The science afoot in Brazil's most populous city

Image Credit: Paul Hoppe

Stark juxtapositions define São Paulo, a sprawling metropolis surrounded by ocean and rainforest. Despite high crime rates and widespread poverty, the city has nourished the arts and constructed the premier research institution in Brazil, the University of São Paulo (the very school that launched the career of renaissance man Paulo Vanzolini, renowned herpetologist and composer of the samba classic, “Ronda”). The University’s Science Station, a gigantic multidisciplinary museum, was built in an abandoned factory warehouse&emdash;an act of reinvention typical of São Paulo today.

Nearby, in the neighborhood of Bixiga, the world’s only science-specific professional theatrical troupe, Arte Ciência no Palco (Science Art on Stage), is staging their latest play, “Oxygen.” Written by celebrated chemists Roald Hoffmann and Carl Djerassi, it will run through June at the Teatro Ruth Escobar. Paulistanos looking for a more otherworldly performance can visit Jon McCormack’s “Eden,” an interactive artificial ecosystem that’s part of this summer’s Emoção Art.ficial, a biennial celebration of art, science and technology.

For those seeking to explore some of the area’s natural riches, the Brazilian Meeting of Birdwatching kicked off at the end of May with the hope of spying on the nearly 300 astonishingly diverse species nesting throughout the city. The open-air snake pit at the Butantã Institute, the foremost snake research center in South America, is also a perennial favorite. In 1913, Teddy Roosevelt described the Institute as “one of the most interesting evidences of the modern advance in Brazil”—a part played these days by São Paulo itself.

Originally published July 10, 2006

Tags

Share this Stumbleupon Reddit Email + More

Now on SEEDMAGAZINE.COM

  • Ideas

    I Tried Almost Everything Else

    John Rinn, snowboarder, skateboarder, and “genomic origamist,” on why we should dumpster-dive in our genomes and the inspiration of a middle-distance runner.

  • Ideas

    Going, Going, Gone

    The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

  • Ideas

    Earth-like Planets Aren’t Rare

    Renowned planetary scientist James Kasting on the odds of finding another Earth-like planet and the power of science fiction.

The Seed Salon

Video: conversations with leading scientists and thinkers on fundamental issues and ideas at the edge of science and culture.

Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Video: Seed revisits the questions C.P. Snow raised about science and the humanities 50 years by asking six great thinkers, Where are we now?

Saved by Science

Audio slideshow: Justine Cooper's large-format photographs of the collections behind the walls of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Universe in 2009

In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism.

Revolutionary Minds
The Interpreters

In this installment of Revolutionary Minds, five people who use the new tools of science to educate, illuminate, and engage.

The Seed Design Series

Leading scientists, designers, and architects on ideas like the personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design.

The Seed State of Science

Seed examines the radical changes within science itself by assessing the evolving role of scientists and the shifting dimensions of scientific practice.

A Place for Science

On the trail of the haunts, homes, and posts of knowledge, from the laboratory to the field.

Portfolio

Witness the science. Stunning photographic portfolios from the pages of Seed magazine.

SEEDMAGAZINE.COM by Seed Media Group. ©2005-2015 Seed Media Group LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sites by Seed Media Group: Seed Media Group | ScienceBlogs | Research Blogging | SEEDMAGAZINE.COM