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2015 NAKFI Conference
Art and Science, Engineering, and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation & Realization

The 2015 NAKFI Conference took place at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California on November 12-14, beginning with a welcome reception on November 11, and ending with a closing reception on the evening of November 14.  NAKFI paid all travel and confernce related expenses for selected attendees.

“Art leads to scientific innovation and science inspires art. Like a pair of bookends they work best when used in tandem and change the way we view the world.  Without one you can’t have the other…”[1]
-Kristi Charish, scientist and author, Owl & The Japanese Circus
 
The Renaissance has been described as an “integrative period” of unified knowledge – a time during which art and science were one.  Homo Universalis, or polymaths, embraced a proficient understanding of art, architecture, science and engineering, leading to a period of wondrous discovery.  A shift from integration to specialization occurred over time, which some presume has separated the domains of knowledge and experience and contributed to distinct cultures.
 
Have the cultures really become distinct? There are multiple examples of collaborations ranging from American painter Abbot Thayer’s invention of camouflage to composer George Antheil and actress Hedy Lamarr’s collaboration that led to the invention of “frequency hopping” – the encryption technology on cell phones that helps to prevent messages from being intercepted. Stents used to treat aortic aneurysms were designed using the principles of origami, and Kenneth Snelson’s tensegrity sculptures have created a new form of engineering and have helped biologists explain the shapes of cells[2].
 
Every frontier of human inquiry is art-science in nature in that intuition and imagination are equal partners to deduction and precision. The question is not whether art, design, science, engineering, and medicine are distinct and should be fully integrated, but how do they meet to serve as the bookends for innovation. 
 
The NAKFI Conference on Art and Science, Engineering, and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation & Realization will bring together a diverse group of participants to:
  • explore how arts, design, sciences, engineering, and medicine can stimulate a  renaissance of  innovation that solves real-world problems;
  • discover how collaborations can engage the public and other scientists and encourage discourse in important issues;
  • examine how creative disruption and aesthetic experience engage the human mind to stimulate creativity and innovation;
  • create concrete projects that can (and ultimately do) lead to at least one of four kinds of impact – educational , cultural, social and scientific.
 
 
[1] Charish K. Art, science, and the great disconnect: http://www.scwist.ca/art-science-and-the-great-disconnect/
[2] Root-Bernstein R. 11 Apr 2011. The art of scientific and technological innovations. ScienceBlogs. Accessed December 12, 2014: http://scienceblogs.com/art_of_science_learning/2011/04/11/the-art-of-scientific-and-tech-1/.