Tech and the West

Tech and the West

July 13 -14, 2018 (NOW PAST!)

Tech and the West is a two-year initiative presented as part of the recent world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and the 2018 production of Doctor Atomic. Continuing the Opera’s commitment to engaging community and broadening the experience and understanding of opera, Tech and the West uses the themes of these productions as the baseline for an intellectual exploration through exhibits, concerts, and symposia. 

Many minds will come together for Tech and the West to facilitate and participate in discussions – composers, scientists, designers, directors, historians, and lecturers, among others. Related Events will explore how and if these two operas of biographically-inspired fiction contribute to the historical truth. Participants will also analyze the similar nature of Steve Jobs and Robert Oppenheimer: how these two monumental influencers wanted control of their worlds and creations yet also desired a greater understanding of the world around them.

Symposium Schedule (Now Past!)

Friday, July 13, 2018

New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501

9:30 AM

Opening Address

Welcome Back to the New Nuclear Age

Dr. Rachel Bronson, Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

10:30 AM

A Sense of Place

Moderator:  Dr. Alison Fields
Panelists: Meridel Rubenstein and Will Wilson

1:00 PM

Beyond Doctor Atomic:  Women’s Voices and Visions

Moderator:  Dr. Lois Rudnick
Panelists:  Tina Cordova, Emily Johnson, and Beata Tsosie-Peña

2:30 PM

The Impact of the Atomic Bomb on American and Japanese Popular Culture

Moderator:  Dr. Lois Rudnick
Panelists:  Peter Goin and Steven Okazaki

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W San Francisco St.
Santa Fe, NM 87501

10:00 AM

The Mystery and Mystique of Robert Oppenheimer

Presenter: Richard Rhodes

Robert Oppenheimer, the charismatic first director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, has become an almost mythical embodiment of the World War II Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. The Sellars-Adams opera Doctor Atomic is one manifestation of the phenomenon. Who was this man? What about him has led to such mythification? Did he, his work, his character support such a burden of history? Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and three other volumes of nuclear history, will explore these questions in a Saturday morning lecture.

1:00 PM

Delivering Little Boy: Captain Nolan, the Manhattan Project, and the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Presenter: Dr. James L. Nolan, Jr.

In this lecture, sociologist Dr. James L. Nolan, Jr. will discuss the unusual journey of his grandfather, Dr. James F. Nolan, a radiologist and obstetric gynecologist who was on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Among other roles, Nolan ran the base hospital at Los Alamos and escorted the first atomic bomb, “Little Boy,” from Los Alamos to Tinian Island, where it was assembled and put aboard the Enola Gay for its fateful flight to Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. This talk will tell the intriguing story of an individual who participated in key historical events associated with the dawn of the nuclear age.

Dr. James L. Nolan, Jr. is a professor of sociology at Williams College. His areas of interest are comparative law, law and society, technology and social change, and historical and comparative sociology. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Virginia. He is currently working on a book titled “Delivering Little Boy.”

2:00 PM

Epicenter: Los Alamos During the Manhattan Project

Moderator:  Theresa Strottman
Panelists:  Dr. James L. Nolan, Jr., Jon Hunner, Ellen Bradbury Reid

3:30 PM

Closing Address: A Peril, but also A Great Hope

Dr. Hugh Gusterson

Some of the most important physicists of the twentieth century worked on the Manhattan Project.  After the end of World War II they split between those who saw in nuclear weapons a pathway to peace ("a peril but also a great hope" in Oppenheimer's words) and those who prophesied doom. How are we to understand this debate in the second nuclear age?"

This programming is planned in association with several of the organizations that contribute to the diversity of New Mexico's thinkers: Cinematheque at the Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, Creative Santa Fe, the Lensic Performing Arts Center, the Los Alamos Historical Society, the New Mexico History Museum, the Santa Fe Institute, the School for Advanced Research, and the Thoma Foundation.

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Doctor Atomic

Could there be a more perfect fusion of opera and venue than Doctor Atomic at The Santa Fe Opera? First performed in 2005, Doctor Atomic reunited composer John Adams with librettist/stage director Peter Sellars, whose earlier collaborations include Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer. This new production, staged by Sellars, also marks the first John Adams work to be performed by The Santa Fe Opera.

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