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Brain Porn

idUS sets out to sexy up Columbus’ image as an innovative city

By Mark J. Lucas

Published September 1, 2012

Look at the big brain on Columbus!

Taking in our fair city at a glance, football, independent art and music, and our well-respected culinary scene grab most of the headlines.

But, Columbus, after all, is the seat of several large research institutions, including Battelle, The Ohio State University, and Abbott Laboratories, just to name a few. So as part of 200 Columbus’ bicentennial celebration, idUS, an 11-day onslaught of innovation-oriented programming, is going to showcase this city’s cerebral prowess and its ability to draw worldwide attention in the fields like science and emerging technologies. idUs will include presentations that will not only change the rest of the world’s perception of us, but also how we view ourselves and our diverse local intellectual resources.

Here is a mere smattering of the offerings:

EcoSummit 2012
In all, EcoSummit 2012 will host 21 forums and 65 symposia, as well as 850 sessions and poster presentations. The summit will hold historic importance, as it will be the first time the Ecological Society of America, The International Association for Ecology, and the Society for Ecological Restoration will find themselves under the same banner. The triumvirate is convening to discuss ecological restoration, ecological engineering, climate change, and the future security of our food supply. There’ll be enough eco-brainpower jammed into this conference to weave together a DIY planet, and everything peaks right downtown in the Convention Center.

EcoSummit is expected to attract 1,500 or more delegates from 75 countries around the world, but two keynote speakers in particular are straight-up gurus in the world of ecology.

The first is Edward O. Wilson, known in the scientific community as the “father of sociobiology.” Considered the world’s foremost authority on ants, he is author of the aptly titled Pulitzer Prize winner, The Ants. Any humanities student probably had to read the second speaker, Jared Diamond’s most famous work, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Regularly misinterpreted by politicians, it is the authoritative text on the effect of environment on cultures and society.

Design Week
Design Week is a series of events celebrating Columbus’ design and architecture, both current and future. It will open with the Ideabook Presentation, where 500 letter-pressed “idea books” will be distributed to a select group of the city’s movers and shakers in design and related fields. Each one contains visions for what Columbus may one day look like, according to some of our best and brightest minds from a wide range of disciplines.

September 30th marks the beginning of the Design Roll, a bike tour around Columbus’ noteworthy architecture followed by a film screening at the Gateway Theater, featuring works centered on architecture and design in Columbus. Design Roll was a big hit earlier this year, and they expect the same turnout this go-round for the leisurely ride among our landmarks.

The real fun, however, comes on Friday. There will be a celebration with a carnival theme at COSI, against the backdrop of our fair city’s skyline. The Hoo Doo Soul Band will be providing the tunes, and there’ll be the entire carnival spread, complete with all the trappings: face painting, games, ice cream … the works.

Innovate Columbus
On October 4th, COSI will host Innovate Columbus: Creating A Marketplace for Ideas. The day’s schedule will be based around looking at the creative, infrastructural, and intellectual resources Columbus possesses. Three keynote speakers will present at Innovate Columbus with compelling ideas for tapping our city’s vast creative talents.

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, Jeff Dyer, PhD and Richard Florida, PhD, all focus on ways to locate creative diamonds in the rough of our society, and put them to use in our current system – and even question the very structure of our system.

TEDxColumbus
This will be the fourth annual TEDxColumbus, an independently organized TED event meant to resemble the one held in California. People from many disciplines will come together to give frequently breathtaking presentations.

The theme of this year’s talks is The Future Revealed, where presenters will be picking apart the idea of the future and destiny. Over 15 speakers will be presenting, with more specifics to be available in mid-September. It will be paired with TEDxYouth@Columbus, which follows the same theme, but all the presenters are under 25 years old – in other words, the one that will be building that very future. 

Brain Teasers

At a whopping 11 days, idUS boasts a giant catalog of events for capital city intelligentsia. Here are just a few:

FFOCOL
The Film Festival of Columbus will be a gathering of both film rookies and veterans at the Gateway Film Center. Movies will be screened from all over the world, and there will be seminars touting Columbus as a fresh place for filmmakers to shoot. It all goes down October 2nd through October 5th.

Mini Maker Faire
The Mini Maker Faire will be a celebration of all things DIY. There will be 3-D printing, interactive electronics, laser-cut art, and what promises to be a pretty riveting power tool drag race. COSI is the place, September 29th is the date. The event is put together by The Idea Foundry, MAKE Magazine, and the Maker Faire.

CCAD MindMarket Launch
A presentation by management expert Roger Martin will serve as the inauguration of the CCAD MindMarket, an incubator for the design and arts business, a design lab and a creative think tank. The ribbon gets cut on September 28th.

idUS will take place from September 28th to October 8th in various locations around Columbus. For more information and for a complete schedule of events, visit www.idus.us.