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

You’re Living in a Science Fiction Story

Friday, January 24, 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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Annalee Newitz: The Future Is Coming to Get You

Friday, January 24, 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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Flying Cars and Tricorders: How Sci-Fi Invented the Present

Friday, January 24, 2014

From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to George Orwell’s 1984 to Spike Jonze’s Oscar-nominated 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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Will Computers Take Over the World?

Friday, January 24, 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 ...

Video: Ray Kurzweil’s lecture at Singularity University

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Will Your Next Car Fly?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Along with robots and ray guns, the 21st century was definitely supposed to include flying cars. We have pretty decent robots, and all kinds of lasers. As for the flying cars, there is a very small, well-funded race among a few entrepreneurs to make this sci-fi trope a reality. In Davis, California ...

Slideshow: Moller International’s Skycar

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Kirk to Enterprise: Star Trek in Your Pocket

Friday, January 24, 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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Carl Zimmer on Giant Sandworms

Friday, January 24, 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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Studio 360 Parties in 3D: featuring Javelin

Monday, December 23, 2013

3D printers make it possible to print almost anything. So we wanted to see what our listeners might do with this new technology, so we teamed up with the 3D printer maker MakerBot to give them a challenge: to create a holiday ornament. Last week, we threw a party in WNYC's Greene ...

Video: Javelin, "Airfield" (live)

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Makerbot and the Holiday Ornament Challenge

Friday, November 22, 2013

If a button’s missing on your remote control, your kid’s toy car has a broken wheel, or the temple tips fall off your eyeglasses, you’d probably just throw your hands up and say, well there goes that. Those days could soon be over thanks to a cutting-edge technology: 3D printing ...

Enter the 3D Printing Challenge

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Extra Credit: 3D Printing Challenge

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Studio 360 is partnering with MakerBot, a company that makes 3D printers, to give you a new Extra Credit project: a holiday ornament challenge. Winners of the challenge will have the chance to take part in our live event in New York on December 17.

Enter the contest

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Darwin Got It Wrong

Friday, November 01, 2013

Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Lord Kelvin are remembered as unimpeachable geniuses. But over the course of their careers, they each made tremendous errors — not just faulty equations but fundamental misunderstandings. In Brilliant Blunders, Mario Livio showcases those failures and the surprising discoveries ...

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Andrea Barrett's Literary Science

Friday, November 01, 2013

Andrea Barrett dropped out of a graduate program in zoology, but has never left science behind. Nearly all of her books, including the National Book Award-winning story collection Ship Fever, are set in moments when the grand sweep of science intrudes upon the inner lives of individuals. In Barrett’s new book Archangel ...

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Drone Art

Friday, September 27, 2013

Movies and TV are absorbing drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles as they are properly called) as plot devices in The Bourne Legacy and Homeland, for example. But some fine artists are also trying to sway this national conversation. Adam Harvey designs burqas and hijabs that make the wearer invisible ...

Video: Dancing with Robots

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Making Friends with Drones

Friday, September 27, 2013

Missy Cummings saw the dawn of the age of drones — sorry, “unmanned aerial vehicles” — firsthand from the deck of an aircraft carrier. As one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots, flying an F-18, Cummings realized that improvements in GPS were going to obviate her job. So she switched gears ...

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Big Data and Culturomics

Friday, August 09, 2013

Big Data — and how we use it — is changing the way we understand our culture and history.  Research scientists Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean Baptiste Michel teamed up with Google to create the (highly addictive) Ngram Viewer: it sifts through millions of digitized books and charts the ...

Send us your Big Data discoveries

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David Brooks: What Our Words Tell Us

Friday, August 09, 2013

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote that our word choice proves that we’ve become a more individualistic society.  Brooks cited Ngram studies which showed that in the last 50 years, words like “self” and “unique” have been on the rise while “community" and "share” ...

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The Art and Science of De-Extinction

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bringing extinct animals back has usually been left to the world of science fiction. But a group of biologists is attempting it in the real world. The organization Revive & Restore, a project of the Long Now Foundation, held a day-long TEDx conference on de-extinction a few months ago ...

Slideshow: Isabella Kirkland's paintings of endangered and extinct species

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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

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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 ...

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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"

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