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.

Recently in Science and Creativity

Beauty in the Search for Dark Matter

Friday, May 10, 2013

Right now, one of the biggest races in science is the search for dark matter. “It's really very very scary to know that after all these years of civilization we still don't know 95% of our universe,” says experimental physicist Elena Aprile. “It makes you feel very small.” Aprile heads a research ...

Slideshow: Inside the lab

Comments [2]

So You Think You're Creative?

Friday, April 26, 2013

We're always talking about creativity, but what do we mean? Can we find creativity, can we measure it, can we encourage it? Kurt talks with professor and author Gary Marcus (Guitar Zero) about what science tells us about creativity. A researcher shoves jazz musicians into an fMRI machine and has ...

Comments [1]

Gary Marcus: Defining Creativity

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kurt Andersen talks with Gary Marcus about what science knows, and doesn’t know, about creativity. Marcus is the director of New York University’s Center for Language and Music, and the author of Guitar Zero, a book about how the brain learns. Marcus is skeptical of tests that measure ...

Comments [1]

Are Kids with Imaginary Friends More Creative?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lots of kids have imaginary friends. Marjorie Taylor, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon, has been looking at imaginary friends and the children who have them. “They tend to be more social, less shy, and do better on tasks which require you to take the perspective ...

Comments [6]

Jaron Lanier: You Are Not A Network

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jaron Lanier is a pioneering computer scientist, a creator of virtual reality, a musician, and the author of You Are Not a Gadget, which takes a skeptical view of the role we have given technology in our lives. Lanier worries that it discourages originality and uniqueness in the generation ...

Comments [1]

Gary Marcus: Enhancing Creativity

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kurt Andersen asks about the role of disinhibition — the brain loosening control of its output — as a component of creativity, noting alcohol and drug use among artists of all kinds. Marcus adds LSD to the list, for a brief but innovative era. But he describes current research ...

Comments [2]

The Neuroscience of Jazz

Friday, April 26, 2013

Charles Limb is a professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins Medicine who has a sideline in brain research; he’s also on the faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He wants to know what happens in our brains when we play piano. Simple: stick a musician in an fMRI machine ...

Video: "Your Brain on Improv"

Comments [1]

How Creative Are You?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Psychologist E. Paul Torrance was nicknamed “the father of creativity.” In the 1940s he began researching creativity order to improve American education. In order to encourage creativity, we needed to define, measure, and analyze it. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking are still ...

Comments [3]

Remixing Spring

Friday, April 05, 2013

Several weeks ago we gave you a challenge: using a dozen bird songs recorded by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we asked you to create an original musical composition on the theme of Spring. We received more than 100 compositions, ranging from classical to electronica ...

Listen to the winning remix

Comments [3]

Vegetation Goes Vertical

Monday, March 11, 2013

In densely packed cities, green space is often hard to come by. Apartment dwellers who yearn for a whiff of nature resort to potted plants on fire escapes or roof gardens. But what if you could create forest with trees that stack on top of each other? A forest that grew up instead of out? ...

Slideshow: Vertical Forests

Read More

Comments [1]

The Flame Alphabet

Friday, March 08, 2013

William S. Burroughs famously said that “language is a virus.” Novelist Ben Marcus took Burrough's line as inspiration for The Flame Alphabet. In the book, the language of children has become literally poisonous to adults, and a married couple with a teenage daughter is faced ...

Comments [1]

Playing Against The Virus

Friday, March 08, 2013

In recent years, epidemics have become a hot topic in gaming. In the online video game Pandemic 2, you play the virus, aiming to wipe out humanity. In The Great Flu, you control a world health organization and make decisions about face masks and airport closures. Games like ... 

Comments [2]

Our Computers, Our Viruses, Our Selves

Friday, March 08, 2013

Computer viruses have evolved from an annoyance to a national security threat. Recently the Department of Homeland Security told Americans to disable Java on our home computers (a thing that few of us knew how to do) because of flaws that left it vulnerable to viruses ...

Comment

What Going Viral Means

Friday, March 08, 2013

Computer viruses emerged in the 1980s. But in the internet era, we decided not to beat viruses, but to join them. “Going viral” became the goal of any piece of content, from a movie to a Facebook post. Bill Wasik is the author of And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture ...

Comments [4]

Does Your Zombie Have Rabies?

Friday, March 08, 2013

Long before science explained rabies, the virus showed up in folklore and literature. "The vampire myth, the werewolf myth, and the zombie myth," Bill Wasik tells Kurt Andersen, "are all saliva-born infections that manifest as a contagious animal essence. Rabies is the only thing ...

Comments [1]

Going Viral

Friday, March 08, 2013

An epidemiologist explains how life is like World of Warcraft when a deadly plague breaks out online. Rabies experts connect the dots between The Illiad, Twilight, and Louis Pasteur; plus, an apocalyptic world where children should be seen and not heard — the sound they make can be deadly.

Viruses At The Movies

Friday, March 08, 2013

What radiation was to the 1950s — a real but poorly understood menace that served as an all-purpose plot device — viruses have become for our era. Viruses explain vampires in Blade, and zombies in I Am Legend and 28 Days Later. But viruses aren’t quarantined to genre flicks ...

Comments [6]

Reconstructing Viruses

Friday, March 08, 2013

Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University did groundbreaking research on reconstructing the DNA of viruses (sort of like microbial Jurassic Park). The method was used to re-create the spectacularly lethal influenza behind the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed between ...

Comment

The (Viral) Glass Menagerie

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Working with virologists and glassblowers, Luke Jerram creates striking and delicate representations of some of the most deadly pathogens known to man: HIV, swine flu, SARS.  Jerram says that he is “interested in exploring the edges of our senses … the borders and the ...

Slideshow: Glass Microbiology

Read More

Comment

Listener Challenge: Remixing Spring

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its entire collection of 150,000 animal sounds — including its especially vast collection of bird songs. We want you to use some of those bird songs to create your own composition on the theme of Spring. We’ll choose a winner and ...

Enter: Spring Remix Challenge

Comments [22]