What is Consilience?

Consilience comes from the latin roots “concurrent” and “jumping”.  Also understood as “the unity of knowledge”, and made famous by the book titled, Consilience, by Edward O. Wilson, 1998. In science and history, consilience refers to the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can “converge” to strong conclusions.

Consilience at ISB

The Consilience Program in the Communications Department at ISB brings together Science, Arts, and Humanities to further ISB’s mission and reach for the purpose of engaging a wider public with systems biology and the core values of ISB. It encompasses public lectures and events, visiting artists and scholars, and educational partnerships.

  • Exploring Plasticity

    May 25, 2018 at ISB

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  • Q&A with Ruth West

    Ruth discusses her research, consilience and her exhibition “Atlas In Silico”

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  • Ginny Ruffner’s Aesthetic Engineering
    Installed at ISB

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  • Bio-Fiction Film Screening and Panel Discussion

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  • Symposium on Systems Biology and Systems Art

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About Consilience at ISB

Since April 2014, ISB has been hosting symposiums and cultural events on the intersections of science and art. Our inaugural symposium, “Systems Biology + Systems Art” brought speakers from different areas of the arts together to talk on systems, including Cornish College of the Arts Provost Moira Scott Payne, DXARTS Visiting Professor Edward Shanken, ISB’s Allison Kudla and Chinese Painter, Xiao Dong Feng.

“One of my pet theses has been, since the beginning, that the concepts that have emerged from systems approaches to biology are really generalizable to almost any profession,” Hood said during his introduction.

This initial spark later became the Consilience program at ISB.

In 2015, ISB took part in South Lake Union Artwalk and hosted “Bio-Fiction”, a screening of film and animation on the topic of synthetic biology, held a second symposium with Xiao Dong Feng and Stephen Little on “Taoism, Biology and Life”, forged a connection with Cornish College of the Arts, and invited numerous speakers to talk on their work at the intersections of science and art, most notably David Bolinksy and Geraldine Ondrizek. Also as part of this program, Ginny Ruffner became a visiting artist, interviewed our faculty while researching her latest work, “Poetic Hybrids”, and loaned several of her works from the “Aesthetic Engineering” series to grace the hallways of ISB.

In the future we hope to bring about more interdisciplinary engagement and research across science, technology, art, design and communications, and continue to host symposia and public lectures featuring research across disciplines.

Contact Allison Kudla to learn more about the Consilience Program.