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One Day University on Cape Cod

June 25, 2017 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:35 AM
The Genius of Mozart

Craig Wright / Yale University

When asked to provide a list of “geniuses” in Western cultural history, virtually all respondents would include the name Mozart. What is it in Mozart's music that makes it among the most sublime ever written? What personal traits did Mozart possess that enabled him to create music of this extraordinary quality?

Using live music and video clips from operas, as well as from the film Amadeus, we will explore the enormous diversity of Mozart's music. At the same time, by examining color photographs of his autograph manuscripts and draft sketches, we will witness Mozart's attention to the smallest detail. Having explored his music in both breadth and depth, our attention turns finally to the enablers of Mozart's genius: genetic gifts, mentoring, motivation, concentration, self-confidence, and just plain luck. By the end of this session, we will come to see that not only is Mozart's music great, but Mozart himself was unique, and arguably the most extraordinary creator ever to set foot on this planet.

Craig Wright / Yale University
Professor Craig Wright is the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music at Yale. Professor Wright's courses include his perennially popular introductory course "Listening to Music," his selective seminar "Exploring the Nature of Genius" and other specialized courses ranging from ancient Greek music theory to the music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Bach and Mozart. He was awarded the International Musicological Society's Edward J. Dent Medal and the American Musicological Society's Alfred Einstein Prize and Otto Kinkeldey Award - making him one of the few individuals to hold all three honors.

10:50 AM - 11:55 AM
The Remarkable Genius of Albert Einstein: His Life and Universe

Matthew Stanley / New York University

Einstein’s name is synonymous with genius. His wild-haired, thoughtful-eyed face has become an icon of modern science. His ideas changed the way we see the universe, the meaning of truth, and the very limits of human knowledge. This course will examine how Einstein’s youthful philosophical questioning led to a revolution in science. We will discuss his creation of special and general relativity, and particularly how these epochal theories emerged from his seemingly simple questions about how we experience the world. His preference for easily-visualizable thought experiments means we will be able to engage deeply with the science with very little mathematics. Einstein also pioneered quantum mechanics, only to reject its strange consequences and eventually devote his life to overturning it through a unified field theory.

Einstein’s elevation to worldwide fame was closely tied to political and social developments such as World War I, Zionism, and the rise of the Nazis. As he became an incarnation of genius, people sought out his views on everything from world peace to the nature of God – and his opinions often had surprising links to his scientific work. The picture of Einstein we end up with is a figure somehow both revolutionary and deeply traditional, emblematic of the modern age and also profoundly uncomfortable with it.

Matthew Stanley / New York University
Matthew Stanley teaches the history and philosophy of science at NYU. He holds degrees in astronomy, religion, physics, and the history of science and is interested in the connections between science and the wider culture. He is the author of "Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington" which examines how scientists reconcile their religious beliefs and professional lives. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, the British Academy, and the Max Planck Institute. Professor Stanley was awarded a 2014-2015 Gallatin Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
Creativity, Genius, and the Brain

Heather Berlin / Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

What does originality and invention look like in the brain? A full understanding of the creative process requires an exploration of unconscious processes, as well the intentional and deliberative effort that goes into creative work. A great deal of complex cognitive processing occurs at the unconscious level and affects how humans behave, think and feel. Scientists are now beginning to understand how this occurs at the neural level. In this class, Professor Berlin will present new research examining the neural basis of spontaneous creativity (i.e., improvisation), which illuminates aspects of the creative process that are governed by conscious vs. unconscious processes, and what an artists' brain can teach us about the creative "flow state."

She will also introduce research that explores our understanding of genius. What can we learn from Einstein's brain? Is there a relationship between madness and genius? Why are playfulness, creativity, and impulsivity greater during childhood than at other stages of development, and how does the brain make use of stimuli processed outside of awareness to create works of genius? By understanding how unconscious neural processes contribute to both our self-destructive habits and our highest mental faculties of creativity, we can ultimately learn to live more fulfilled lives, placing our instincts in service of our goals rather than vice versa.

Heather Berlin / Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Visiting Scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She is a committee member of the National Academy of Sciences' Science and Entertainment Exchange, and host of the PBS series "Science Goes to the Movies," and the Discovery Channel series "Superhuman Showdown."Professor Berlin has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Young Investigator Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association, the International Neuropsychological Society Phillip M. Rennick Award, and the Clifford Yorke Prize from the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society.

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