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

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 ...

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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 ...

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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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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 ...

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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 ...

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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

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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

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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 ...

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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 ... 

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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.

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 ...

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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.
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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

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Why Is Pop Music So Sad?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pop music's not what it used to be. A study published in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts tracked the mood of pop songs over five decades of Billboard charts, and it confirms that pop has changed in substantial ways. Far more of today’s hits are now in minor ...

Graphic: How pop has become sadder since the 1960s

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Winners: Are We Alone In The Universe?

Friday, February 15, 2013

A couple weeks ago, we asked you a question: Are we alone in the universe? We challenged you to answer in the form of an illustration, and we received more than 200 entries, includingcartoons, scientific illustrations, and abstract paintings. Julia Rothman, one of the editors ...

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Caught in Tomas Saraceno's Web

Friday, February 15, 2013

Last year, MIT established a Center for Art, Science & Technology to integrate arts into its engineering-centered curriculum. As the first artist in residence at the center, MIT picked Tomas Saraceno, whose works resemble strange, epically large science fair projects. Saraceno was born ...

Slideshow: The Work of Tomas Saraceno

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