Studio 360 - Science and Creativity
What if Mondrian Were a Programmer?03/24/15
The Neuroscience of Jazz
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...
Big Data and Culturomics
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 (Uncharted: Big Data as Lens on Human Culture) teamed up with Google to create the (highly...
Can Drugs Make Your Brain More Creative?
The association of art with altered states of consciousness goes back a long way. Archeological evidence of fermented beverages and some of the oldest musical instruments were found at thesame 9,000-year-old sitein China. (If the Lascaux painters had...
Hacking the Climate
The idea of geoengineering — tampering with the Earth’s climate to fit our needs — has been a favorite trope of science fiction since the 1920s. In the 1970s, Carl Sagan speculated that we could terraform Mars to make it into a second Earth. That...
Making Music for Animals
Laurel Braitman is a historian of science and the author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves. She’s particularly interested in animals held in captivity. “If their minds...
The Science of Sculpture
Don Ingberis a cell biologist fromHarvard Medical SchoolandChildren's Hospital. One day he saw a piece of modern sculpture,Kenneth Snelson's "Needle Tower" — and Eureka! — it inspired a scientific breakthrough. Produced byLu Olkowski.
Want to Be Creative? Try Getting Bored
WhenManoush Zomorodiwas eightyears old, she walked around her house gathering up all the houseplants. She arranged them in rows, gave them all name tags, and then performed a concert for their benefit. Why? Because she was bored. But Zomorodi — host...
Billboard Top Five, But for Whales
Humpback whales’ remarkable ability to produce sounds is part of their biology. But the songs they sing is in their culture. Researchers looking at how the songs of whales change over time have learned that a new song can catch on and spread across...
How to Fly to Alpha Centauri
Talking about building an interstellar space ship makes you sound like a sci-fi fan who’s lost touch with the real world. Unless you’reMae Jemison, a former astronaut andthe head of100 Year Starship, an organization the home page of which boldly...
Alan Turing, Man and Myth
Alan Turingmight be best known today for theTuring test, but during World War II, he cracked the Nazi’s “Enigma” code at Britain’s top-secret spy center Bletchley Park, significantly speeding the Allied victory. He also helped invent modern computing....
Making Memories with a Microchip
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...
They're Made Out of Meat
We humans are pretty hot stuff — the most highly evolved species on the planet, or so we like to think. This parable by science-fiction writerTerry Bissonsuggests otherwise. To some space aliens who think they’ve seen it all, we’re not just primitive....
Mouna Andraosis an artist and web designer who’s always been fascinated by street vendors since her childhood in Lebanon. She created a working portable generator that uses a crank and a solar cell to charge cell phones and laptops, and even run small...
DARCI: A Computer With Great Taste
To make art, a computer first needs to understand what art is.A group of computer scientists at Brigham Young University is attempting this by feeding their program images by the thousands and describing those images. Digital Artist Communicating...
Spencer Wells: Making Maps From DNA
Where did we come from? Evolutionary biologistSpencer Wellsis pretty close to the answer. He's the National Geographic "Explorer-in-Residence" and heads an initiative called theGenographic Project. By collecting DNA samples from people around the...
10,000 Year Clock
The Long Now Foundation is designing a clock to tell time over 10,000 years. It will tick once every minute, chime once a year, and play music once a millennium.
Warming Oceans, Threatened Cities
If there's one climate change scientists are sure of, it's that sea levels are rising - and coastal cities are in their way. In a 2010 exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art, teams of architects envisioned radical approaches to the problem. Studio...
Aha Moment: Star Trek
In college, Ronald D. Moore's Captain Kirk dorm room poster prompted teasing, but his passion for the original "Star Trek" has paid off. A few years ago he transformed the sci-fi TV genre when he reimagined the cheesy 1980s "Battlestar Galactica" into...
Method in the Madness
In the official Hollywood template, you pretty much can't be a genius without also being nuts. Is there a connection between great creativity and mental illness? Tamar Brott speaks with Kaye Redfield Jamison and other psychiatrists to separate the...
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