Return of the the Fly Room; Time, Explained

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PERFORMANCE

DNA Story and AstroDance. City University of New York. 365 Fifth Avenue. April 23 and 26. 6:30 p.m. Free.

CUNY's Science and the Arts series offers a pair of unusual performances. "AstroDance" depicts the search for gravity waves -- ripples in time and space caused by black holes and supernovas -- by putting deaf dancers against an animated galactic backdrop. A reading of the play "DNA Story" by Vince LiCata, a biologist at Louisiana State University, will feature game-show antics and existentialist parody to depict the work for which James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins won a Nobel Prize -- and Rosalind Franklin did not. "I think I might understand why she never brought it up," Crick says in the play. "Because she knew it would always and forever be her data."

CLASS

Fly Microscopy: Origins of Gene Research. Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Brooklyn. April 27, May 4, May 11 at 6 p.m. Free.

A hundred years ago, in a cramped lab at Columbia University, a series of fruit-fly experiments led to the birth of modern genetics. The legendary Fly Room will be re-created, with brass-knobbed microscopes and hundreds of insect-filled milk bottles, at a summer exhibit in Red Hook that will serve as the set for a feature film. The project is the brainchild of Alexis Gambis, a French-Venezuelan geneticist and filmmaker who founded the Imagine Science Film Festival. While the room is under construction, Dr. Gambis will offer a three-night course examining how visual techniques, from ink drawings to fluorescent imaging, have advanced the field of genetics. Students will learn to tell male flies from females under a microscope and will start to breed flies with new traits as the century-old lab grows around them.

BOOK

Time Reborn. By Lee Smolin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $28. 352 pages.

The physicist Lee Smolin returns with a dense manifesto on the subject of time, which he believes has been wrongly neglected by scientists. After noting the "fallacies, dilemmas and paradoxes" that come when conventional theories are stretched to cosmic scale, Dr. Smolin sets out to put the "reality of the present moment" at the center of physics. He contends that the laws of the universe may evolve over time, making the future harder to predict. Although Dr. Smolin's case blurs the line between physics and conjecture, he insists that it can be tested.

MUSEUM

Crackers, Oranges and Pringles. Museum of Mathematics, 11 East 26th Street. April 26 at 7 p.m. $10.

The new Museum of Mathematics, where visitors can experiment with giant tilings and ride square-wheeled tricycles, is devoted to proving that math is fun. This Friday at the museum, Daina Taimina, a Cornell mathematician from Latvia, will give children a gentle introduction to the field of topology, using snacks like oranges and Pringles to demonstrate the idea of curvature. Participants will be able to tape their own paper Pringles, known as hyperbolic surfaces among geometers, from cutout templates. One thing Dr. Taimina will leave at home: the world's largest "hyperbolic crochet," handmade from five miles of yarn. "The piece is too big for me to carry," she said. "I am taking it with me when I am driving, but this time I will take a bus."

science

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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