University to launch SMART Festival

One of the world's best-known scientists is the keynote speaker for a new event organized by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette: the Science Meets Art Festival, which will be held Oct. 25 and 26.

Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, is the author of the best-selling book, “The Physics of Star Trek.” He has contributed to newspapers such as “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal,” and has written columns for “New Scientist,” “Scientific American” and “Slate.” Krauss appears regularly on radio and television.

“We're very fortunate to have Lawrence Krauss join us for the inaugural SMART Festival. He is an engaging speaker and dedicated public educator,” said Dr. Natalia Sidorovskaia, a professor of physics at UL Lafayette and head of its Department of Physics. In August, James Dent, a UL Lafayette physicist, co-authored a paper with Krauss that offers a possible explanation about the origin of dark matter, a component of the universe.

Sidorovskaia said the goal of the festival is to interest the public — including young people — in learning more about the connections between science and art. “They are two sides of the same coin, because creativity fuels scientific discovery,” she said.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will be held at two locations. It begins Friday evening at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, in the University's Research Park, at 537 Cajundome Blvd. On Saturday, events will be held simultaneously at LITE and at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, 710 E. St. Mary Blvd.

Friday's lineup begins at 6 p.m., with a performance of electronic music. Robert Skinner and Juliette Ioup of the University of New Orleans will present “The Science and Music of the Theremin.” The theremin, an electronic musical instrument, is played without the musician touching the device. Instead, the performer moves his or her hands near two metal antennas to produce sound.

Krauss, who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of the University of Arizona's Origins Project, will speak at 7 p.m. The topic of his talk is “The Hidden Universe: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions.” His presentation will be followed by a reception and book signing.

The events on Saturday begin at 10 a.m. at the Hilliard University Art Museum. It will offer two exhibits, “Intimate Science,” which was organized by the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, and NASA's “Earth As Art.”

Also on Saturday, a group of artists from Los Angeles, known as Machine Project, will offer a workshop, “Mind Reading for the Left and Right Brain,” at the museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants, who must be 18 or older, will learn basic soldering and electronics skills to create primitive lie detectors. Registration is required as there is a limit of 30 participants.

From noon until 4 p.m. at LITE, visitors can learn what happens behind the scenes in video game design, art and animation design, film effects and 3-D conversions. These activities are offered by LITE and Pixel Magic.

There also will be hands-on demonstrations and talks on topics ranging from dark matter to understanding science through art.

To register for the workshop, call (337) 482-0817. For more information about the festival, visit or

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