Modernizing Lincoln Center
Reynold Levy has been president of the Lincoln Center since 2002. Prior to being selected for this role, he was president of the International Rescue Committee, an international aid organization, for five years; and head of the AT&T Foundation for 12 years. A graduate of Hobart College, he holds a law degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He lives in New York City.
Question: What conception of Lincoln Center do you feel needs to change most?
Reynold Levy: Our whole objective of renovating, modernizing, updating Lincoln Center has been to literally open it up to make people feel welcome. Not just people who come to Lincoln Center regularly, but strangers, tourists from around the U.S. and from around the world. Forty-five percent of New Yorkers were not born in the United States, let alone born in New York City. We want them to feel as home at Lincoln Center and as welcome at Lincoln Center as anyone else. And so, the whole effort or redevelopment to create new spaces where people can hang out and relax whether they're coming to an event or not, to have food and drink at a whole variety of price points, to green the campus, create park-like settings all over the 16 acres of precious space, to Wi-Fi the campus, to engage in what our architect Liz Diller calls an architectural strip tease. Remove the Travertine, replace it with glass so you can actually see inside these building and see artists create their work and not wonder what's going inside that Travertine.
That’s all been part of an effort to open up Lincoln Center even more and it’s reflected as well in very intense efforts to reach into the public schools of New York City and bring art into the schools and bring elementary and secondary school students onto our campus. So, we’ve used 21st century technology toward that end. There will be all kinds of appliances outdoors. Screens that you can look in that will tell you what's on at Lincoln Center, how to access a ticket at Lincoln Center.
And we’ve just opened up a free atrium. The David Rubenstein Atrium, free to the public, which allows us to be the only performing arts center in the world that offers a discount ticket facility day of. So, you can walk into the atrium and buy a discount ticket to anything going on at Lincoln Center.
We have 4000 more seats than Madison Square Garden and we have much better seasons. And we also have discount tickets. But, that’s another place, the atrium, we can just hang out, enjoy free performances, enjoy food and beverage provided by Tom Colicchio at Witchcraft, buy a premium priced ticket, buy a discount ticket, read a newspaper, have a cup of coffee and be part of Lincoln Center.
Question: Has there been any opposition to renovating the Lincoln Center?
Reynold Levy: You know, when we - when I arrived at Lincoln Center eight years ago, we made it our business to listen carefully to anyone who cared about the future of Lincoln Center. Good government groups, neighborhood perseveration groups, landmarks groups, the community board, elected and appointed officials. Our door was open to their concerns. We are a public institution. Lincoln Center is of great interest to the public and I don’t think there's a place on earth that exercises the first amendment more vigorously than Upper West Siders. And so, I think as a result of listening very carefully and incorporating into our thinking, into our planning, the views of our neighbors. Developers, restaurateurs, retailer, people live in condominiums, co-ops. Whether they were organized or not, incorporating their thoughts into our plans or explaining why we couldn’t accommodate their plans has really made this relatively hassle free.
We’ve been simply delighted by the support that we’ve gotten throughout this process and it has been remarkably smooth and we have a terrific staff and a terrific board that’s really joined me in keeping our doors wide open and in listening carefully to the community and respecting their views. Even at time we couldn’t agree with them, but when we couldn’t we explained the whys and wherefores and by and large we’ve received a lot of applause and a lot of thank yous for what we’ve done to transform Lincoln Center. So, it’s been a - it’s been a terrific experience.
Question: What are some of the main challenges in running Lincoln Center?
Reynold Levy: Well, we have been one of the largest construction projects in New York City and we’re getting - we’re not about a year and a quarter before completion of $1.2 billion worth of work. So, one of the major challenges has been monitoring that construction project because while the project’s been going on, Lincoln Center’s been open for business. We haven’t closed anything except Alice Tully Hall when we were remodeling it.
And so, our patrons, five million of them, have had to find their way to shows and productions and educational institution, the Julliard School, the School of American Ballet, throughout this construction period in a very dense city. Second has been raising the money to pay for all this construction. That’s been a major challenge and while I’m very optimistic about our ability to do that even through a recession, the economic climate has definitely made doing so more challenging. Third, we think of ourselves as the highest quality performing arts institution in the world and that means that everyone spends an enormous amount of time and energy in engaging artists and in creating an environment in which they can do their best work. And that means lots of rehearsal time, it means a lot of attention to production values. Maintaining that quality is no small thing. It’s as challenging as it is in a university or in a great newspaper or in a great hospital.
And so, I would say those are the three principle major challenges. renovating, your staff, enlarging the board of directors to encompass the best kind of cross section of our country are two important ingredients that help you to meet those other challenges and you pay lots of attention to that as well.
One of the world’s largest art institutions is in the midst of a dramatic transformation that will actually encourage people to loiter around the complex, watch artists prepare for shows, and engage in an "architectural strip tease."
It's just the current cycle that involves opiates, but methamphetamine, cocaine, and others have caused the trajectory of overdoses to head the same direction
- It appears that overdoses are increasing exponentially, no matter the drug itself
- If the study bears out, it means that even reducing opiates will not slow the trajectory.
- The causes of these trends remain obscure, but near the end of the write-up about the study, a hint might be apparent
Through computationally intensive computer simulations, researchers have discovered that "nuclear pasta," found in the crusts of neutron stars, is the strongest material in the universe.
- The strongest material in the universe may be the whimsically named "nuclear pasta."
- You can find this substance in the crust of neutron stars.
- This amazing material is super-dense, and is 10 billion times harder to break than steel.
Superman is known as the "Man of Steel" for his strength and indestructibility. But the discovery of a new material that's 10 billion times harder to break than steel begs the question—is it time for a new superhero known as "Nuclear Pasta"? That's the name of the substance that a team of researchers thinks is the strongest known material in the universe.
Unlike humans, when stars reach a certain age, they do not just wither and die, but they explode, collapsing into a mass of neurons. The resulting space entity, known as a neutron star, is incredibly dense. So much so that previous research showed that the surface of a such a star would feature amazingly strong material. The new research, which involved the largest-ever computer simulations of a neutron star's crust, proposes that "nuclear pasta," the material just under the surface, is actually stronger.
The competition between forces from protons and neutrons inside a neutron star create super-dense shapes that look like long cylinders or flat planes, referred to as "spaghetti" and "lasagna," respectively. That's also where we get the overall name of nuclear pasta.
Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv
Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta.
The researchers' computer simulations needed 2 million hours of processor time before completion, which would be, according to a press release from McGill University, "the equivalent of 250 years on a laptop with a single good GPU." Fortunately, the researchers had access to a supercomputer, although it still took a couple of years. The scientists' simulations consisted of stretching and deforming the nuclear pasta to see how it behaved and what it would take to break it.
While they were able to discover just how strong nuclear pasta seems to be, no one is holding their breath that we'll be sending out missions to mine this substance any time soon. Instead, the discovery has other significant applications.
One of the study's co-authors, Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University, said the neutron stars would be "a hundred trillion times denser than anything on earth." Understanding what's inside them would be valuable for astronomers because now only the outer layer of such starts can be observed.
"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models," Caplan added. "With this result, many problems need to be revisited. How large a mountain can you build on a neutron star before the crust breaks and it collapses? What will it look like? And most importantly, how can astronomers observe it?"
Another possibility worth studying is that, due to its instability, nuclear pasta might generate gravitational waves. It may be possible to observe them at some point here on Earth by utilizing very sensitive equipment.
The team of scientists also included A. S. Schneider from California Institute of Technology and C. J. Horowitz from Indiana University.
Check out the study "The elasticity of nuclear pasta," published in Physical Review Letters.
Scientists think constructing a miles-long wall along an ice shelf in Antarctica could help protect the world's largest glacier from melting.
- Rising ocean levels are a serious threat to coastal regions around the globe.
- Scientists have proposed large-scale geoengineering projects that would prevent ice shelves from melting.
- The most successful solution proposed would be a miles-long, incredibly tall underwater wall at the edge of the ice shelves.
The world's oceans will rise significantly over the next century if the massive ice shelves connected to Antarctica begin to fail as a result of global warming.
To prevent or hold off such a catastrophe, a team of scientists recently proposed a radical plan: build underwater walls that would either support the ice or protect it from warm waters.
In a paper published in The Cryosphere, Michael Wolovick and John Moore from Princeton and the Beijing Normal University, respectively, outlined several "targeted geoengineering" solutions that could help prevent the melting of western Antarctica's Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier, whose melting waters are projected to be the largest source of sea-level rise in the foreseeable future.
An "unthinkable" engineering project
"If [glacial geoengineering] works there then we would expect it to work on less challenging glaciers as well," the authors wrote in the study.
One approach involves using sand or gravel to build artificial mounds on the seafloor that would help support the glacier and hopefully allow it to regrow. In another strategy, an underwater wall would be built to prevent warm waters from eating away at the glacier's base.
The most effective design, according to the team's computer simulations, would be a miles-long and very tall wall, or "artificial sill," that serves as a "continuous barrier" across the length of the glacier, providing it both physical support and protection from warm waters. Although the study authors suggested this option is currently beyond any engineering feat humans have attempted, it was shown to be the most effective solution in preventing the glacier from collapsing.
Source: Wolovick et al.
An example of the proposed geoengineering project. By blocking off the warm water that would otherwise eat away at the glacier's base, further sea level rise might be preventable.
But other, more feasible options could also be effective. For example, building a smaller wall that blocks about 50% of warm water from reaching the glacier would have about a 70% chance of preventing a runaway collapse, while constructing a series of isolated, 1,000-foot-tall columns on the seafloor as supports had about a 30% chance of success.
Still, the authors note that the frigid waters of the Antarctica present unprecedently challenging conditions for such an ambitious geoengineering project. They were also sure to caution that their encouraging results shouldn't be seen as reasons to neglect other measures that would cut global emissions or otherwise combat climate change.
"There are dishonest elements of society that will try to use our research to argue against the necessity of emissions' reductions. Our research does not in any way support that interpretation," they wrote.
"The more carbon we emit, the less likely it becomes that the ice sheets will survive in the long term at anything close to their present volume."
A 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine illustrates the potentially devastating effects of ice-shelf melting in western Antarctica.
"As the oceans and atmosphere warm, melting of ice shelves in key areas around the edges of the Antarctic ice sheet could trigger a runaway collapse process known as Marine Ice Sheet Instability. If this were to occur, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) could potentially contribute 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) of global sea level rise within just a few centuries."
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