STRW local: Lunch Talks

Lunch Talks

An Art & Science Collaboration based on Red Sprites

Peter McLeish is a Canadian born painter /multi-media artist / filmmaker with a Bachelors and Masters degree of Fine Arts. However, Peter's initial education was in the sciences -specializing in advanced mathematics & physics. He has given over 80 solo and group exhibitions and/or film presentations and lectures in over 60 cities in many countries including Australia, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales), the United States, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Germany and Italy. Peter received over twenty various types of grants and/or awards from different branches of the Canadian and Quebec Governments. Since 2001, Peter has been collaborating with American scientist Dr. Walter A. Lyons, on multi-media projects based on an upper atmospheric optical phenomenon (associated with thunderstorms) named Red Sprites. This collaboration eventually led to Walter A. Lyons receiving a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for the creation of the DVD titled The Hundred Year Hunt for Red Sprites and interactive website. Peter has also been cooperating with Dr. Colin Price from University of Tel Aviv- Israel on the previous NASA Space Shuttle Columbia's MEIDEX mission. Since 2008, Peter has been developing project and films based on the Polar Regions/ Climate Change and other phenomena. He has given numerous newspaper, magazine , television & radio interviews in many countries including in TheWeather (Spring/2012 edition) a London-UK based magazine article titled High Art. His research has also been documented in many publications around the world such as his Leonardo Journal/The MIT Press article titled THE HISTORIC SEARCH FOR RED SPRITES: How my Art Meets Science in “Lightning’s Angels”. During his tours of the United Kingdom, he lectured at prestigious institutions and organizations such as Oxford University, the University of Cambridge, the Royal Astronomical Society in London, the Royal Meteorological Society in Reading, the Institute of Physics Headquarters in London. He has also given lectures / film presentations at some of the best museums such as the Natural History Museum in London-United Kingdom, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C-United States, the Australian Museum in Sydney-Australia and the Vienna Natural History Museum in Austria. He has the unique opportunity of giving science lectures / film presentations for major science institutions, museums/centers as well as giving art lectures, film presentations and exhibitions for art institutions, museums and centers such the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago-United States, the Spazio Oberdan in Milan- Italy , Sala Emilio Saraco / Neuquén Museum of Fine Arts in Neuquén–Argentina, the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull-United Kingdom, the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh-United States, the TELUS World of Science-Calgary in Calgary-Canada, Canada South Science City in Windsor-Canada, the Evansville Museum of Arts History and Science in Indiana-United States, the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle Upon Tyne-United Kingdom, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington-New Zealand, Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science & History in Palmerston North-New Zealand, the Geological Museum-Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen-Denmark, Planetarium Hamburg in Hamburg-Germany, Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center in Copenhagen-Denmark, the Art Centre Silkeborg Bad in Silkeborg-Denmark and the ArtScience Museum in Singapore. His previous 4 tours of Australia included museums and institutions such as the Queensland Museum South Bank in Brisbane, the National Museum of Australia in Canberra-Australia, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, the Royal Institution of Australia in Adelaide, Wollongong Science Centre in Wollongong, the Australian Museum in Sydney, the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Brisbane , Scitech in Perth and Imaginarium Science Centre in Devonport (Tasmania). Peter believes it is important to promote unity, between art and science in order to create a better understanding of the natural world. His lecture/ film presentation (DVD) would contain the following films: At the Edge of Space (53 minutes) Between the blue sky above and the infinite blackness beyond lies a frontier that scientists have only just begun to investigate. In "At the Edge of Space," NOVA takes viewers on a spectacular exploration of the Earth-space boundary that's home to some of nature's most puzzling and alluring phenomena: the shimmering aurora, streaking meteors, and fleeting flashes that shoot upwards from thunderclouds, known as sprites. Only discovered in 1989, sprites have eluded capture because they exist for a mere split-second—40-times faster than an eye blink. NOVA rides with scientists in a high-flying weather observation plane on a hunt for sprites, finally snaring them in 3D video and gaining vital clues to unraveling their mystery. Combining advanced video technology with stunning footage shot from the International Space Station, "At the Edge of Space" probes the boundary zone and offers an entirely new perspective on our home planet. This film features NASA Space Shuttle Columbia's MEIDEX mission. Lightning`s Angels (6 minutes) My interpretation of Red sprites as art are presented in the form of a 2002 video titled "Lightning's Angels". This video was presented at many major International art & science symposiums, conferences, festivals and events all around the world. Lightning's Angels is a six minute video that combines digitally enhanced oil paintings of a Red sprite, in various states of transformation, accompanied by the song MISERERE from the CD STATE OF GRACE by Paul Schwartz featuring the Joyful Company of Singers. The images displayed in my video are of a Red sprite as seen from up above or from a high altitude aircraft and/or Space Shuttle. This video was created with the cooperation & assistance from American scientist Dr. Walter A. Lyons: FMA Research

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Unless announced otherwise, the lunch talks start at 12:50 sharp. The approximate duration of the lunch talk is given above, and additional time will be given for questions and discussion following the presentation. Please make sure that you take ample time to pick up your lunch beforehand.

Information for Speakers and Hosts: Talks are limited to 25 minutes, with 5 additional minutes for questions. Hosts are responsible for bringing the speaker to the correct room in ample time to set up laptops etc., and for ensuring the speaker also has time for lunch.


For questions and/or suggestions concerning the lunch talks, please contact Themiya Nanayakkara () or Alvaro Hacar ()).