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The Pill: Chemistry, Art & Art History and the Legacy of Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi
October 20, 2017 -
5:30pm to 7:00pm
Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building

About the Event

The Departments of Art & Art History and Chemistry at Stanford University present The Pill: Chemistry, Art & Art History and the Legacy of Carl Djerassi.

A renaissance man in every sense of the word, Stanford professor Carl Djerassi is widely known for his remarkable achievements in chemistry and the arts. The world-renowned scientist, artist, poet and novelist is remembered most as the man who sparked a cultural revolution by developing the first oral contraceptive, which earned him the nickname, “Father of the Pill.” After his illustrious career as a chemist, he spent the final decades of his life writing many popular novels, poems and plays, which detailed the everyday struggles of a scientist. Always a champion of women in science, many of his written works highlighted the great contributions female scientists make to the field. Also an avid supporter of the arts, he established the Djerassi Resident Artists Program on his California ranch, a unique program that has benefitted hundreds of artists.

During this special event, faculty and students from the Departments of Chemistry and Art & Art History at Stanford University will come together to honor the legacy of Carl Djerassi with thought-provoking presentations that explore the integration of science with the arts.

Please join us from 5:30 – 7 PM on Friday, October 20th in Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building. A reception will follow.

Video Recording

To watch a video recording of the event, please visit our YouTube page, and watch the playlistSpecial thanks to Christian Dahlen for filming the event.

Presentations

Adam Tobin: "The Gestation of an Idea: 'The Pill' for Hollywood”

Few chemical advances have had as immediate a societal impact as the birth control pill, and its journey from laboratory to ubiquity spanned the efforts of multiple scientists, investors, and advocates. This talk will explore the challenges, opportunities, and potential decisions in shaping the development of the pill as a season-long television series. 

Marci Kwon: "Chemistry and Craft"

Chemistry and craft share a concern with structure, composition, and the transformation of matter.  This paper explores their intersections, and specifically their common feminist valences, through the work of artists Yoko Ono and Mel Chin, as well as the recent demonstrations in Washington D.C.

Pavle Levi: "The Science of Cinema” 

This talk will explore a peculiar creative aspiration shared by a number of filmmakers and film theorists from different epochs and regions of the world (Sergei Eisenstein, Maya Deren, Pier Paolo Pasolini, etc.): To apply formal objectivity to questions of medium specificity, that is, to present the cinema's distinct features in a vocabulary of "absolute signification" akin to that of mathematics and natural sciences.

Jen Hope and Sarah Noll: "The Art of Science"

As chemists and biochemists, we devote our careers to solving microscopic mysteries. Though our research operates on scales from subatomic to molecular, our understanding relies on an intuition we build over a lifetime in the macroscopic world. Art is a critical bridge between the micro and the macro: artists' renderings are vital to understanding, communicating, and appreciating the work that we do every day in the lab.As chemists and biochemists, we devote our careers to solving microscopic mysteries. Though our research operates on scales from subatomic to molecular, our understanding relies on an intuition we build over a lifetime in the macroscopic world. Art is a critical bridge between the micro and the macro: artists' renderings are vital to understanding, communicating, and appreciating the work that we do every day in the lab.

Lynette Cegelski: "Entanglement of Art with Science"

Scientific discoveries often involve creativity, curiosity, persistence and scientific excellence. These discoveries - the unifying formulas, the spectral changes, the beautiful microscope images, the DaVinci type architectural schematics, and even the process of communicating science through an expertly choreographed multi-chalkboard lecture - display undeniable artistic qualities. Yet, art and science are even more cooperative and entangled. Inspired by Carl Djerassi’s unending entanglements of art with science, we will look forward by looking back.

Photos

https://chemistry.stanford.edu/photos-art-chem-event