Feynman celebration kicks off Saturday, April 12

Edward Tufte’s exhibit “The Cognitive Art of Feynman Diagrams” will be on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery in Wilson Hall from April 12 to June 26. Photo courtesy of Edward Tufte

Beginning Saturday, April 12, Fermilab will host a celebration of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. A centerpiece of the celebration is a 10-week exhibit titled “The Cognitive Art of Feynman Diagrams” created by statistician, Yale professor and artist Edward Tufte. The exhibit will open at 6 p.m. in the Fermilab Art Gallery.

This will be followed by a lecture at 7 p.m. and a concert at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium. Tickets for the lecture and concert are $28, $14 for those 18 and under.

The concert will be given by Huun-Huur-Tu, a group of throat singers from the small country of Tuva. Using traditional instruments and drawing subtly on 20th-century composers, funky rhythms and the palette of electronica, Huun Huur Tu transforms ancient songs into complex acoustic compositions.

Ralph Leighton, author of the book “Tuva or Bust!” and personal friend of Feynman, will give the preconcert lecture at 7 p.m. He will discuss Feynman’s years-long attempt to travel to the small country of Tuva and his insatiable curiosity about the world around him.

Another Leighton connection in the celebration is the Feynman van, which will be on display in front of Wilson Hall. Feynman used the Dodge Tradesman Maxivan, adorned with images of Feynman diagrams, to explore remote areas of the American West with his family. After Feynman’s death in 1988, Leighton inherited the van and used it in 1993 to transport the Tuvan throat singers during their first tour of California.

Tufte’s “Interplanetary Explorer,” an Airstream trailer, will also be on display outside Wilson Hall for the duration of Tufte’s exhibit. It and the Feynman van can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

On Wednesday, April 16, from 5-7 p.m., a special artist reception for Edward Tufte will be held in the Fermilab Art Gallery. Tickets to this reception are free, but limited. Register for the reception.

View a summary of the Feynman celebration events.

Huun-Huur-Tu will perform at Ramsey Auditorium on Saturday, April 12, at 8 p.m. Photo courtesy of Huun-Huur-Tu