Archive for July, 2012

test tubeOn Wednesday, August 1, the MBLWHOI Library Salon series will feature science-related poetry. We are encouraging members of the MBL and WHOI communities, as well as the public, to bring a favorite science poem to read or to write and read their own science-inspired Haiku or “Sci-ku.”

Post your science-related Haiku right here on our blog in the comments section, and come to the MBLWHOI Library’s Bay Reading Room on Wednesday, August 1, at 3pm to read it out loud for other poetry fans to hear!  Or just peruse some of the great Sci-ku submissions we’ve already received.

For the uninitiated, Haiku is a Japanese poetry form consisting of 17 syllables spread across three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line features seven, and the last line features five again. Haikus also frequently feature a “cut”, meaning the poems frequently compare and contrast two different ideas or images sharply.

Here is an example of a science haiku:

Light and CO2
Water, kick those electrons!
Photosynthesis

-Vinay Mahajan

Full details about the Poetry of Science event are available here:
http://www.mbl.edu/blog/salon_series12/

Dyche Mullins in the library of the Stazione Zoologica, a marine biological station in Naples, Italy, that inspired many of the MBL’s founding investigators.

Physiology course co-director Dyche Mullins, in a delightful/witty post on his blog, ruminates on the Lillie Auditorium “initiation” of Physiology students, how life-altering the course can be, and what it means to become a member of the global MBL tribe:

With little more than a week left, my Summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole is winding down. Six weeks ago Clare Waterman and I launched the 2012 Physiology Course with a pair of orientation lectures. We followed our customary division of labor: Clare explained the nuts and bolts of the course and I described its history and philosophy. The incoming students, primed by tales of long hours and difficult experiments, listened nervously —their attention broken only by occasional attempts to get comfortable in the charming but uncompromising wooden chairs of Lillie Auditorium. For me, this annual ritual is a sort of Proustian, madeleines-in-weak-tea moment … read more

Eddie Oroyan and Laura Selle Virtucio of Black Label Movement. Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

 

If you see human beings hurtling through space over the Swope lawn this week, stop, watch, and imagine moving molecules in a cell. What you are witnessing is a literally high-impact collaboration between scientists and dancers from Black Label Movement (BLM) company in Minneapolis, which is in residence in the MBL Physiology course this week.

On Sunday, July 8 at 4 PM, the collaborators will present an informal performance and lecture-demonstration, “HIT: When Dancers and Scientists Collide,” in the MBL Club, 100 Water Street, Woods Hole. The lec-dem is free and open to the MBL community and public.

HIT is part of a burgeoning, 3-year experiment led by Physiology course faculty member David Odde and BLM artistic director Carl Flink, who are both professors at the University of Minnesota (of biomedical engineering and of dance, respectively). Called “The Moving Cell Project,” their collaboration initially sought ways to express biological concepts to a lay audience through the dramatic physicality of dance. But they soon found that their exchange was taking them much deeper.

Odde realized that having movers represent a cell-biological process is much faster (and less tedious) than creating a computer simulation, which can take months. “We started to explore the idea of using dancers to literally embody our scientific hypotheses, in order to quickly convey them to other people,” Odde says. “We call it bodystorming,” which is like brainstorming ideas, but using actual bodies.

Black Label Movement dancers Eddie Oroyan and Laura Selle Virtucio perform “HIT.” Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

They also found themselves entering bracing new territory for dance. In “HIT,” which focuses on a cellular process called “microtubule catastrophe,” the dancers were asked to experience the “stochastic, violent pulling and pushing dynamics of molecules in a cell,” Odde says. This led to arresting movement and musical dynamics; the dance is strange but beautiful and compelling. But it also meant Flink had to develop “impact techniques” for the dancers so they could careen and collide without getting injured.

At the MBL, the collaborators are further exploring their hypothesis that “movers can help advance scientific discovery at the leading edge,” Odde says. They are assisted by Dyche Mullins, co-director of the Physiology course, who became involved in the project a year ago; Physiology course students; and 7 movers from Black Label Movement. In addition, any MBL students, faculty, or researchers who want to test out their own hypotheses with BLM are encouraged to contact Odde (oddex002@umn.edu).

To view a brief documentary video on the collaborative development of “HIT,” please go to: http://vimeo.com/30346802