As director of the intensive care unit at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital, he is intimately familiar with the heart and what makes it beat. And having been happily married for many years, he also can tell you what makes it flutter.
Rick Levinson knows a thing or two about love.
"You stand next to somebody at a movie theater and you can have an immediate, extraordinary sense of attraction," said Levinson, a Paradise Valley resident. "Other people you learn to love beyond physical presence, and that may be the most important love of all."
On Thursday, Levinson will discuss the biology of love at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the lecture, in conjunction with the museum exhibit, "Robert Indiana: The Story of LOVE," is timely. But for a subject that so many pretend to know so much about, Levinson said, love is still a mystery.
"This is not a topic that is welladdressed in standard medical reference material. There’s a fair amount of literature that addresses certain chemicals, which may or may not be particularly related to certain areas of the love experience," Levinson said. "So it’s hard to know how close this data relates to the truth."
Some animals have special sensory organs related to attraction; it’s debatable whether humans have the same ability. Chemicals such as dopamine and phenylethylamine, the latter of which is in chocolate, have been associated with a sense of euphoria and with people who are falling in love.
So although it’s a speculative science at best, "the issue of love and loss and all the biological ramifications is not an abstract issue," Levinson said.
Too much scientific jargon can kill the romance, though, so Levinson, an artist, also plans to discuss Indiana’s famous "LOVE" sculpture, on display at Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.
"I’ve had the opportunity to think why this particular sculpture, which is so well-known as a popular icon, has achieved so much notoriety," Levinson said.
Why do fools fall in love?
What: Rick Levinson, director of the intensive care unit at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, speaks about the biology of love. The lecture is in conjunction with the museum exhibit, "Robert Indiana: The Story of LOVE," on display through May 2.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, lobby, 7374 E. Second St.
Information: (480) 994-2787 or www.smoca.org