EVENT PRODUCTIONS

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October 6 - 7, 2017
Luskin Conference Center, UCLA

UCLA celebrated the official grand opening of the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, built in the heart of campus to bring people together to share knowledge and address some of society’s most vexing problems. The Luskin Conference Center provides new meeting space for members of the campus community to host academic summits and events.

Guests came together in the center’s grand ballroom to hear UCLA political science professors Lynn Vavreck and Matt Barreto, who is also a professor of Chicana and Chicano studies, discuss the significance of the 2016 presidential campaign for America. The lively conversation was moderated by former CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, now a visiting professor in the UCLA Department of Communication Studies.

In a second on-stage discussion, two more UCLA experts — Vivian Sobchack, a UCLA alumna, professor emerita in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and a leading authority on science fiction in film, and Andrea Ghez, a renowned astronomer and professor in UCLA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy — talked about where society is in its quest to better understand our planetary universe and how our fascination with space is expressed through literature and film. UCLA alumnus Saul Gonzalez, an Emmy award-winning producer and correspondent for KCRW-FM, served as moderator.

The grand opening celebration also featured an opportunity for guests to learn more about UCLA’s research expertise in an enlightening science-fair style environment. Professor Dennis Hong’s RoMeLa (Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory) showed off its break-dancing robots and THOR, a robot designed to be deployed in emergency and rescue situations. In another room, guests played with creating mountains and lakes in UCLA’s virtual reality sandbox, an augmented reality teaching tool that simulates topography.

By visiting different exhibits, visitors learned about groundbreaking research into the state of diversity in Hollywood; the UCLA Game Lab, where students learn how to use game development to explore social and political issues; professors Victoria Vesna’s and Mark Cohen’s interactive art and science exhibit that involves the reading and visualization of people’s brain activity as they are immersed in a space filled with sound, light and color; and the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, an effort that promotes complete mind and body health and wellness throughout UCLA.

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