Science and Creativity from Studio 360: the art of innovation. A sculpture unlocks a secret of cell structure, a tornado forms in a can, and a child's toy gets sent into orbit. Exploring science as a creative act since 2005. Produced by PRI and WNYC, and supported in part by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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How to Fly to Alpha Centauri

Friday, July 18, 2014

It’s a staple of sci-fi, but the realities of interstellar travel are grim: it would take tens of thousands of years to get to our nearest neighbor in the galaxy using current technology. But some scientists working on the problem think it can be cracked in about a century.

Slideshow: Starship Designs

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The SimCity of Tomorrow

Friday, July 18, 2014

One of the longest-running and most successful video game franchises, SimCity, draws on current trends to imagine life in a simulated future. In its latest iteration, gamers have a choice between building rich but polluting industry and investing in green technology. You might be surprised which one is more popular.

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These Aren't the Droids

Friday, July 18, 2014

Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, and Ellie Kemper lament a future designed by and for teenage guys.

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The Power of Positive Sci-Fi

Friday, July 18, 2014

Has our fiction grown too fond of dystopia? Sci-fi great Neal Stephenson thinks so. He’s building a community of writers who are willing to start from a truly far-fetched premise: what if humans actually have a chance?

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Will Sci-Fi Save Us?

Friday, July 18, 2014

What does today’s sci-fi mean for our real-life future?  Cyberpunk author Neal Stephenson argues that it’s time to get over our love of dystopia. A class at MIT searches sci-fi classics for technologies they can invent right now, although maybe they shouldn’t. Geoengineers take a tip from Carl Sagan – ...

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The Real Scientists of Hollywood

Friday, July 18, 2014

Every sci-fi film and TV show, no matter how cockamamie, needs a science advisor. Surprisingly, these scientists take the far-fetched scenarios cooked up by screenwriters seriously. Today’s real-life science, they point out, was yesterday’s laughable sci-fi.

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At MIT, an Ethics Class for Inventors

Friday, July 18, 2014

A class led by two researchers at MIT’s Media Lab asks students to take imaginary technologies from sci-fi classics and turn them into real inventions. Will they miss the point of cautionary tales like Blade Runner or Neuromancer?

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For a Black Writer, Sci-Fi Offers a Reboot of Society

Friday, July 18, 2014

African-American writers have been contributing to the development of science fiction from the beginning. Artist and writer Carl Hancock Rux says they’ve used the genre to think their way out of race relations as we know them.  

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Hacking the Climate

Friday, July 18, 2014

Geoengineering — tampering with the Earth’s climate — is a sci-fi idea that could very well become a reality. But it’s controversial, because it’s impossible to know the long-term effects of tampering with such a complex system.

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Will Your Next Car Fly?

Friday, July 04, 2014

Along with robots and ray guns, the 21st century was definitely supposed to include flying cars. What happened?

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Carl Zimmer on Giant Sandworms

Friday, July 04, 2014

The science writer Carl Zimmer was 10 years old when his family moved to rural New Jersey. He quickly made a new friend whose father was the prolific science fiction illustrator John Schoenherr. Zimmer hadn’t read Dune, or seen Schoenherr’s unforgettable illustrations of sandworms. ...

Slideshow: Jack Schoenherr’s paintings

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You’re Living in a Science Fiction Story

Friday, July 04, 2014

It’s easy to look back at old science fiction and see it as silly. But there are important ideas embedded in those stories that influenced scientists and the way technology developed. Take the first science fiction film, Le Voyage dans La Lune or A Trip to the Moon, based on a story by Jules Verne ...

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Flying Cars and Tricorders: How Sci-Fi Invented the Present

Friday, July 04, 2014

From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to George Orwell’s 1984 to Spike Jonze’s Oscar-winning Her, artists have imagined what the future will look like. In this week’s episode, Kurt Andersen explores how science fiction has shaped the world we’re living in right now. The inventor of the cell phone gives credit to ...

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Annalee Newitz: The Future Is Coming to Get You

Friday, July 04, 2014

Scientists and science writers can rattle off all the sci-fi that inspired them to build great things. But Annalee Newitz, editor of io9, thinks that dystopian science fiction is less inspirational, but more influential. Dystopian sci-fi cautions against our hubris. For example, when Google bought ...

Bonus Track: Kurt Andersen’s extended conversation with Annalee Newitz

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Chris Hadfield: How to Brush Your Teeth in Space

Friday, July 04, 2014

Chris Hadfield’s recent cover of David Bowie’s classic song “Space Oddity” has more than 20 million views on YouTube. And not because of Hadfield’s voice (which isn’t bad, for an astronaut). Commander Hadfield was singing the song in space aboard the International Space Station ...

 

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Kirk to Enterprise: The Piece of Star Trek in Your Pocket

Friday, July 04, 2014

“By 2013, I literally envisioned that I would be retiring on the moon,” says Candy Torres, a former software engineer for the International Space Station. Like so many scientists of her generation, Torres grew up watching Star Trek in the late 1960s. On the Enterprise ...

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Will Computers Take Over the World?

Friday, July 04, 2014

It’s been a trope in science fiction for years: someday the computers will become self-aware and take over. But in 1993, the computer scientist and science fiction author Vernor Vinge wrote a serious academic paper in which he predicted that we were only a few decades away from that ...

 

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Hollywood Know-How Makes Good Medicine

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Louisiana physician (and amateur filmmaker) teamed up with a cinematographer to invent a system that they say improves the quality and reliability of photos used in medical records — using some basic Hollywood technology.

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Give them Zip Lines, They’ll Invent Jetpacks

Friday, June 06, 2014

Inventor and MacArthur “genius” Saul Griffith has some ideas about how to get kids hooked on science by making it actually fun. Hint: A chemistry set isn’t going to cut it.

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Your Brain on Drugs: Creative?

Friday, April 18, 2014

The association of art with altered states of consciousness goes back a long way. Archeological evidence of fermented beverages and some of the oldest musical instruments were found at the same 9,000-year-old site in China. Do alcohol and marijuana improve creativity?

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