Paul Sutter, an astrophysics scholar visiting Ohio State, will be speaking at the upcoming TedxOhioStateUniversity event on Saturday. Sutter will discuss the correlation between art and science.
“I don’t believe that arts and science should always be considered separate. There’s a lot to learn from scientists working with artists,” Sutter said. “Working with artists creates beautiful outreach products, but oftentimes scientists can learn from artists — they have a different way of looking at things, a different language; they have a different worldview, and we can build off each other to share that common sense of humanity that we all have.”
Sutter worked on a project that combines both science and art. The project, named “Song of the Stars,” is a dance routine that tells the story of the life of a star.
Columbus’ own Seven Dance Company has been working alongside Sutter in producing the show to teach others about the beauty of astronomy.
The production of “Song of the Stars” premiered on April 21 at the Capitol Theatre, and Sutter said he will be sharing his overall experience at the upcoming TedxOhioStateUnivsersity talk.
“It’s this amazing opportunity. I’ve been working with the dancers, and I’ve taken what I know in science, like things we’ve learned in astronomy, and stripped away the loads of information and the data to find a story and to find an emotional hook to present a scenario,” Sutter said.
The production shows the multiple life stages of stars through dance. For example, the dancers could depict a star nurturing a group of planets, or a star exploding and dying.
“There are many of these poignant stories to tell, and I’ve been sharing these stories with dancers and choreographers, and allowing that to inspire their movements, allowing that to guide how they want to structure a dance around it, so it’s not like the physics are dictating the movements of dancers because that will get very boring,” Sutter said.
Joe Camoriano, director of national broadcast media, said in an email that Sutter strives to make his teachings fun and exciting.
“Dr. Sutter takes his teaching and research very seriously, but does so with a flare of witty humor that makes science exciting. His approach to learning is fun,” Camoriano said. “As an on-camera expert in everything related to space and astronomy, his enthusiasm toward his research, and the universe in general, makes him stand out from many boring scientists.”
TedxOhioStateUniversity is sold out but can be livestreamed at 1 p.m. on Saturday.