Calit2 Hosts Inaugural UC San Diego Town and Gown Event

By Judy Piercey,

Maurizio Seracini
Presentation by Calit2 research scientist Maurizio Seracini, with introduction by Town and Gown co-founder Linda Blair.
To watch video, click here. Length: 55:36. [Real player and broadband connection required.]
San Diego, CA, February 10, 2007  -- When Lucy Haugh moved to San Diego 12 years ago, she didn't miss the smog, congestion or general hassle of living in Los Angeles.  But Lucy did miss the friendship and events offered by USC's Town and Gown group -- so she decided to do something about it.

She gathered a committee of friends from across the county and started a similar organization -- Town and Gown, UC San Diego -- to support the region's leading research university.

On February 6, more than 150 attendees attended the inaugural luncheon for the group, whose mission is to integrate and engage San Diego residents in the life of UCSD through thought-provoking programs and events, and to support student scholarships.

Lucy Haugh
Town and Gown founder Lucy Haugh addresses the inaugural luncheon in the Calit2 courtyard.
For their first event, the Town and Gown committee would have been happy with 60 guests; instead, they were thrilled with the enthusiastic response. Said Haugh: "Look what we did!"

Charismatic speaker Maurizio Seracini, '73, a UCSD bioengineering alumnus known as the "Da Vinci Detective," delivered the keynote talk on his work using multispectral imaging and other methods to uncover the hidden secrets of great works of art. Seracini is now a research scientist in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at UCSD, which played host to the inaugural Town and Gown event. Seracini directs Calit2's new Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), which is set for its formal launch later in February.

Seracini and Committee
Seracini with members of the Town and Gown committee in Atkinson Hall
UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox welcomed attendees to the La Jolla campus and lauded the Town and Gown committee for proactively creating the new support system. The luncheon took place under a large tent outside Atkinson Hall, in the Engineering Courtyard. Attendance was capped at 150, after a flood of requests pushed guests well above the 60-80 original target.

After the luncheon, visitors were invited to move into the Calit2 Auditorium for the formal program. Calit2 division director Ramesh Rao welcomed the group and Town and Gown committee member Linda Blair introduced Seracini -- noting that she had previously discussed Seracini's work in an art history course she taught.

Marye Anne Fox with Lucy Haugh
Town and Gown organizer Lucy Haugh (right) with UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox

With that, the Italian "art diagnostician" took the stage and gave guests an hour-long tour of some recent projects, including pioneering work on Leonardo Da Vinci's "Adoration of the Magi", in which he used infrared and other imaging technologies to uncover the original drawings hidden for 500 years beneath the surface of brown paint applied to the painting long after Da Vinci finished work on the project. He also outlined some of his plans for the new center he is directing within Calit2, to bring his interdisciplinary approach to the analysis and diagnosis of other works of art, architecture and archaeology. 

The first project of CISA3 is now underway, with other projects set to be unveiled when the center is launched later this month. To watch Seracini's presentation, click here.