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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The Where, the Why, and the How

Friday, January 18, 2013

Science has had a pretty good run these last few centuries: immunology, space travel, the Higgs Boson. But there are still plenty of phenomena at the edge of our understanding. The Where, the Why, and the How is a sort of text book for grown-ups that addresses science’s enduring mysteries ...

Slideshow: Inside The Where, the Why, and the How

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True Story: Keeping Memories Safe

Friday, January 18, 2013

On Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, the entire country stands at attention to observe a moment of silence. Everyone, that is, except for Daniela Schiller’s father, who sips coffee and reads the paper. Schiller’s attempts to talk with her father about his experiences in the ...

Video: Daniela Schiller on Memory

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How America Fell for the Mars Rover

Friday, January 11, 2013

When NASA first landed a man on the moon (which we do believe happened), an estimated 500 million people worldwide watched on TV. Decades later, when the shuttle program was canceled, and manned space flight just about abandoned, a lot of Americans felt that NASA lost its mojo ...

Video: Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation

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Mind Games: Designing with EEG

Friday, December 21, 2012

EEG — electroencephalography — is almost a century old, and it’s creeping out of the research lab and the neurologist’s office. Headsets embedded with electrodes to read electrical activity in the brain are commercially available, and designers are using that information for all sorts of purposes ...

Slideshow: The Ascent

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The Neuroscience of Jazz

Friday, November 23, 2012

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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Jaron Lanier: You Are Not a Network

Friday, November 23, 2012

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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So You Think You're Creative?

Friday, November 23, 2012

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 machines and has ...

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How Creative Are You?

Friday, November 23, 2012

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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Gary Marcus: Defining Creativity

Friday, November 23, 2012

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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Imaginary Friends Forever

Friday, November 23, 2012

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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Gary Marcus: Enhancing Creativity

Friday, November 23, 2012

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 ...

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Faking It: Photoshop Dissolves Reality

Friday, November 16, 2012

Professional photographers have always tweaked their images. But the ubiquity of image manipulation tools like Photoshop has brought us to a new place: for the first time, we no longer assume that a photograph documents real life. Maneesh Agrawala, a MacArthur “genius” ...

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Why Do We Blush? and Other Scientific Mysteries

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What is antimatter? Why do we age? How do migrating animals find their way back home? These are some of the 75 questions answered in The Where, the Why, and the How. More than a technical Q&A, the answers in this book come from both scientists and artists. ...

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Undoing Creativity: The Hidden Hazards of Control-Z

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zack Booth Simpson — a computational molecular biologist at the University of Texas in Austin, a software engineer, and a digital artist — uses the undo button all the time. But he sometimes wonders whether it’s helping his creativity or hindering it. One of Booth Simpson’s most well known ...

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Why Is Pop Music So Sad?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Pop music's not what it used to be. That’s what every generation of grown-ups says about what the kids are listening to, but fogey cliches aren’t necessarily wrong. A recent study in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts tracked the mood of pop ...

Graphic: How pop has become sadder since the 1960s

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They’re Made Out of Meat

Friday, August 31, 2012

We humans are pretty hot stuff — the most highly evolved species on the planet, or so we like to think. Terry Bisson’s science-fiction parable “They’re Made Out of Meat” suggests otherwise. To some space aliens who think they’ve seen it all, we’re not just primitive. We’re gross ...

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Greg Stock: Humans 2.0

Friday, August 31, 2012

Greg Stock tells Kurt Andersen he thinks technology may allow humans to break free of their natural life span. “We are like a dying animal,” he says, “we are stuck to our bodies and yet our minds can soar.” Stock believes therapeutic interventions to treat diseases like cancer ...

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The Posthuman Future

Friday, August 31, 2012

Everything we’re able to do today to enhance humans — from genetic engineering to artificial limbs — simply improves on the base model we were born with. But for some, that doesn’t go far enough. They think we shouldn’t be stuck with the factory-installed settings in our DNA ...

Slideshow: Transhumanist Art

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Becoming the Bionic Man

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hugh Herr is a leading bionics developer at MIT and a double amputee following a mountain-climbing accident. Herr has developed legs that allow him to climb better than he could previously. With a generation of young injured veterans needing prostheses, the need to build ...

Video: iWalk PowerFoot Gait Animation

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Making Memories with a Microchip

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ted Berger is trying to build a microchip that can remember things for us. He teaches biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, and his goal is to create a device that can take over for the hippocampus of the brain, translating thoughts into long-term memories ...

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