Wiley Schubert Reed’s argument for the arts

by Wiley Schubert Reed Credit: Bill McConkey, Wellcome Images This is part of an ongoing series that aims to introduce young, aspiring scientists to topics that spark their curiosity. New York City high school student Wildman S. R. explored how art drives the creation of technologies that improve people's lives. More than 2,500 of the world’s leading business, government, academic and cultural influencers gathered this past January in Davos, Switzerland to discuss how new and emerging technologies will revolutionize humanity. World Economic Forum (WEF) Founder Klaus Schwab describes this Fourth Industrial Revolution as “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” Moreover, Schwab asserts, “there has never been a time of greater promise, or greater potential peril.” New technologies have the power to change the world for the better, but also for the worse. Gene editing technologies like CRISPR have the potential to cure genetic diseases, but also create the possibility for bio engineered eugenics (The CRISPR Quandary). As digital networks expand and intertwine, the chance for cataclysmic systems failure expands as well: a single hack or act of cyber terror could shut down the power or crash the markets of

ArtLab: In Translation

by Maryam Zaringhalam, @thisisartlab Given that artists + scientists employ similar approaches to developing their work and that this work is often presented in very similar mediums, it has eluded me for quite some time why art and science are generally thought of as being incompatible. As a result, in December 2012 I launched ArtLab :: The Series to provide a physical space for artists + scientists to come together to talk about their respective crafts, using art as a lens to focus a conversation about science. The ultimate goal is to spark collaborations between these two traditionally disparate communities, using the strengths of each to inform and compliment the other. To get us thinking about our work in a different context with a different set of tools at our disposal. On May 24, 2013, ArtLab presented In Translation: an inside look at the practice of art and science featuring insights from the insightful Gabrielle Rabinowitz, a molecular neurobiologist at the Rockefeller University + senior editor // regular contributor for The Incubator, and Dylan Zavagno, a Brooklyn-based poet. With the much-appreciated help of co-moderator Rachel Broderick [co-founder // creative director of Brooklyn-based mixed-media arts company Our Ladies] and our ever-enthusiastic


By Emily Jane Dennis @emilyjanedennis I have (so far!) two degrees: a B.S. in Molecular Genetics and a B.A. in Studio Arts. In college, I spent a lot of time at the lab and in class, but all of my free time was spent at Sage Art Center: home, sweet home(Sage Art Center) I did everything at Sage. I met all of my friends at Sage, I took classes there, I met awesome professors there, I made art there, and I even snuck in after hours. I was a Sage addict. I made mistakes at Sage. I listened to music too loud there, I got into pointless arguments there, and I made a fool of myself there... more than once. I grew up at Sage. What kept me coming back was the incredible creative energy I felt every time I walked in the door. People were always trying something new, something interesting. We failed a lot, but we kept trying, kept coming back, and kept sneaking in to work all night on our projects. In the end, we had created something... and sometimes, it was really good. This is the same thing that I love about being a

Snowflakes are pretty

By Emily Jane Dennis @emilyjanedennis It’s been cold here in NYC. After lots of mild weather, the last few cold days have been tough. Personally, I’ve found solace in three things: hockey, puppy sweaters, and snow.    These pictures, from William Bentley’s collection are simultaneously extremely familiar and eerily otherworldly… Whenever I look at phenomenal photographs I always want to know the story behind these pictures. Really, who gets paid to document and investigate snowflakes? The basics: Snowflakes/crystals are made of water molecules. They begin forming when water vapor gets cooled down quickly, forming droplets with dust. As these droplets freeze, they bump into other water molecules and droplets, and grows and grows (or doesn’t). Each snowflake is made of roughly 1,020,000,000,000 water molecules! (check  my math here- assumes a 3mg flake ) Lots of snowflakes are identical, but the more complex ones are very unlikely to have a twin. How do we know this stuff? Some really famous thinkers, Johannes Kepler**, René Descartes, & Robert Hooke (Mr. Microscope) described snowflakes as early as the 1600s, but true scientific investigation really started in the 1950s with Ukichiro Nakaya. Nakaya was a physicist and took pictures of ALL snow crystals (not

Welcome to ArtLab

By Maryam Zaringhalam Photo taken from Iain McGilchrist’s TED talk “The Divided Brain” Oversimplification is the kryptonite of any scientific idea, oftentimes turning pop science into an elaborate game of telephone, carelessly paring away all the nuances and caveats that make the idea so impactful in the first place. The lateralization of the brain, first studied by Michael Gazzaniga and Roger Walcott Sperry in the 1960s, has been perhaps the biggest victim of bastardization by oversimplification. The left brain//right brain divide has been pigeonholing folks for decades now, neatly sorting us into the science-oriented versus the artistically-inclined. The rational male versus the emotional female. The *Spocks* versus the *Kirks*. The practical, ordered, and scientific world is the territory of the left brain, while the imaginative, aesthetic, artistic world is the right brain’s domain… … the problem with such a black-and-white picture is that it doesn’t account for all the grey in your grey matter. Sure, neuroscientists agree that the right hemisphere sees the bigger, interconnected picture, and that the left hemisphere picks out details and organizes information to create a sort of rule-bound world. However, regardless of whether math or science or business or literature or philosophy is