hallucinogens. I was involved with projects using three model systems (in vitro cell culture, different Drosophila strains, and male rats) to examine the effects of various hallucinogenic (LSD, psilocybin) and non-hallucinogenic drugs on neural gene expression, morphological changes, learning and memory, and receptor internalization.
Emma Opitz, research assistant to Professor Tecumseh Fitch and Dr. Daniel Liu Bowling, Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, AustriaTone of Voice and the Affective Character of Musical ModeAbstract:The study of the connection between music and language was an argument that even Darwin weighed in on. We, however, followed Spencer's (1857) argument and attempted to differentiate between arousal and valence in emotional sentences. Participants listened to sentences spoken in 4 different emotional categories and in 3 different languages and rated both their arousal and valence. The sentences were analyzed for their acoustic parameters prior to this study. Using multivariate statistics we examined the relationship between listeners' ratings of the sentences and the acoustic parameters that were most important in conveying the intended emotion to the listener. We found that tonal properties of the voice differ as a function of emotional arousal and valence, and are correlated with the perception of these qualities.
October 9, 2013Vocal Performance in Birds: defending territories, learning songs, and learning preferences
Dana Moseley, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of animal behavior, Hampshire CollegeAbstract: Mating behavior in many species involves communication displays that are vigorous or difficult to perform. Since these displays operate under physical constraints, their performance is likely to honestly reveal the individual's quality. Individuals that are able maximize display features are thus predicted to be favored by sexual selection. In songbirds, males produce song both for mate attraction and territory defense. Aspects of a song's vocal performance might allow females to assess an individual as a prospective mate and other males to assess the fighting prowess of signalers in territorial disputes. In Swamp Sparrows (Melospiza georgiana [italics]), I examine the connections between vocal performance and signal reliability. By investigating vocal performance in terms of its development, production, and perception, I seek to gain a deeper understanding of how vocal performance behavior develops and has evolved.Biography: Dana Moseley recently completed her Ph.D. in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received her B.S. from UNC Chapel Hill. In her dissertation she investigated how birdsong functions and develops in terms of male song production and female preferences. She is currently continuing collaborations with her former advisor, Jeff Podos, and a neuroscientist at the University of Massachusetts, and is currently teaching CS292 "Animal Communication: Vocal Learning in Birds" at Hampshire College. She plans to continue her research by going on to a post-doctoral position.
October 2, 2013Brainswarming: The Next Generation of BrainstormingTony McCaffrey, adjunct assistant professor of cognitive psychologyAbstract: What can a swarm of bees teach humans about solving problems together? A great deal. I am developing an online platform for group problem solving that combines insights from human psychology and the behavior of swarms of insects. The result is a model that allows large groups to problem solve together from remote locations and at different times (asynchronously). As organizations and companies become global, they need such problem solving tools that manage their collaborative efforts. I welcome your critique of features that I may be overlooking on my brainswarming model.Biography: Tony McCaffrey, adjunct assistant professor of cognitive psychology, received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; master's degrees in theology, philosophy, and computer Science; and a B.A. in computer science. He is teaching CS-151, "Finding Your Creativity Profile," this term.
September 25, 2013Observation as a Game Design SkillIra Fay, assistant professor of computer science and game designAbstract: To successfully analyze, create, and improve games, aspiring game designers must carefully observe the experience of playing games. In this talk, Ira will demonstrate two different games and will facilitate a discussion with the audience regarding their observations. In addition, there is a game development tradition that new team members share their observations of the current project with senior team leadership. In that spirit, Ira will share some of his observations of Hampshire after a mere two weeks of classes!Biography: Ira Fay is an assistant professor of computer science and game design at Hampshire College and is the CEO of Fay Games, a studio primarily focused on games for educational impact. He previously co-founded the undergraduate game design and development program at Quinnipiac University, where he was an assistant professor of game design and development. Before beginning his academic career, Ira was a senior game designer at Electronic Arts (Pogo.com), where he led Pogo iPhone game development and released several top web games. Prior to Pogo, Ira worked at Z-Axis (Activision) on X-Men 3, at Maxis on The Sims 2, and at Walt Disney Imagineering on ToonTown Online. Ira graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor's degree in computer science and master's degrees in information systems management and entertainment technology. He is also a published board game designer. is teaching Introduction to Game Design and Introduction to Game Programming this term.
September 18, 2013Buddha, ego, and research in the (social) sciencesThomas Cain, visiting assistant professor of psychologyAbstract: Buddhist philosophy has some interesting commonalities with scientific research methodology. Buddhist philosophy references ego (atman) and how it can distort our perception of reality. Reality is, of course, what the sciences are attempting to document objectively. This talk will be a discussion about 'true objectivity,' whether we can ever actually have it (or really want it), and the ways in which ego reliably gets in the way of obtaining it.Biography: Thomas Cain is teaching Introduction to Social Psychology and Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences this term. He received a Ph.D. in social psychology from Rutgers University and a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University.
September 11, 2013Pleasure: An Interdisciplinary Romp Through the Cognitive SciencesLaura Sizer, dean of the School of Cognitive Science and associate professor of philosophyAbstract: As familiar as pleasure is to all of us (if we are lucky), it raises several philosophical puzzles: if pleasure is a feeling, does that mean that there is some feeling that all pleasures share? If not, then what is it that makes something a pleasure? What role does pleasure play in our cognitive lives? In a happy life? In this talk I will look at pleasure from the perspectives of philosophy, the psychological and neurosciences, and examine the evolution of pleasure, all in the hopes of getting a clearer sense of what pleasure is and does.Biography: Laura Sizer received a B.A. in philosophy from Boston University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. She specializes in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology/cognitive science. Her research currently focuses on affect (emotions and moods), but she is also interested in questions about consciousness, representation, music, and personal identity. She has published in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Philosophical Psychology, and Mind and Language. In addition to her primary research and teaching interests, Professor Sizer teaches topics in applied ethics; the philosophy of language; philosophy of biology; and the relationship between science and religion.
April 30, 2014Accuracy vs. Energy: Telling True Science StoriesKaren Hopkin, Ph.D., freelance writer, editorAbstract: A Nobel-prizewinning researcher once told me, on reading a piece I had written about his work, that my article was "lively, yet surprisingly accurate." His remark hits on a key struggle in the art of science writing: how to produce an exciting account that preserves the integrity of the science while maintaining the interest of the reader. In today's talk, we'll discuss how a writer can work with scientists to get the story out. And how the information gleaned during an interview--or interviews--can be woven into a coherent, perhaps even gripping, narrative that the scientists will recognize as being representative of the truth. Along the way, we'll consider whether jargon can ever be used to ones advantage, and how the intended audience can change the depth or feel of the resulting presentation.Biographical: Karen Hopkin received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1992. After three years as a producer for NPR's Science Friday, she went freelance. Her articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Science, Scientific American, New Scientist, and Golf Digest. Karen has served as a columnist, editor, and writer for The Scientist, BioIT World, and the children's magazine Muse, and is the creator of the Studmuffins of Science Calendar. In addition to working on a series of chapters for E. O. Wilson's high school biology iBook Life on Earth, Karen is currently a contributor to Scientific American's daily podcast, 60-Second Science, and a coauthor of the undergraduate textbook Essential Cell Biology.
April 23, 2014Incidental Fear, Anger, and the Shooter BiasGreg Larsen (F10) and Tom Cain, visiting assistant professor of psychologyAbstract: Within social psychology, the "shooter bias" (Correll et al., 2002) refers to a racial bias that occurs when participants are asked to take on the role of a police officer in a first person shooter video game. In these experiments, participants are exposed to avatars of varying races. One of the avatars quickly draws either a gun or a phone, and participants must decide whether to "shoot" or "not to shoot" by using the computer mouse. In addition to incorporating a more detailed video game than has been used in past research, the current project asks to watch either an anger inducing, frightening, or neutral film clip before playing the game. Results and implications will be discussed.Biography: Greg Larsen (F10) is a Division III student studying social psychology.
Tom Cain, visiting assistant professor of psychology, School of Cognitive Science, received a Ph.D. in social psychology from Rutgers University and a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University. In the fall term he will teach "Introduction to Experimental Psychology" and "The Social Psychology of Stereotyping, Person Perception, and Intergroup Relations."
April 16, 2014Love In the Time of DataDan Chapsky (F06), data scientistAbstract: Online social networks have given researchers new ways of studying a variety of phenomena from epidemics to revolutions and--most importantly--dating. Facebook is the single largest dataset of human interaction ever created for this research; millions of new relationships, fights, break-ups, interests, and activities are recorded every day. At AYI.com, a dating website, we wanted to find out how we could leverage this data to help our users find dates. In this talk I will discuss how my colleagues and I built a recommendation engine that made use of online representations of our users' actions, interests and social network. Unlike in traditional online recommendation systems (i.e. Amazon, Netflix), dating recommendations have to be bi-directional and focus on why both parties should be interested in each other. Over the course of this presentation I will highlight three types of users, what we learned about their motivations and habits, and how we used traditional machine-learning recommendation techniques along with social graph traversal to create meaningful matches for them.Biography: Dan Chapsky (F06) is a data scientist whose primary focus is applying machine learning techniques to quantitative social science problems. He is currently a researcher at Facebook's Marketing Science department. Previously he was the data scientist at AYI.com, a dating website. At AYI his work focused on matching people with optimal mates; at Facebook his work focuses on matching people with optimal ads. Dan did his Div III with Lee Spector and Neil Stillings on using Bayesian Networks to predict Hampshire students' scores.
April 9, 2014The Smartphone: How to Think about It - in ChinaXiuran Wang (F10) and James Miller, professor of communicationsAbstract: Smartphones have diffused faster than any previous communications medium, with the exception of American TV in the early 1950s. In 2013, one billion smartphones were sold worldwide. While they combine several existing media (the telephone, audio, and video), they also offer novel services (GPS, text messaging, games). People's use of smartphones, and their deeply personal dependence on them, is a dramatic illustration of how digital technology is increasingly interwoven into daily life. We will talk about patterns of smartphone usage and the emotional experience of possessing "intimate machines" that mediate between the self and the larger world. We will also discuss in some detail the smartphone phenomenon in contemporary China, the world's biggest smartphone market, and its contribution to "soft individualism" there.Biography: Xiuran Wang (F10) is completing his Division III examining the implications of the growing use of digital media in the lives of young Chinese adults. He studied broadly in the social sciences for his concentration with a focus on issues related to the process of individualization in post-reform China, his home country. James Miller is professor of communications. The May 2014 issue of Mobile Media and Communication will carry his article "The fourth screen: Mediatization and the smartphone," an earlier version of which was presented at the 2012 meetings of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) in Istanbul.March 26, 2014Student LIGHTNING TALKS about Their CS Division III ResearchOmri Bernstein: Learnable Quantum Computer Programming
Division III Committee Chair: Lee Spector. Committee Members: Herb Bernstein, Zeke NierenbergAbstract: What happens when you combine quantum physics and computer programming? Weird stuff is what notions of "information" and "information processing" fundamentally change. This talk will discuss quantum computing programming: what it is, why it's important, and how it could be made learnable. I will do so by demonstrating my Division III project, an interactive quantum computer simulator website which aims to be an educational tool for the quantum-confused (which is to say, all of us).Emma C. Lewin Opitz: The Relationship between Speech and Music: Tonality and Emotion
Division III Committee Co-Chairs: Mark Feinstein, Neil Stillings. Committee Member: Laura SizerAbstract: Following up work conducted at the University of Vienna researching the tonal properties of speech that convey emotion to the listener, my Division III directly applies our previous findings to music. We took the tonal properties involved in conveying emotion in speech and converted those into digital a-musical stimuli and asked participants to rate them on their arousal and valence level. Work at the University of Vienna, Department of Cognitive Biology was completed under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Liu Bowling in 2013.Louisa Smith: Exploring the Effects of Stereotype Threat on Women's Math Performance through Salivary Cortisol Levels
Division III Committee Chair: Jane Couperus. Committee Member: Laura SizerAbstract: When performing a math task, women risk being judged according to the negative stereotype that women inherently possess weak mathematical abilities. This situation is referred to as stereotype threat and has been shown to produce a performance gap between equally qualified men and women. Female underperformance has generally been attributed to a decrease in cognitive resources resulting from an increase in apprehension and emotional processing; however, as of yet there is a lack of physiological evidence to support these assertions. My Division III work aims to address this gap by looking at female participants' salivary cortisol response to taking a math test.March 12, 2014Making the Case for Better Non-formal Educator PreparationTimothy Zimmerman, visiting assistant professor of cognition and educationAbstract: Considerable time, energy, and research funding is expended on preparing K-12 teachers for their role as educators in our compulsory, "formal" classroom-based educational system. Yet these are not the only educators we encounter throughout our lives. Rob Semper, Executive Associate Director at the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco, often cites the statistic that we spend 10% of our lives in "formal" educational settings. Of course, as he notes, this means we spend 90% of our lives not in "formal" educational settings, often interacting with people in educator roles such as museum docents, tour guides, environmental educators, and natural and cultural resource interpreters. Yet few of these educators have taken courses in learning theory or pedagogical practice. I argue that providing theoretical grounding and pedagogical practice for non-formal educators is crucial to improving learning that happens outside classroom walls. In this interactive talk, we'll explore examples, collaboratively generate connections to ideas in cognitive science, and consider the role Hampshire College can play in this important arena.Biography: Timothy (Tim) D. Zimmerman received a B.S. in biology and marine biology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, an M.S. in marine biology from the College of Charleston, and a Ph.D. in science education from the University of California, Berkeley. He researches ocean and environmental science learning in non-school contexts (museums, outdoors, etc.) and its relationship to environmental decision-making. Tim combines qualitative, quantitative and design-based research methodologies to study learners as they move across informal-formal learning context boundaries. When not in the office, you can find him exploring outdoors, hiking with his partner and daughter, rock climbing or making beer at home.
March 5, 2014Russell and the Conflict Between Physics and Experience
Rebecca Keller (F13) and Jonathan Westphal, visiting professor of philosophyAbstract: Science seems to conflict with everyday experience. Science tells us about wavelengths, but we experience colors. Science tells us about the energy of molecules, but we experience heat. Bertrand Russell took the view that this conflict is to be resolved in favour of science against everyday experience, and that everyday experience contradicts itself. We will discuss this argument in various forms.
Naive realism leads to physics. Physics, if true, shows that naive realism is false. Therefore naive realism if true is false. Therefore it is false. -- Bertrand RussellBiography: Rebecca Keller (F13), is a CS student.
Jonathan Westphal is a visiting professor of philosophy at Hampshire College, teaching philosophy in the School of Cognitive Sciences. He has interests in the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology. His most recent work has been on the philosophy of time and on freewill, and the relation between the two, for example in his "Is There a Modal Fallacy in Van Inwagen's 'First Formal Argument'?" Analysis 72 (2012). He is currently teaching a class on the philosophy of language and, together with other members of CS, a class on the philosophy of color.
February 26, 2014Long Division with Roman Numerals? The Quest for Intuitive Notations and Data VisualizationsTony McCaffrey, Ph.D., Innovation Accelerator, Inc.Abstract: Only the top mathematicians of the culture could perform long division with Roman numerals. Change the notation to Arabic numerals and now we teach long division to elementary school children. Today, we use the calculus notation created by Leibniz rather than Newton's because it is more intuitive. But what makes a notation intuitive? Using results from embodied cognition on how we naturally project meaning into spatial relations and bodily actions, I am developing a new sub-field called ergosemantics (i.e., the ergnomics of semantic representations) that applies beyond human computer interaction to any notation or data visualization. In the age of Big Data, we especially need intuitive ways to make sense of data and ergosemantics has the potential for some breakthroughs.Biography: Dr. Tony McCaffrey's dissertation at UMass Amherst articulated the first successful technique to counteract functional fixedness, the most famous obstacle to innovation. Other innovation techniques also flow from his Obscure Features Hypothesis for innovation. Tony's new company, Innovation Accelerator, recently received an NSF SBIR grant to further commercialize his software that finds all the solutions to a problem like yours in the patent database. Tony's latest product is Brainswarming, a much more effective group problem solving technique than brainstorming.
February 12, 2014Looking Backwards, or, Using Modern Digital Technology to Animate the PastChris Perry, associate professor of media arts and sciences, and Michael Lesy, professor of literary journalismAbstract: The 350,000 3D stereographs of the Keystone-Mast Collection are housed in an earthquake-proof vault, thirty feet underground at the University of California, Riverside. From this archive, Hampshire College Professor Michael Lesy has selected 300 images of people and places from the world as it existed more than 100 years ago. These will be the basis of LOOKING BACKWARD, a major book and traveling exhibition scheduled for 2016. After a brief introduction by Professor Lesy to the LOOKING BACKWARD project, Professor Perry will discuss the research and development effort Chris is coordinating which aims to bring the stereographs to life for the gallery exhibition. Perry's informal presentation will touch on computer vision topics like optical flow and stereo correspondence algorithms, digital retouching strategies, and the pleasures of getting in over one's head as long as you're doing it with old friends.Biography: Chris Perry, associate professor of media arts and sciences at Hampshire College, holds an M.S. in media arts and sciences from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.F.A in Art from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His B.A., in physics and astronomy, is from Amherst College. Prior to Hampshire, Chris worked at Pixar Animation Studios as a technical director on the films "A Bugs Life" and "Finding Nemo" and as a graphics software engineer on "Toy Story 2." Before that, Chris worked at Rhythm & Hues Studios. His primary interests are in computer graphics and visual storytelling, particularly the intersection of the two.
Michael Lesy, professor of literary journalism, received a B.A. in theoretical sociology at Columbia University, an M.A. in American social history at the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in American cultural history at Rutgers University. He has published 13 books of history, biography, and narrative nonfiction. Professor Lesy's most recent book, Repast: Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900-1910 (2013), written in collaboration with his wife, Lisa Stoffer, was inspired by the New York Public Library's Buttolph Menu Collection. Professor Lesy's books have been made into operas, plays, dance performances, and films. In 2007, the United States Artists Foundation named Professor Lesy its first Simon Fellow. In 2013, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.