Creativity, Innovation Explored at PINC



Topics ranging from intergalactic law to the personal identify found through the slicing of Dutch cheese turned the Sarasota Opera House on Thursday into a symposium of creative thinking. A series of speakers hailing from around the world stood before a sold-out crowd as part to the PINC Sarasota event.

Both entertainment and research earned a place on the stage. Entertainment was represented with musical performances, like the the rolling of documentary footage,including an 11-minute short film on the lifespan of 17-year cicadas by filmmaker Samuel Orr, or a performance from pianist Daria van der Bercken, who worked to bring a surprising show to a crowd. “I will always try to do something differently when there is a chance,” said van der Bercken.  

MIT professor John Ochsendorf showed the marvels of ancient bridge building and led the crowd to wonder at architectural achievements at the Pantheon that engineers still struggle to replicate today, while mathematician John Bush explored new developments in super-fluids, carefully creating an audience presentation that broke down complex mathematical discoveries about surface tension into a format digestible for the interested layman. As the day progressed, international law expert Frans von der Dunk discussed the needs to address space debris and Joost Elffers discussed the relationship between the divvying of product by cheesemongers to the relationship between social classes in the Netherlands in the mid-20th century. 

PINC Sarasota provides a stateside expansion of a conference first launched in the Netherlands by the late Peter van Lindonk, and many of the guests at the event had been fans since before the Sarasota event launched last year. Marc Abrahams, founder of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and a speaker at the Sarasota event, had attended the European events van Lindonk put on and was impressed to see the idea continue. “He was always the ringmaster,” Abrahams recalled. “He had such a creative energy.” And this manifestation of the event, participants said, gave an opportunity to explore the “People, Ideas, Nature and Creativity” central to PINC’s mission.

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