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


Friday, July 06, 2012

AARON is the world’s first cybernetic artist: an artificially intelligent system that composes its own paintings. Incredibly, the system is the work of one man, Harold Cohen, who had no background in computing when he began the effort. Cohen was a prominent painter; he represented ...

Quiz: Was this art made by a human or a computer?

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Hacking Into the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monday, June 11, 2012

For centuries, artists have come to art museums, set up camp in the corner of a gallery, and sketched the artwork on the walls. Earlier this month, 23 artists used cutting-edge technologies (including 3-D printers and modeling software) to put their own spin on some of the masterworks at the ...

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The Man Who Invented the Dinosaurs

Friday, June 08, 2012

Each of us can call to mind a clear image of many dinosaurs. That’s surprising, since no human ever set eyes on one. The images that we have derive largely from the work of one man, Charles R. Knight. A gifted wildlife painter at the end of the 19th century, Knight was ...

Slideshow: Charles R. Knight's dinosaurs


Playing Doctor

Friday, May 18, 2012

Television drama has created the impression of an ideal world where decisions in hospitals are made quickly and cost is never an issue. It directly affects our expectations for treatment, according to Billy Goldberg, an emergency-room physician, and Joseph Turow ...

Video: A scene from the Scrubs episode "My Musical"

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Art Therapy in Action

Friday, May 18, 2012

Can the arts actually improve health care? Kurt gets some answers from Jill Sonke, director of the Center for the Arts in Healthcare at the University of Florida. She explains how the arts have been carving out a place in the healing process ...

Slideshow: Art therapy in action


More With Jill Sonke

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jill Sonke tells Kurt about the benefits and challenges that come with bringing art and artists into health care environments.

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Music Heals

Friday, May 18, 2012

After piano music helped him recover from brain surgery, Dr. Richard Fratianne became a true believer in music therapy. In the burn unit at the Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center, Fratianne is measuring patients’ stress hormones during procedures to try to prove that music therapy ...


Novelist Chris Adrian

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chris Adrian's novels tell dark, fantastical stories that draw on his experience working as a pediatric oncologist. Adrian tells Kurt how writing helps him deal with the emotional burden of the medicine he practices. Anne Marie Nest reads selections from Adrian's forthcoming novel ...


Narrative Medicine

Friday, May 18, 2012

Medical students spend hours studying information on charts and graphs, but when was the last time they studied the meaning behind a good story? We visited a group of OB/GYN residents taking a narrative medicine class to see how embracing fiction can improve patient care ...


Design for the Real World: Dialysis Machine

Friday, May 18, 2012

Before the invention of the dialysis machine, kidney failure was basically a death sentence. Registered nurse Janice Breen explains how the design of dialysis machines has evolved since she started working with them back in 1973 ...

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Hackers Try to Save the Music Industry

Friday, May 11, 2012

At the Rethink Music conference in Boston last month, programmers, developers, and tinkerers showed up for a 24-hour coding frenzy — a hackathon — at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development (NERD) Center, vying to make the coolest app that could transform music. ...

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Storytelling and Science Collide

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Humans love a well-told story and scientists are beginning to understand why. According to a 2010 study by three Princeton researchers, the act of listening to, and comprehending, a narrative creates an unconscious physical alignment between the storyteller and the audience: their brains link ...

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Biophony: Music of the Wild

Friday, March 16, 2012

Biologist Bernie Krause believes animals communicate with each other on their own frequency, and when you put all those frequencies together, they interact in a way not unlike a symphony orchestra. He calls it “biophony.” “I was sitting here listening to these sounds ...

Listener Challenge: Name that Sound

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Constructal Law: A Theory of Everything

Friday, March 02, 2012

Over the last 16 years, the mechanical engineer Adrian Bejan, now a professor at Duke University, has been working on a theory for how the world works. It’s a theory of everything: how living creatures are shaped, how lava flows down mountains. It’s called the constructal law ...

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Aha Moment: Gravity's Rainbow

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gerald Joyce is a professor of biochemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. In the 1970s, he was studying biochemistry at The University of Chicago, when he discovered Gravity's Rainbow, the sprawling World War II novel by Thomas Pynchon ...

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Beauty, Truth, Math, Art

Friday, February 03, 2012

Last month, thousands of mathematicians attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston — the largest annual gathering of its kind. In addition to presentations on phylogenetic algebraic geometry and trace formulas, the conference featured an art exhibition, with 80 artists presenting ....

Video: Mathematical Art

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Transmit This

Friday, January 27, 2012

A lot of us learned that Guglielmo Marconi invented radio, but Nikola Tesla transmitted electromagnetic waves before Marconi — the Supreme Court decided the case in 1943. Jim Stagnitto, the Director of Engineering for WNYC, gives Kurt a tour at the top of the Empire State Building ...

Video: Kurt Andersen tours the WNYC radio transmitter

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Mr. Spock and Dr. Strangelove

Friday, January 27, 2012

Samantha Hunt describes the turning point in Tesla’s life when he began acting like a mad scientist we recognize from movies, and Biologist Vincent Pieribone traces how scientists have been portrayed on screen — from Dr. Strangelove to Independence Day. He remembers watching ...

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Garage Inventors

Friday, January 27, 2012

All over the country, amazing science is happening without institutional or government funding. We visit inventors working in garages, basements, even a Quonset hut on a farm. Rachel Zimmerman works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, but she was an amateur inventor first ...

Video: Frank Polifka's "Tornado in a Can"

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Introducing Nikola Tesla

Friday, January 27, 2012

Part visionary, part mad scientist, and absolute genius, Tesla should be as famous as Edison — but he’s been largely forgotten. Kurt talks with Samantha Hunt about her novel The Invention of Everything Else. Tesla is the protagonist, and despite the outlandish ...

Bonus Track: Samantha Hunt reads from her novel

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