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What is Color?

Sunday, June 1, 2014
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

How do you see colors, and do they look the same to everyone? It’s not an easy question. Most human eyes can see around 10 million different colors, but our eyes can’t see other spectra of light that many insects, birds, and fish can see. Some colors even look different when your brain compares them to other colors, something painters such as Monet and Matisse took advantage of.  And some people, synesthetes, can invent colors to go along with words, numbers, or even music. In an action-packed hour, our audience and experts will delve into the world of color. It all leads up to a dazzling sound and light show, helping us see the colors a young synesthete has in her head when she rocks out on the electric violin.

This program is in association with the Flame Challenge, an annual contest held by The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.


Alan AldaActor, Author, Director

Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy® Award winner, played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator.

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David EaglemanNeuroscientist, Author

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, best-selling author, and Guggenheim Fellow who holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

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Kaitlyn HovaNeuroscientist, Violinist/Composer

Kaitlyn Hova is a neuroscientist performing violinist/composer and the creator of ‘The Synesthesia Network’. Hova has several types of synesthesia, a neurological condition where stimulation of one sense triggers experiences in a second sense.

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Bevil ConwayNeuroscientist, Artist

Bevil Conway, originally from Zimbabwe, is an artist and neuroscientist who researches the neural basis for visual behavior, with a focus on color vision, and investigates the relationship between visual processing and visual art.

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Jay NeitzOphthalmologist

Jay Neitz is a vision researcher and professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington in Seattle. At the Neitz Lab, he explores color vision in primates to better understand the visual system and develop gene therapies for human vision problems.

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