Hand holding circle with collage elements

Seeing the unseen: from brains to black holes

How does the mind conjure an idea of something that doesn't exist, or that we haven't experienced? Join us for this special Innovation Week event.

A big part of ground-breaking science is seeing what couldn’t be seen, imagining the unimaginable. Every great scientist has a fundamental capacity for creativity – crossing new frontiers of outside-the-box thinking and pushing their brainpower to superhuman levels.

What is the limit of our brain capacity and how can we translate potential brainpower into powerful discoveries? Hear from Fernando Calamante and Michael Barnett from Sydney Imaging and the Brain and Mind Centre talking about how to map brain structural networks, and how networks can be affected in disease (either by the disease process or as external modified for treatment). Physicist Céline Boehm will be talking about the recent images of black holes and dark matter. Joining them is philosopher David Braddon-Mitchell.

To close out the programme is Dr Benjamin Carey performing a new audio-visual performance for modular synthesiser and live visuals. His performance interactively explores some of the event’s themes through interactive sound and visuals. 

This event was held on Tuesday 20 August at the University of Sydney during Innovation Week 2019, which celebrates landmark discoveries and transformative inventions by the University's academics and students.

The speakers

Michael is a Professor of Neurology and a member of the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.

Fernando is the Director of Sydney Imaging, the biomedical imaging Core Research Facility at the University of Sydney. He is also a Professor in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. 

Céline joined the University of Sydney in January 2018 and is only the second woman in history to be Head of the School for Physics. As an astroparticle physicist, Céline has worked around the world, most recently as Chair of Physics at the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University, in the UK, for seven years. She has previously held academic positions in physics at the Laboratoire d’Annecy-le-Vieux de Physique Théorique in France, CERN in Switzerland, and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

David is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. He was previously at the University of Auckland and a Research Fellow at the Australian National University.

Duncan is a political philosopher with research and teaching interests in contemporary political theory, the history of political thought and moral philosophy. He is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney. Prior to this, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (2010-2015) and Head of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (2007-2009). He continues to teach in the Department of Philosophy. He has also held appointments at the University of Toronto and the University of York (UK).

Duncan was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow and Visiting Fellow in Ethics and Public Affairs at the Center for Human Values, Princeton University (2002-03), as well as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU (1993-96). He was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2009.

Benjamin is an artist and researcher working at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, whose work incorporates equal parts improvised performance, composition and the development of musical software systems. His chosen instrument, the modular synthesiser, is a complex musical system which places the human performer in a symbiotic relationship with often-unwieldy networks of electricity.

Sign up for our newsletter

Each month we'll send you details about upcoming events, and a selection of podcasts.