LASER Boston – Beauty and the Brain

Exploring the intersection of art, design and neuroscience
October 18 | 6 pm | swissnex Boston

Event Details


swissnex Boston
420 Broadway, Cambridge , Massachusetts 02138 United States




How do art and design influence our perception of the world? How does what we see affect how we feel? How can aesthetics deepen our understanding of science and medicine?

On October 18th, LASER Boston will explore these questions and more as we hear from three speakers across the arts and sciences. With the ultimate goal of fostering cross-disciplinary discovery and dialogue, this event will feature psychologist and designer Claire Reymond, sculptor Ralph Helmick and cognitive neuroscience researcher Sarah Schwettmann.

Presented by swissnex Boston and SciArt Initiative.


– 6:00 pm Community Networking
Speakers and audience members are welcome to join in a pre-talks networking session.

– 6:30 pm Talks
See descriptions below.

– 7:30 pm Networking Reception
Stick around to continue the discussion over drinks and snacks.


Claire Reymond

“Image Interactions. A subtle way to influence the message of a picture”

Claire Reymond is a researcher at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design and the University of Basel as well as a visiting researcher at Harvard University’s metaLAB. Claire is interested in how images interact with each other in a perceptual field and how this interaction may manipulate an image’s message. She also researches how images need to be used in therapeutic settings or neuropsychological analysis. She earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Basel and has as an MA in Visual Communication and Iconic Research from the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Art. She also trained as a graphic designer at the Basel School of Design.


Ralph Helmick

“From Body to Brain”

Ralph Helmick is an award-winning sculptor and public artist based in Newton, Massachusetts. Ralph’s work can be seen at over 50 institutions across the United States including courthouses, parks, airports, schools, hospitals, museums and other civic spaces. One such work hangs in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, by whom he was commissioned to create a work in celebration of the brain. Ralph’s sculptures often involve themes of science and incorporate elements that explore perception, anamorphosis and optical consolidation. Ralph studied at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and earned his MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.


Sarah Schwettmann

“Vision in Art and Neuroscience”

Sarah Schwettmann is a PhD candidate in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Sarah’s research focuses on “intuitive physics”  – our perceptual capacity to make inferences about our physical world. Her research also explores perception as it relates to the structure underlying artistic creation, a theme also present in her own artwork and the MIT course she teaches: Vision in Art and Neuroscience. Sarah earned BAs in Computational & Applied Mathematics and Cognitive Science at Rice University.