Science And Creativity From Studio 360


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.


  • Bacteria Biofuel

    Bacteria Biofuel

    18/05/2015 Duración: 04min

    Frances Arnold is a biochemical engineer at Cal Tech working on one part of the energy crisis. In a process called “directed evolution,” Arnold’s team is altering the genetic codes of bacteria to evolve a strain of organisms than can digest grass and excrete biofuel.

  • The Day After

    The Day After

    11/05/2015 Duración: 06min

    More than 25 years ago, the largest audience ever for a TV movie tuned to ABC to watch a simulated nuclear holocaust. “The Day After” focused on a group of survivors in the heartland of Kansas. Studio 360's Derek John grew up nearby. He asks his 9th grade science teacher why she made him watch the program.

  • Mind Games: Designing With EEG

    Mind Games: Designing With EEG

    04/05/2015 Duración: 08min

    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. On the one hand, experimental wheelchairs can now be guided by brainwaves; videogame companies, inevitably, are exploring game control without a joystick.   Exciting as that may be, Henry Holtzman, the Chief Knowledge Officer of MIT’s Media Lab, feels that EEG has a larger potential. 

  • How Do You Draw Dark Matter?

    How Do You Draw Dark Matter?

    27/04/2015 Duración: 06min

    "Dark matter" has been in the news again lately as scientists in Switzerland have begun mapping what they believe is its prevalence across the universe. But they're not the only ones focused on identifying and describing it. French artist Abdelkader Benchamma has been making intricate drawings of cosmic phenomena for a while now, and his obsession with dark matter reaches its zenith in an installation on view for the next 12 months at The Drawing Center in New York City.

  • Greg Stock: Redesigning Humans

    Greg Stock: Redesigning Humans

    13/04/2015 Duración: 10min

    Nearly a decade after the human genome was decoded, scientists are only now beginning to understand its implications. One of the leading thinkers in this field is the biotech entrepreneur Gregory Stock. A biophysicist by training, his 2002 book Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future makes the case that full-scale genetic engineering is on the way — whether we like it or not. And, Stock believes, if the US doesn’t lead the way in developing those advances, other nations will. “Between a third and two-thirds of the population — and even higher if you look at China or Thailand and other eastern cultures — of parents say if they could enhance the genetics of their children, enhance their either cognitive or physical capabilities, they would absolutely do it." But engineering traits to “improve” people remains a thorny issue. “It sounds so compelling, ‘take out a little bit of this, that, it’s going to be the best of you,’” Stock says, “but actually we don't have a clue what creates exceptional capabili

  • The Posthuman Future

    The Posthuman Future

    06/04/2015 Duración: 06min

    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 Intent (she goes by DARCI) recognizes about 2,000 adjectives so far, including terms like peaceful, scary, and dark. The goal is to teach DARCI to pick out those visual qualities in artwork — and ultimately, to write algorithms modeling creativity for artificial intelligence.  Last month, the team took DARCI out for a spin at the Conference on Creativity and Cognition in Atlanta. They invited artists to put their work on a thumb drive, upload to the program, and be judged by DARCI. The program scored works according to simple criteria, which were kept secret; the accepted work was displayed in a temporary exhibition at the High Museum. Several experienced artists had their work rejected; so did George, age six, who was skeptical of the algorithmic curation. “I can’

  • Backup Singers Bring the Hits

    Backup Singers Bring the Hits

    30/03/2015 Duración: 06min

    What makes a hit? A catchy hook? A good beat? Even the experts can’t really explain what the recipe is. “You can check off all of those checkboxes,” says Keith Caulfield, an associate director at Billboard, “but it doesn’t necessarily mean that song is going to become a hit. Because otherwise everyone would have a hit single and we’d all be incredibly wealthy, and it doesn’t work that way.” 

  • What if Mondrian Were a Programmer?

    What if Mondrian Were a Programmer?

    24/03/2015 Duración: 06min

    Vart (it rhymes with fart) is software engineer Jenn Schiffer’s experiment in teaching herself, and others, more about art by coding. She decides on a way to replicate or elaborate on an artist’s work in Javascript, and writes about the process and the artist. Using her program, you can generate works similar to “Composition No. 10,” and tweak the size and nature of the grids, as well as the colors. After that, she moved on to another Javascript art project: this one focused on the surrealist René Magritte.

  • The Neuroscience of Jazz

    The Neuroscience of Jazz

    09/03/2015 Duración: 07min

    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, and see what happens.

  • Big Data and Culturomics

    Big Data and Culturomics

    02/03/2015 Duración: 08min

    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 addictive) Ngram Viewer: it sifts through millions of digitized books and charts the frequency with which words have been used. Aiden and Michel call their method of combing through text to map cultural trends “culturomics.” “It’s like genomics but with culture,” Aiden tells Kurt Andersen.

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