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Lyceum Society June 2019


for Members

Lyceum Society June 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019

The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York

Presented By


Established in 1993, The Lyceum Society is comprised of the Academy’s retired and semi-retired Members. These Members are from diverse backgrounds, have different areas of scientific interest and expertise, and have practiced many professions. Their disciplines include Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemical and Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Information Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, and many others.

The Society hosts convivial monthly meetings at the Academy. These meetings feature lectures and discussions with scientists from around the world, and also provide participating Members with the opportunity to give self-directed presentations and seminars based on their own specialties or new research interests. All Academy Members are welcome.

All Lyceum meetings (except December) are Brown Bag lunches.


Nonmember Student, Undergrad, Grad, Fellow
Member Student, Post-Doc, Fellow


Uldis Blukis
Harmon McAllister


June 03, 2019

11:00 AM

Brown Bag Lunch

12:45 PM

Technoscience Is in Its Youth Today. How May It Mature?


Uldis Blukis
Professor Emeritus, Brooklyn College

Modern technoscience–science and its technology–is only about two centuries old. Generally, it has been youthfully optimistic, even hubristic about the benefits to humanity and negligent of the malefits of its many civilization-changing techno-innovations. The resulting bias has contributed to the likely unsustainability of our technoscientific civilization. As science matures it will engage in a broadly conceived self-assessment. A more sustainable approach may address broadly and equally the potential benefits and malefits of an innovation and emerge with an estimate of net benefits. It will recognize its full responsibility for our civilization by systematically increasing its participation in legislative and executive governance, in addition to its traditional advisory role.

1:15 PM

Main Presentation: Alien Gesticulations: Movement Science and the Nazi State


Whitney E. Laemmli, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

In 1928, the German choreographer Rudolf Laban announced what he believed to be an explosive development in the history of humankind: the creation of a written system for “objectively” recording human movement on paper. Inspired by earlier discoveries in physiology and physics, Laban believed that his technique would produce a new field of science capable of influencing people’s thoughts and feelings by controlling their movements. By prescribing proper movements, therefore, Laban believed he could shape both individual personalities and build a new, more robust German culture, freed from foreign influences. Through the “movement choirs” he created across Weimar Germany, Laban refined his ideas; he later rose to prominence in the Nazi state. After falling out of favor, however, he brought his movement theories to wartime Britain, where he set to work improving the conditions of industrial labor. But unlike previous peddlers of “scientific management,” Laban promised to make workers more contented in their duties instead of merely more productive, creating a new and more pernicious form of management science that aimed to alter the consciousness of employees, ridding them of feelings of ennui and rebellion. Ironically, Laban’s theories found their greatest success in the corporate boardrooms of postwar American and Britain, where Laban’s acolytes offered a new technique for evaluating job applicants and promotion cases via employees’ unconscious movements.