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Judit Hersko (CSU San Marcos) & Peter Franks (UC San Diego) & Jules Jaffe (UC San Diego SIO/Jaffe Lab)

January 26, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

*Aligning with UC San Diego’s COVID policies, this talk is hosted entirely online. Please register via Zoom.

UPDATE: New Zoom registration link created for this event.


Pages from the Book of the Unknown Explorer (Judit Hersko)
“Pages from the Book of the Unknown Explorer” is a series of narratives structured around objects from the archives of a fictitious, unknown, female explorer, Anna Schwartz. This layered story builds on collaboration with scientists as well as experience in Antarctica made possible by an NSF Antarctic Artists and Writers Grant. It addresses climate change through the legacy of Anna Schwartz whose research and passion focused on organisms that are under threat today due to ocean acidification. The current presentation will center on a chapter that explores SIO history including one century of research conducted at the SIO pier.

Design Challenges Improve Scientific Thinking (Peter Franks)
As an oceanographer, my collaborations with Jules Jaffe have introduced new tools to oceanographic research, generating surprising and novel observations of the dynamics of the ocean. Putting these tools and observations together has led me to new ways of understanding the ocean, and how its motions affect the tiny planktonic organisms that live there.  Advances in design often arise by thinking about old problems in new ways. The same is true of science. I will share how the creative approaches to furniture joinery are similar to the creative approaches leading to new scientific understanding. The construction of objects as commonplace as wooden tables and cabinet doors has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years, largely due to the need to accommodate movements of wood with changes in humidity. The introduction of new tools has allowed the emergence of new designs that move past the constraints of wood movement and entrenched scientific thinking.

How the Creative Process of Design can Lead to Innovative Craftsmanship and Scientific Discovery (Jules Jaffe)
Jaffe will present highlights from his work ranging from the design of and research with underwater cameras and microscopes for in-situ characterization of micro and macro plankton and a new generation of miniature, sensor-equipped drifters that can acoustically network to gain insight about coastal circulation and larval transport. He will also speak about the connection of this practice to his award-winning woodworking design and craft, a practice that has been a creative undercurrent throughout his career in oceanography.

About the Speakers

Judit Hersko is an installation artist who works in the intersection of art and science. She collaborates with scientists on visualizing climate change science through art and narrative. Her current practice involves storytelling through performances that incorporate the objects she makes. Hersko’s work has received national as well as international recognition. In 1997 she represented her native Hungary at the Venice  Biennale and in 2007 her work was featured in Weather Report: Art and Climate Change,  curated by Lucy Lippard for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2008 she received the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Grant and spent six weeks in Antarctica working with scientists. She has presented extensively on this work at universities, research institutions, conferences, and symposia around the world and she has published several articles and book chapters. Hersko is a Professor in the  Department of Art, Media, and Design at California State University San Marcos, where she initiated the Art and Science Project.

Peter Franks is Distinguished Professor of Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. He studies how the physics of the ocean affects the growth, distributions, and interactions of plankton in the ocean, investigating spatial scales from microns to thousands of kilometers, and dynamics from microscale turbulence to oceanic frontal systems. His work has led to new understanding of the dynamics leading spatial patchiness of plankton in fronts, internal waves, and turbulence. Peter uses models, field data, and — in collaboration with Jules Jaffe — novel technologies, to explore the ocean’s plankton. Peter obtained his BSc (honours, 1st class) in Biology from Queen’s University, Canada, followed by a MSc in Biological Oceanography from Dalhousie University, Canada. He then went on to earn his PhD from the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Physical Oceanographic Modeling at Oregon State University, Peter joined the faculty of SIO in 1993, where he has enjoyed a fruitful and interesting career.

Jules Jaffe is a research oceanographer with the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he leads the Jaffe Lab and develops and experiments with new technologies for observing and interpreting phenomena such as phytoplankton morphology and motility. His research has focused primarily on ocean ecology, but he has also worked in biomedical applications. In the realm of ocean ecology, several acoustic systems invented by Jaffe resulted in the first-ever behavioral observations of zooplankton in situ. His work in mapping the small-scale distribution of phytoplankton with an autonomously deployed imaging fluorometer has provided unprecedented views of oceanic biota. His Scripps Pier plankton camera is enjoyed by everyone from scientists to school children. Jaffe has won awards not only for microscopy but also for woodworking. Most recently, his MCM-influenced “Zig School won the A’Design Award in 2019.

About Design@Large

Design@Large is a speaker series hosted by The Design Lab at UC San Diego, where each quarter we examine a topic in society and the relevance and implications through the lens of human centered design.

Our theme this quarter is “Winter Polar Reversals ~~~ from the Future to the Past~~~~ from the Sky to the Ocean Floor”.

Follow along as speakers in ocean media, maker, and mapping cultures shift your geopolitical orientation. It’s cold on Zoom. Bring your life jacket. Hourlong lectures will be followed by workshops, walks, immersive experiences, and/or hands-on making and doing, to be performed on Zoom when pandemic circumstances bring us together remotely.


January 26, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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