Date:   April 1, 2010

Press Contact:   Alana Quinn, Outreach Manager, Cultural Programs

202-334-2415; e-mail

Public Contact:  202-334-2436; e-mail


NAS Announces Visual Culture and Evolution Online Symposium


WASHINGTON – The Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences will co-host the "Visual Culture and Evolution Online Symposium" with the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and Johns Hopkins University's Master of Arts in Museum Studies Program.  The online symposium will take place on the Internet from April 5 through April 14.


A group of more than 30 international experts – including artists, scientists, historians, ethicists, curators, sociologists, and writers – will discuss at this event the intersections between the visual arts and evolution.  This past year, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species, a number of conferences were held around the world focusing on the impact of the concept of evolution.  This symposium will be a platform to discuss both the ideas generated from those activities and the present impact of evolutionary thought on visual culture.


The symposium, which will be conducted through software designed for online courses, will be publicly accessible at  The online format overcomes geographic and financial barriers, enabling leading figures in these fields from around the world to engage in the discussion without a major disruption to their research and practices.


Kevin Finneran, editor in chief of Issues in Science and Technology, will moderate the discussion. Issues is the quarterly policy journal published by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and University of Texas at Dallas.


Symposium panelists:


Suzanne Anker, Chair, BFA Fine Arts Department, School of Visual Arts, New York City

Paola Antonelli
, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Brandon Ballengee
, Artist and Ph.D. Candidate, University of Applied Sciences and Art, Hochschule for Gestaltung, Zurich, Switzerland

May R. Berenbaum
, Professor and Head, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Catherine Chalmers
, Artist, New York City

Constance Clark
, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Program, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass.

Christina Cogdell
, Associate Professor of Design and Art History, University of California, Davis

Nathaniel Comfort,
Associate Professor, Institute of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

Barbara Creed
, Professor of Screen Studies and Head of the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, Australia

Marta de Menezes
, Artist-in-Residence, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, London

David A. Edwards
, Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Daniel Glaser
, Head of Special Projects and Public Engagement, Wellcome Trust, London

David Haussler
, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz

Tracy Hicks
, Artist, Dallas

Jay Hosler
, Comic Book Artist and Assistant Professor of Biology at Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.

Eduardo Kac
, Artist, Chicago

Assimina Kaniari
, Academic Visitor, Department of Art History, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and Lecturer in Western Art, Department of Art History and Theory, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece

Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette
, Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C.

Barbara J. Larson
, Associate Professor of Art History, University of West Florida, Pensacola

Ellen K. Levy
, Visiting Scholar, New York University, New York City

Roger Malina
, Executive Editor, Leonardo Publications, Cambridge, Mass.

Gunalan Nadarajan
, Vice Provost for Research, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

Andrew Patrizio
, Professor and Director of Research Development, Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland

Alexis Rockman
, Artist, New York City

Michael Ruse
, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in History and Philosphy of Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee

Michael Sappol, Curator–Historian, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Md.

, Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis

Kirsten Shepherd-Barr
, Lecturer in Modern Drama, St. Catherine's College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Todd Siler
, Co-Founder and President, Think Like a Genius, LLC, Greenwood Village, Colo.

Jonathan Smith
, Professor of English and Director of the Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Michigan, Dearborn

Barbara Stafford, Art Historian, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor Emerita, University of Chicago, Chicago

, Director, Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

Paul Vanouse
, Associate Professor of Art, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y.

Rick Welch
, Dean of Arts and Sciences Emertitus, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Affiliated Research Scholar, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

EO Wilson
, Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

David Yager
, Dean of the Arts and Professor of Art, University of California, Santa Cruz


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For more than 29 years, the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences has sponsored exhibitions, concerts, and other events that explore relationships among the arts and sciences.