Event Info:

Presidential Colloquy: Photons, Sound Waves, and Data Bytes: Creativity at the Nexus of Science, Technology, Media and the Arts

The first event of the grand opening celebration of EMPAC. Acting as the overture to a symphony of events that follow, the colloquy will focus on the driving forces and dynamics of the present Conceptual Age that require interdisciplinary creativity. Three questions will carry the conversation forward: (1) Why do trends in the world today require new types of leaders, creators, discoverers, and innovators with insights that can only arise from experiential learning at the intersection of the arts and sciences? (2) How are institutions and industries evolving, driving, and responding to the cultural change brought about by the convergence of science, technology, media, and the arts? and (3) How does creating deliberate communities in physical gathering spaces—such as EMPAC, which will bring together scientists, artists, scholars, engineers, and designers—fit into a Conceptual Age whose hallmarks are “virtuality” and distributed or disembodied networks?


The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., moderator, has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. President since 1999, she has led an extraordinary transformation of Rensselaer, including the new Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, and the bold new Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). A theoretical physicist, she chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1995-1999).  Described as a "national treasure" by the National Science Board, she is a member of numerous prestigious boards and organizations including the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Colloquy Participants:

A. P. (Preetham) Parigi is Managing Director & CEO, Times Infotainment Media Ltd., and Director, Bennett, Coleman & Co., Ltd. (The Times of India).


Mr. Parigi serves on the boards of several Times of India Group companies including Times Innovative Media Limited (Out-of-Home), Times Internet Limited (Internet), Times Now (Television), and WorldWide Media (a JV with BBC). Under Mr. Parigi’s leadership, brand Radio Mirchi emerged as India’s largest private FM radio network with a daily listenership of well over 25 million. More recently he has led the Group’s first international acquisition – Absolute Radio, UK (formerly Virgin Radio Network).

Walter F. Parkes, Film Producer and Executive Producer of more than 30 films and Former Co-head of DreamWorks Pictures

For the last 14 years he has been associated with DreamWorks Pictures, which he ran from its inception in 1994 until 2005. A three-time Academy Awards nominee as director, producer, and screenwriter, Parkes’ most recent movies include The Kite Runner and the Golden Globe-winning Sweeney Todd. Other films produced or executive produced by Parkes include Gladiator, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, and The Terminal, among many others. His film WarGames garnered a “Best Original Screenplay” Oscar nomination and is widely considered to be the forerunner of the tech thriller genre.

Peter Schwartz ’68, Acclaimed Futurist, Entrepreneur, and Founder and Chairman of Global Business Network

An internationally renowned futurist and business strategist, Schwartz specializes in scenario planning, working with corporations, governments, and institutions to create alternative perspectives of the future and develop robust strategies for a changing and uncertain world. His first book, The Art of the Long View (Doubleday Currency, 1991; audio tape, 1995; paperback, 1996), is considered a seminal publication on scenario planning and has been translated into multiple languages.

Please reserve a ticket to RSVP your intent to attend the colloquy. Though tickets are not required for this event, reserving a ticket allows us to plan for your arrival. If you previously RSVPed and received an email confirmation, you are all set!

FREE and open to the public.

Ribbon Cutting.