A weekly feature (begun December 2004), supported by the
Bryn Mawr College Center for Science in Society,
that highlights current news in the area of science and culture,
and connects it with relevant materials on Serendip as well
as Center activities.
For the week of March 28, 2005: Communication
of Perception versus Fact
forum for continuing discussion | Archives
the Synchronicity of Life"
Ruth Levy Guyer is a scientist whose interests range
beyond the strictly empirical. She reflects on the artistic
and neurological phenomenon of synesthesia, and on synchronicities
-- those spooky coincidences that crop up in life. (From
NPR's "All Things Considered") Listen
the Two Cultures: Communicating Science to the Media”
Brown Bag Discussion featuring Ruth Levy Guyer,
Al Dorof, and Dorothy Wright, in which communication
between scientists and journalists was discussed.
Science In the Media or, Why Scientists are Afraid of
Don Barber invited us into a discussion of the often-frustrating
attempts of climate scientists to communicate their
results to the public.
Also of interest:
Science: Writing About S&T for the Public
Mawr's Science & Technology Newsletter
and the Human Brain: Questions Answered and Questions
At some point, most people consider the way that they
perceive the world and how these perceptions may vary
from other people's perceptions. We may wonder how
the same words sound to different people, or whether
or not colors are the same in everyone's eyes. Though
most of these differences will never be resolved due
to the indescribable nature of sensory observations,
one key difference in the perception of the world
has been pinpointed, that is, the world of the synesthete.
Mad Artist Or Does He Really Hear Yellow? (And Why
Should We Care)
When Kandinsky followed this comparatively general
statement with detailed profiles for each basic color
- light red, for instance, was "warm," gave
one "a feeling of strength, vigor, determination,
triumph," and corresponded to the "sound
of trumpets, strong, harsh, and ringing" - some
of his more outspoken readers suggested that the artist
was more fit for an insane asylum than for a painter's
career. While today we cannot deny Kandinsky's artistic
merits, an interesting question remains. Were the
details of his descriptions mere metaphors resulting
from the vividness of his imagination? Or was there
a physical experience behind such an extravagant way
of seeing the world? Synesthesia suggests that every
person's conscious perception of reality is different
from everyone else's... Read
License: Color Vision and Color Theory
The ideas of color perception and color theory are
interesting ones. How do humans account for color
and does it truly exist? I think that by examining
not only the neurological on-goings in the brain,
but by learning about color through philosophy, and
even art, a greater understanding of it can be reached.
On the lighter side...
is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent,
common sense rounded out and minutely articulated."
~ George Santayana (1863-1952) U. S. philosopher and
writer, from "The Life of Reason."
These pages have been created
by Selene Platt in consultation
with Paul Grobstein.
Please submit suggestions for other topics to explore in "Science Matters" to Selene