"Laboratory Lifestyles" Live Discussion

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Join Leonardo Book Club with author Sandra Kaji-O'Grady and Chris L. Smith facilitated by Leonardo Managing Director Danielle Siembieda for a live discussion on Facebook and Zoom as part of the Leonardo Book Series.

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25 September 3:00 PM - San Francisco
25 September 11:00 PM (22:00) London
26 September 8:00 AM - Sydney

Join us live on Facebook and Zoom. Live stream links sent out with reminders.

Laboratory Lifestyles Cover

About Laboratory Lifestyles: The Construction of Scientific Fictions


A generously illustrated examination of the boom in luxurious, resort-style scientific laboratories and how this affects scientists' work.

The past decade has seen an extraordinary laboratory-building boom. This new crop of laboratories features spectacular architecture and resort-like amenities. The buildings sprawl luxuriously on verdant campuses or sit sleekly in expensive urban neighborhoods. Designed to attract venture capital, generous philanthropy, and star scientists, these laboratories are meant to create the ideal conditions for scientific discovery. Yet there is little empirical evidence that shows if they do. Laboratory Lifestyles examines this new species of scientific laboratory from architectural, economic, social, and scientific perspectives. Generously illustrated with photographs of laboratories and scientists at work in them, the book investigates how “lifestyle science” affects actual science. Are scientists working when they stretch in a yoga class, play volleyball in the company tournament, chat in an on-site café, or show off their facilities to visiting pharmaceutical executives?

The book describes, among other things, the role of beanbag chairs in the construction of science at Xerox PARC; the Southern California vibe of the RAND Corporation (Malibu), General Atomic (La Jolla), and Hughes Research Laboratories (Malibu); and Biosphere 2's “bionauts” as both scientists and scientific subjects; and interstellar laboratories. Laboratory Lifestyles (the title is an allusion to Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar's influential Laboratory Life) documents a shift in what constitutes scientific practice; these laboratories and their lifestyles are as experimental as the science they cultivate.

Contributors Kathleen Brandt, Russell Hughes, Tim Ivison, Sandra Kaji-O'Grady, Stuart W. Leslie, Brian Lonsway, Sean O'Halloran, Simon Sadler, Chris L. Smith, Nicole Sully, Ksenia Tatarchenko, William Taylor, Julia Tcharfas, Albena Yaneva, Stelios Zavos

About the Editors

Sandra Kaji-O'Grady

Sandra Kaji-O’Grady is Professor of Architecture at the University of Queensland, Australia where she teaches design. She was the Dean and Head of School at UQ between 2013 and 2018, and previously held similar roles at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney. Her research on the expression of science in laboratory architecture culminated in two recent books: Laboratory Lifestyles: The Construction of Scientific Fictions, edited by Kaji-OGrady, Chris L. Smith and Russell Hughes (MIT Press, 2018) and LabOratory: Speaking of Science and its Architecture, Kaji-O’Grady and Chris L. Smith  (MIT Press, 2019). Her next book examines buildings that serve the pet industry and the design of urban spaces for companion animals.

Chris L. Smith

Chris L. Smith is Associate Professor of Architectural Design and Technê at the University of Sydney. Smith and Sandra Kaji-O'Grady are coeditors (with Russell Hughes) of Laboratory Lifestyles: The Construction of Scientific Fictions (MIT Press).

For more information about the book: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/laboratory-lifestyles

Book Club members receive 20% off the book, use code LEONARDO20

September 25th, 2019 3:00 PM   through   3:30 PM
CA 94112
United States