Art As A Way Of Understanding The Universe (Literally)

Can art help us understand natural physical phenomena? A competition at the Massachusetts Institute of technology suggests it can. “The Weird Fields contest, part of the undergraduate course ‘Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism,’ — encourages students to use a special computer program that converts mathematical formulas into visual representations of electromagnetic fields. The resulting swirls, loops, circles and squares, while not necessarily corresponding exactly to those occurring in nature, offer a creative way to understand some of the most abstract concepts in physics.”

US Poet Laureate Gets A Second Term

Ted Kooser – who last week won a Pulitzer Prize – has been appointed to a second term as US Poet Laureate. “Kooser’s idea was to offer a free weekly poem to U.S. newspapers. The second poem, Jonathan Greene’s “At the Grave”, was posted Thursday. The Library of Congress said 24 newspapers signed up within the first few days of the project. The library gives the poet an office and expects a few readings and lectures in return. Kooser is due to lecture at the library on May 5. He receives a stipend of $35,000 for each term.”

Tomorrow’s TV Writers? From Today’s Theatre

“Back in the golden days of Hollywood, studio executives would often scour the theatres of New York and Chicago, searching relentlessly for talented new playwrights to bring out West to join their studio’s creative staff of writers. In that spirit Fox has teamed up with New York’s Naked Angels Theatre Company to produce Naked TV, an innovative project that mirrors those historic days in its attempts to discover and develop new writers for television.”

Pompidou Picasso Recovered

A Picasso painting stolen last year from the Pompidou, has been recovered. “Following a tip-off, police traced the painting – worth 2.5m euros (£1.7m) – to a house in Paris where the painting was hidden behind a wardrobe. Cubist painting Nature Morte a la Charlotte, completed in 1924, was reported missing in May last year from a restoration workshop.”

Study: Video Games Beats Music

A new study says that men are now spending more on video games than they do on music. “The survey by Nielsen Entertainment shows that DVDs are the number one purchase for men each month. It also found that games are starting to attract significant numbers of players beyond the core target market of males aged eight to 34.”

Australia Arts Council Restructured

A plan restructuring the 30-year-old Australia Arts Council that was loudly opposed by many has been approved. “The boards that give grants for community cultural development and new media projects will be killed off and their responsibilities spread across existing boards and two new departments. A $9million pool will be set up to fund projects the council deems significant. And an internal restructure will help staff become more active in finding projects to fund, rather than simply reacting to grant applications.”

TV Failing At The Arts

TV isn’t showing arts very well in the UK. Everyone’s bored with it, and it’s easy to criticize. The question is how to make it better. “TV has lost a sense of self-esteem, even if it has plenty of arrogance and self-assertion. It has lost that 1960s mandarin view of art that took its responsibilities very seriously. I’m not saying we should turn back the clock, but TV should be proud of what it does.”

German Author Accused Of Plagiarism

Best-selling German author Frank Schätzing has been accused of plagiarizing “large chunks of his latest blockbuster from the internet. The book, The Swarm, is an apocalyptic eco-thriller which tells the story of how a mysterious undersea being known as Yrr incites the natural world to revolt against humans. It has been an extraordinary success, selling more than 700,000 copies in Germany. It has even been credited with saving the lives of several German holidaymakers who fled to safety after reading its vivid description of how the tide goes out before a tsunami. Yesterday, however, a German biologist accused Schätzing of “plundering” much of the material used in the book from his scientific website.”