Galileo’s Legacy Conference this year’s theme “Your Brain on the Arts” with three keynote speakers that even the snow could not stop on Feb 24-25, 2011.
The conference started on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. with Anne Dhu McLucas. Mark Rollins was to follow Thursday night at 7:15 p.m. but due to the snow, Mr. Rollins was rescheduled for Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. Joseph Anderson directly followed Mr. Rollins after a short 10-minute break. Mark Mikkelsen, professor of Philosophy, writes the grants and does the scheduling that made The Galileo Legacy Conference possible.
Each event for the conference had between 20 and 40 people in the audience depending on the speaker, the low numbers were attributed to the weather. “These have always been this good, we just want more people here,” Mikkelsen said.
The conference was a joint event between the Biology, history, philosophy and geography departments. This year’s speakers talked about music, visual art and film combining their study and research on the brain with focus on the cognitive processing of aural and visual phenomena.
Each presentation was followed by a short question-and-answer period where the other keynote speakers where prompted to ask questions first, followed by audience members.
“We do this because we want academic programs at Missouri Western to develop further,” Mikkelsen said. “We hope this has positive impact on the further development of courses. We want to see this contribute to that,” Mikkelsen said, “this is all for everybody.”
Anne Dhu McLucas gave a presentation titled The Musical Ear Memory, the Brain and Oral Tradition.
McLucas’s presentation gave a brief history Galileo’s father Vincenzo Galilei, and then she proceeded into her presentation.
She spoke about the wisdoms she would challenge within her presentation and the concepts she would introduce to those in attendance.
“It was really interesting to think how the mind perceives different types of songs, like she gave the example: Happy Birthday versus a popular song, how your mind remembers that differently based on the context you heard it in,” student Jamie Haffner said. “I never considered that.”
“On that Happy Birthday, she said to slow it down and you would stay in the same key, but when I went faster in my head I changed keys I went higher I was like, ‘whoa that is really cool and weird,’” student Matt Musselman said.
Mark Rollins spoke on the Riddle of Style How to understand the fact that world has been represented in so many ways. Rollins showed a picture of a mask that was concave in reality but in the picture looked convex and spoke on the illusion in the mind.
“It’s really interesting especially for the philosophy department to be able to bring in outside philosophers to talk about interesting things like this,” student Josh said.
Joseph Anderson was the last speaker his presentation entitled ‘Steps toward Ecological of the arts.’ Anderson used different movies to depict his theory along with animal behavior.
“He opened up a discussion that doesn’t get opened up much at Missouri Western or anywhere for that matter,” student Ashley Rose said.
Despite the weather, this year’s Galileo’s Legacy Conference concluded with students and faculty having new ideas to ponder.
“These where first rate presentations. These where as good as you would get anywhere and it happened here at Missouri Western,” Mikkelsen said. “Anybody who missed this year’s conference, look for the next one.”