Just returned from a three-day feast of ideas in Monterey, California at the seventh EG Conference (http://www.the-eg.com/). The annual gathering brings together individuals from media, technology, entertainment — and his year, education. This was my second year attending the event, intrigued by the entirely eclectic group of presenters.

Magicians, musicians, jugglers, and acrobats, astronauts, nature photographers, pick pockets, and art forgers, gathered to explore new ways of thinking about education. With this gathering of intellectual explorers, we heard presentations that revealed a yearning to keep the human connection in sight while reaching to the outer edges of our digital experience. In one section called “Sustenance,” we heard about food as one of those connectors. “Red” (aka Hong Yi) an architect from Shanghai, plated art — literally created art using food on plates that represented “food painting” of maps and more.

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Christopher Shi, a gastroenterologist and pianist, persuaded us that digestion of ideas through artistic expression such as music (which he demonstrated by eloquently playing the piano for us) bore similarities to biological digestion. Well, maybe. And Christopher Young, Nathan Myhrvold’s co-author for The Modernist Cuisine, explained life as a scientific chef, inventing experimental kitchens, food, and now his new website, ChefSteps (http://www.chefsteps.com/), where you can find Salmon 104, which describes cooking salmon at the temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

EG, impresario Mike Hawley’s conference, provoked us to think about the relationship between art and science. As more artists (and let’s include cooks as artists) connect with scientists, we’ll get a new food system that integrates bits with bites, allowing the human spirit to simmer along with the structures of programming and networks. Let’s hope that we hear more about this integration. Congratulations to Mr. Hawley and all the presenters at the 7th EG Conference this year — A mighty meal with much to digest between now and the next EG gathering.

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