Rubin Museum of Art

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Brainwave 2010

Brainwave 2010

Photos by Michael J. Palma

The third annual Brainwave series drew inspiration from the exhibition Visions of the Cosmos and brought neuroscientists, astrophysicists, and artists together to discuss our brains and our universe.



Featured Talks

The Cosmos: What Do We Really Know?

Video Curator Martin Brauen + Astrophysicist Steven Soter
The co-curators of Visions of the Cosmos discuss the meaning of the exhibition.

Why Does Movement Move Us?

VideoChoreographer Mark Morris + Neurologist Bevil R. Conway
One of America's greatest living choreographers explores how the brain responds to dance and motion with the Wellesley College neurologist.

Is Meditation the Medicine of the Mind?

VideoBon meditation instructor Alejandro Chaoul +
Cancer specialist Dr. Lorenzo Cohen
Two doctors evaluate the healing potential of meditation.

How Do Our Brains Cope with Long-term Stress?

VideoTibetan lama Arjia Rinpoche + Neuroscientist Bruce S. McEwen
A survivor of the Chinese Cultural Revolution talks to the Rockefeller University neuroendocrinologist about how stress hormones act on the brain and if Buddhist practice has anything to teach us about how we can control stress levels.

Who Is the Shaking Woman?

VideoWriter Siri Hustvedt + Neuroscientist Hans Breiter
The novelist Siri Hustvedt engages the director of Harvard Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Genetics about her neurological condition, marking the publication of her new book The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves.

Does Chaos Have Meaning?

VideoDirector Shekhar Kapur + Astrophysicist Piet Hut
The director of the Elizabeth films and Bandit Queen debates the meaning of the universe with the Princeton astrophysicist.

Where Does Life Begin?

VideoArtist Michael Joaquin Grey + Astrobiologist Chris Impey
Together artist and astrobiologist construct an organism and a conversation using ZOOB, a building toy designed by Grey and inspired by biological and social networks.

How Did the Universe Get Its Spots?

VideoPerformance artist Laurie Anderson + Astrophysicist Janna Levin
The first (and only) artist-in-residence at NASA engages in a free-form conversation with the novelist and professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College.

What Makes the Mindset of a Radical?

VideoWriter Stephen Batchelor + Neurophilosopher Owen Flanagan
The author of Confession of a Buddhist Atheist argues that the Buddha was a radical innovator. What is it in our brains that makes some of us upend tradition and most of us follow the herd?


Additional Talks and Programs

What Does Ecstasy Smell Like?

Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel + Neurobiologist Stuart Firestein

Is There Life Out There?

Rock musician Claire Evans + Astrophysicist Fred C. Adams

How Do We Listen to the Music of the Spheres?

Composer Philip Glass + Astronomer Greg Laughlin

What Time Is It?

Screenwriter/Director Charlie Kaufman + Physicist Brian Greene

Is Feng Shui All in the Mind?

Feng Shui expert Steven Post + Neurosociologist John Zeisel

What Makes Us Wise?

Science journalist Stephen S. Hall + Neuroscientist Andre Fenton

Can Children Meditate?

Linda Lantieri + Lisa Jane Miller, Ph.D

How Can We Use Our Brains Better?

Neuroscientist Richard Restak + Author Susan Orlean

Are We Wired for Worship?

Anthropologist Lionel Tiger + Neuroscientist John Kubie

How Can I Find Peace of Mind?

Meditation Teacher/ Psychotherapist Loch Kelly + Neuroscientist Zoran Josipovic

How Do We Get High-strung?

Guitarist Lenny Kaye + Neuroscientist Joseph E. LeDoux


The Inner Cosmology of Tibetan Medicine:
Images and Myths of the Sacred City of Medicine

An illustrated talk by Barbara Gerke

A Crack in the World: The Alternate Universe of the Beyul

An illustrated talk by Thomas K. Shor about a charismatic and visionary Tibetan lama who, at a time of international crisis in 1962, led over 300 followers up a remote Himalayan mountain slope between Nepal and the Kingdom of Sikkim to a land of immortality.

The Living Mandala Experience

Have you ever dreamt of stepping inside a painting? Under the guidance of Khenchen Tsewang Gyamtso Rinpoche you will be able to enter a living mandala. In this two-hour workshop the noted lama of the Nyingma tradition will induct participants by physically guiding them through a tantric meditation initiation process, retuning their minds to enable them to reach the center of the mandala.