Paul S. Weiss

& Brandon Ballengée

with Moderator JD Talasek

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.  Join National Academies Keck Futures Initiative grantees Drs. Brandon Ballengée, artist, biologist and environmental educator and nanoscientist Paul Weiss as they reveal early discoveries from their projects Crude Life: A Citizen Art and Science Investigation of Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Toward the InnerNet: An Integrated Sensor Analysis of Biome/Microbiome Systems, Employing Novel Interactivity Through Acoustics and Design for Personalized Health Monitoring.


Paul S. Weiss & Brandon Ballengée Talk

with moderator JD Talasek

Wednesday, July 12, 2017



Cost > Free with RSVP

Space > Limited

The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) is a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with support from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Launched in 2003, NAKFI occupies a unique space in the landscape of efforts to support innovative, cross-disciplinary research and inquiry. More than 2000 scientists, engineers and medical researchers from academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and government agencies have benefitted from NAKFI’s adaptive, rigorous, and original approach to fostering collaboration.   NAKFI also supports scientific communication by awarding four $20,000 cash prizes to those who bring science, engineering and medicine to the public through books, newspapers, television, radio, films and online media. 


JD Talasek is the director of Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (  Talasek is creator and moderator for a monthly salon called DASER (DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous) held at the NAS, part of the LASER network. He is currently on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University in the Museum Studies Master’s Program.  Additionally, Talasek serves on the Contemporary Art and Science Committee (CASC) at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.  He is the art advisor for Issues in Science and Technology Magazine and is currently the Art and Design Advisor for the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative based in Irvine, CA.  Talasek is a board member of Leonardo/ International Society for Art Science and Technology and was the 2016 chair of the Leonardo Education Arts Forum He was the creator and organizer of two international on-line symposia (and coeditor of the subsequent published transcripts: Visual Culture + Bioscience (2009, DAP)  and Visual Culture + Evolution (2010, DAP).


ArtScienceConverged is the 24th experiment of Le Laboratoire, and a public introduction to the inaugural World Frontiers Forum, a global initiative aimed at sparking creative action around a sustainable and inclusive human future. The cultural exhibition blends the Lab's futurist experimentation with the culinary program of Café ArtScience. Artists, scientists, engineers, designers and other creators bring to the public performances, exhibitions, and conversations at 15 frontiers of tomorrow, ranging from biology to architecture, transportation and contemporary art. In the future of a sustainable human experience all frontiers merge.

Paul S. Weiss holds a UC Presidential Chair and is a distinguished professor of chemistry & biochemistry and of materials science & engineering at UCLA. He is a nanoscientist studying the ultimate limits of miniaturization, with research that spans chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, and biomedicine. As part of that work, he has developed new nanoscale tools, microscopes that can manipulate atoms and can simultaneously measure structure and function with better than atomic resolution. He works to expand nanolithography to include the chemical dimension. He helped propose and led the technology roadmaps for the BRAIN and microbiome initiatives. He founded and serves the leading nanoscience journal ACS Nano as editor-in-chief.

Artist, biologist and environmental educator Dr. Brandon Ballengée creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Ballengée’s art has been exhibited internationally and in the summer of 2013 the first career survey of his work debuted at the Château de Charamarande in Essonne, France, and travelled to the Museum Het Domein in Sittard, Netherlands in 2014.  In 2016 a 20-year retrospective of his work was held at University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie, Wyoming with a forthcoming book. He holds a Ph.D. in Transdisciplinary Art and Biology from the University of Plymouth (England) in collaboration with the Hochschule für Gestaltung Zürich (Switzerland). Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, studying the impact on fish species from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Currently he is a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington D.C.