The elevator taking guests to Ceviche’s third floor was packed. No one knew quite what to expect when they arrived Jan. 13 at the entrance of a room typically engulfed in Latin music and used for salsa dancing.
The event was Mote Marine’s inaugural Science Café, featuring This Week in Sarasota’s Matt Orr as moderator, and panelists Dr. Randy Wells, manager of Mote’s Dolphin Research Program, and Michael Donald Edwards, producing artistic director of the Asolo Repertory Theatre.
The café was intended to mimic the popular 1920s salons, which explored topics of the day. The January Science Café intended to celebrate Asolo’s staging of “The Life of Galileo” and explore the role of creativity in both art and science.
Exactly 400 years ago, Galileo pointed his telescope at the moon and tried to grasp what he was seeing. The revered father of modern science was the first to realize that we are a solar-centric universe, rather than geo-centric. Until that point, people assumed the Earth was the center of the universe.
“The play is incredibly timely,” Edwards said. “Our senses tell us the Earth is flat and isn’t moving — that the sun is moving around us. But you guys (Wells and other scientists) tell us that our senses are actually lying to us.”
Creativity is necessary for both the scientific method and the artistic process — a way of viewing the world outside of the norm. But, according to Wells, most people don’t understand the process of the scientific method or the way that science works.
“I’m one of those kids who used to cry at algebra,” Edwards said. “I thrived in a world of artistic engagement with the world. The mode of inquiry released a whole new world of intelligence.”
“Life of Galileo” runs through Feb. 17, at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.
Contact Loren Mayo at firstname.lastname@example.org.