I am very excited to have the opportunity to do research this spring at ITMO University in St Petersburg, Vladimir Nabokov’s home and Cyber Capital of Russia.
ITMO — which stands for Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics — has recently launched a Digital Humanities Lab where I will be working with graduate students on “The Poetics of Science.” The idea is to bring the tools of the arts into science and the inspiration of science into the arts. Nabokov famously argued that neither art nor science can be done well without the other. One of the projects I hope to be undertaking in my time there is working with programmers to design a digital simulation of butterfly wing pattern development to test Nabokov’s theory of insect mimicry. Using non-linear mathematical techniques first developed by Alan Turing, we may be able to use our digital imaginations to discover what kinds of designs nature would be capable of creating in the absence of natural selection.