the architecture of PLAY, and the play of ARCHITECTURE

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Playing with materials, the design decisions based on responses from material processes are integral to the art of craft.  The embodied knowledge of making is gained through the physical interaction with materials, searching for an order rooted in history, perception and materiality.[1]

Creativity in architecture can be based on the transformation of matter. Different from the formal imagination, the material imagination can give rise to images provoked solely and directly from an immediate confrontation, interpretation, and manipulation of matter. These images may be assigned a category by the eye but only the hand truly reveals them. They depend on visceral readings that are projected through qualities such as mass, material surface, texture, or light, space, and time.

Continue reading the architecture of PLAY, and the play of ARCHITECTURE

Kellie Robertson on Nature’s Voices

What if we used the term “nature” instead of “environment”? What would it look like to have a department of nature studies? Why do we so frequently turn to silent depictions of nature, while medieval literature and natural philosophy found it thinkable to personify Nature as a talkative woman? What do we lose when we no longer let nature speak?

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ARPA-E Announcement: Generator Technology Funding Opportunity

From the ARPA-E Newsletter:

“ARPA-E has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for its newest program, GENerators for Small Electrical and Thermal Systems (GENSETS). The program will fund the development of disruptive generator technologies that will enable widespread deployment of residential combined heat and power systems. The ARPA-E GENSETS program seeks transformative generators/engines with 1 kW of electrical output that have high efficiency, long life, low cost, and low emissions.

The deadline to submit a Concept Paper is December 1, 2014. Additional information, including the full Funding Opportunity Announcement and how to find project teaming partners, is available on ARPA-E’s online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANGE (”

Limited Submission: NSF Partnerships for Innovation: (BIC) on Smart Service Systems

The National Science Foundation is currently soliciting proposals for their PFI: Building Innovation Capacity (BIC) program under the topic of Smart Service Systems. This is a limited submission with an institutional limit of two.  Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program supports academia-industry partnerships to focus on post-discovery, academic-led research that advances, adapts and integrates technology into a human-centered smart service system and builds innovation capacity:

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David Bates at the Humanities Center PostHUMANities series

The second lecture in the PostHUMANities series organized by Lehigh’s Humanities Center, was given by Prof. David Bates, chair of the Rhetoric Department at Berkeley University. His lecture, part of a project provisionally titled Human Insight: An Artificial History of Natural Intelligence, examined the history of artificial intelligence and cybernetics.

In a talk that spoke to historians of science and technology, media theorists, cognitive scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship between cognition and technology in a digital world, Prof. Bates argued that philosophical and scientific discourses of the mind and of technology both depend on analogies between cognitive processes and computational systems. Professor Bates highlighted the ways in which the brain has been seen to function like a machine and, inversely, machines have been understood to operate much like minds—from the early modern period to today. Continue reading David Bates at the Humanities Center PostHUMANities series

Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Announcement from DoD

The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) funding opportunity from the Department of Defense is now accepting white papers for research grants for nineteen listed topics (also copied below). MURI efforts involve teams of researchers (from one or more institutions) investigating high priority topics and opportunities that intersect more than one traditional technical discipline.

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Accelerator Grant Brown Bag TOMORROW, October 8th, at 12 Noon

Tomorrow (Wednesday, 10/8), we will be holding an information session on the Accelerator Grant Program in the Humanities Center (West Packer Avenue, Across from the Packer House).  Light refreshments will be provided.  Please feel free to bring your lunch and your questions about the program.

Also, please be aware that the dates for the Accelerator Grant Program have been updated.  The new dates are:

Continue reading Accelerator Grant Brown Bag TOMORROW, October 8th, at 12 Noon

Strohl Grants: Guidance for Preparing Stellar Applications

On October 17th, applications are due for the 2014 Fall Strohl Undergraduate Research and Senior Thesis Grants.  The purpose of the Strohl Grant Program is to encourage students in the humanities and/or social sciences to pursue independent, engaged research outside of their normal coursework.  These independent projects should be mentored by a faculty member and should expand the experiences, perspectives, and skills of our students.

As the administrator for this program, I get a lot of questions about the program’s intent and what makes a great Strohl Research Grant proposal.  I’ve sat down to collect some of the best bits of advice to help guide you as a student or a mentor in preparing a successful application.

Continue reading Strohl Grants: Guidance for Preparing Stellar Applications

Wildly interdisciplinary

Now and then, we hear a great lecture, followed by the discussion it evokes, and tick off a list of people who would have thoroughly appreciated both. Cary Wolfe’s talk this afternoon in the Humanities Center’s series on postHUMANities provided a prime example. Nominally about Wallace Stevens’ use of birds in his poetry, Prof. Wolfe used his discussion of Stevens’ poetics to develop points about, inter alia, ecology (whether it’s at all possible to fully delineate organism from environment, or to argue that organisms truly share the very same environment) and theory of mind (whether a mind develops or exists in an organism’s “wetware,” fully separate from its interactions with the “outside”), with some brief touches on economics, politics and ethics. For me, being weak in humanistic materials in which he assumed the audience would be well versed, yet able to recognize facility with scientific reasoning and results, the session provided a wonderful example of the variety of starting points and paths by which a good scholar can arrive at useful understanding.

Next up, on October 23: David Bates from UC Berkeley, whose interests include modern European intellectual history, history of media and technology and of political thought, cognition, epistemology, and artificial intelligence.

This is going to be an interesting series…

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