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An introduction to the Stanford Multidisciplinary Multimedia Meeting of Arts, Science and Humanities on Space of October 10, 2012 (download the pdf from )

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  1. 1. sPaCefor the SMMMASH! of October 18, 2012 piero scaruffi (download the most recent version from )
  2. 2. Space is boring… 2
  3. 3. …or the other way around? Vladimir: "It passed the time" Estragon: "Time would have passed anyway" (Samuel Beckett, "Waiting for Godot")The history of human civilization has been moreabout Space than about Time (until very recently) 3
  4. 4. Zenon’s paradox (5th c BC) • Motion between two points requires going through an infinite number of points, which requires an infinite amount of time t0 t1 t2The fastest runner in the world will never overtake the slowest turtle: by the time the 4runner reaches the point where the turtle is, the turtles has moved further away.
  5. 5. Demokritos/ Democritus• Everything is made of atoms• Nothing lies between atoms 5
  6. 6. Aristoteles/ Aristotle• The universe is full and finite• The void cannot exist 6
  7. 7. Eukleides/ Euclid (300 BC)• Geometry• Postulates (parallel lines)• A theory of space 7
  8. 8. The most important place: Paradise • Gilgamesh, Zoroaster, Bible, Buddha: the garden is the site of eternal life - horizontal spaceWestern Paradise of the BuddhaAmitabha (British Museum) 8 Zoroastrian fire temple in Yazd
  9. 9. Paradise• Middle Ages: paradise is in heaven - vertical space Simon Marmion: Livre des sept Ceiling of Mogao Cave No. 285, 9 âges du monde Dunhuang
  10. 10. Vertical SpaceChartres (12th c) Houssein mosque, Cairo (12th c) Angkor Liurong Si, Guangzhou (11th c) Nataraja temple, 10 Chidambaram
  11. 11. Ordered SpaceFirenze, Italy (1438) Machu Picchu, 11 (1472) Peru
  12. 12. Rinascimento/ Renaissance• Piero della Francesca’s age (1480) 12
  13. 13. Distant Space• Long-distance travelers – Marco Polo (13th c) – Ibn Battuta (14th c) – Zheng He (15th c) 13
  14. 14. America• Giovanni-Matteo Contarini: first map to show America (1506) North America (part of China) West Indies South America 14 14
  15. 15. Cosmic Space• Copernicus (1530): the Earth is not the center of space• Galileo (1632): the celestial world 15
  16. 16. Cosmic Space• Descartes (1637): space and geometry are computable• Descartes: space is full of matter - if there is no matter, there is no space• Von Guericke (1650) & Boyle (1659): the vacuum• Huygens (1678): an “aether gas" permeates all space (needed to explain how light propagates in space)• Newton (1687): absolute space - empty, infinite and immutable 16
  17. 17. Immanuel Kant (1781)• Space is in our mind 17
  18. 18. Non-Euclidean Geometry• The nature of parallel lines• Space can be curved• 1824: Carl Friedrich Gauss• 1830s: János Bolyai and Ivanovich Lobachevsky• 1854: Bernhard Riemann 18
  19. 19. Non-Euclidean Art• Violations of the law of perspective Turner’s blurred nature• Emancipation of color: color becomes “the” space• Impressionism: the real subject is the brush stroke itself (the very fabric of space) Manet’s curved horizon Monet’s abstract space 19
  20. 20. Travel• Steamship• Train• Airplane• Automobile 20
  21. 21. Long-distance Communications 21
  22. 22. Einstein• The aether is unnecessary• Space is not absolute• Hermann Minkowski: spacetime• General relativity: spacetime and matter interact (“curved space”)• Spacetime is not just a stage but an actor in the story of the universe 22
  23. 23. Quantum Mechanics• The Planck distance, the minimum distance between two “things”• The quantum vacuum 23
  24. 24. Cubism• Braque: a new language of space (space is discrete and empty space matters) - quantum art 24
  25. 25. Suprematism• Kazimir Malevich’s “White on White” (1918) – “It is not an empty square… it is full of the absence of any object” 25
  26. 26. Surrealism• Surrealism – Distortion of space and time Magritte 26 Tanguy
  27. 27. Modern Space• Edwin Hubble: The universe is expanding in all directions (and the expansion is accelerating)• Superstring Theory: 10 or 26 dimensions• Higgs Field: it permeates and creates our universe• Lee Smolin: A volume cannot be divided forever -there is an elementary unit of volume (also Roger Penroses spin networks) 27
  28. 28. Modern Space• Sputnik 28
  29. 29. Modern Space• Moon Landing 29
  30. 30. Modern Space• Skyscrapers 30 30
  31. 31. Non-human (post-human?) Space• Voyager• Mars Rover 31
  32. 32. Cyberspace• Reality is not real but virtual• The word "distance“ becomes meaningless 32
  33. 33. Space and Life• Life without Time? Many people would like it (no aging!)• Life without Space? Life without my favorite park, beach, cafe, library, museum…? Hmmm… 33
  34. 34. Space is not boring• Space is 34