INconversation with Alan Lightman
April 20, 2017 | Eidson-Duckwall Hall, Butler University
A modern classic, Einstein’s Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. Its poetic vignettes explore the connections between science and art, the process of creativity and the tender fragility of human existence. It’s the kind of genre-defying book that is possible only at the intersection of the humanities (literature, history, philosophy) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
That’s why Indiana Humanities is pleased to welcome author Alan Lightman to Indianapolis to kick off our new thematic initiative, Quantum Leap. Join us as we talk with Alan, author of many acclaimed books, plays and essays, about the links between the physical and metaphysical worlds and discover how a physicist becomes a National Book Award finalist and humanities professor at MIT. Conversation will be moderated by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, director of Butler University’s Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for drinks and light hors d’oeuvres, with a book signing to follow. You can pre-order a copy of Einstein’s Dreams when you register or bring your favorite dog-eared copy from home. Book sales are provided by Indy Reads Books, and all proceeds support the cause of adult literacy in central Indiana.
Alan Lightman is a novelist, essayist, physicist and educator. He is the author of many acclaimed works, including the National Book Award finalists Einstein’s Dreams and The Diagnosis. He holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology and is currently Professor of the Practice of the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
This event is proudly presented in partnership with the daVinci Pursuit and Butler University’s Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative.
INconversation with Adrian Matejka
May 25, 2017 | Indy Reads Books
Growing up in Indianapolis in the 1980s, Adrian Matejka dreamed about outer space. In a time of space shuttles and the Strategic Defense Initiative, Star Trek and Sun Ra, the stars both guided and obscured the earthly complexities of race, poverty, masculinity and migration. These themes play out in Adrian’s new collection of poetry, Map to the Stars. Indiana Humanities, in partnership with Indy Reads Books, is proud to host the Circle City debut of the Pulitzer Prize finalist’s new book. Join us to hear Adrian read from the collection, talk about his inspirations and answer questions from the audience. Light snacks and drinks—space-themed, of course—will be served, and a book signing will follow.
Adrian Matejka is the author of three collections of poetry: The Devil’s Garden (2002); Mixology (2009), which was a winner of the National Poetry Series competition; and The Big Smoke (2013) which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Adrian is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation and United States Artists. He lives in Bloomington, Ind., with his wife and daughter.
INconversation with Tracy Fullerton
August 16, 2017 | Downtown Indy; final location TBD
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” Since this line was first written by American philosopher Henry David Thoreau in 1854, it’s inspired thinkers, writers, artists and naturalists. But only recently did someone decide Thoreau’s short memoir was the perfect blueprint for an online game.
Walden, a game, to be released this summer, is a first-person simulation of Thoreau’s life during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. It’s been generating tons of buzz, including in The New York Times and at Davos, for its creativity, its beauty and its sheer unlikeliness. Join us as we welcome lead designer Tracy Fullerton, director of the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, to talk about “the world’s most improbable video game.”
In the game, as in life, the goal is to achieve balance between the quotidian (growing or hunting food, chopping wood) and the sublime (walking in the woods, reading, talking with visitors). It’s a singular example of how digital technologies, guided by a startlingly creative mind, can make the humanities accessible, fun and participatory in a whole new way.
Listen in as Tracy shares how—and why—she turned a 19th-century memoir into a 21st-century digital game. We’ll get a peek at the game itself and learn about the delightful challenges of its creation, from scouring Thoreau’s original surveys of Walden Pond to create the game’s landscape and establishing rules and choices for the first-person player, to designing a color scheme and soundtrack that subtly cue the players to their success or failure in “living deliberately.” And we’ll think together about the remarkable possibilities of games and their ability to help us navigate our complicated, ever-changing world.
This special INconversation is proudly presented in partnership with GenCon.
INconversation with Jonathan Eller
October 23, 2017 | Ash & Elm Cider Company
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the seven-decade career of writer Ray Bradbury. Today Bradbury’s books, papers and many personal artifacts are housed at IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Professor Jonathan Eller, one of the world’s foremost experts on the author, is shepherd of this incredible treasure trove. He joins us for this Quantum Leap INconversation to discuss Bradbury and his legacy, the deep connections between the author and the space program, and the unique role of science fiction in helping us imagine the future.
Thanks to a partnership with Ash & Elm Cider Company, attendees will be able to sip a limited-edition cider inspired by Bradbury’s famous dandelion wine recipe. Ray Haberski, Professor of History and Director of American Studies at IUPUI, will moderate.