Better Science Includes the Arts

Better Science Includes the Arts

Not long ago, one of my favorite very bright young people gave up the opportunity to go to a prestigious math/science high school because they didn’t have an orchestra. Or much of a music program. While I suspect this young man will one day make a career in the sciences, life without music was just … Continue reading

George Ferris’ Grand Idea

George Ferris’ Grand Idea

Did you know there was an actual Mr. Ferris behind the Ferris Wheel? I didn’t. Like so many inventions, the Ferris Wheel originated with a challenge. In 1890, as the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago was being designed, the builders had a problem. Just the year before, France had created the Eiffel Tower for their … Continue reading

Are Immigrants More Creative?

Are Immigrants More Creative?

Eric Weiner’s recent essay in the Wall Street Journal, “The Secret of Immigrant Genius,” suggested an unusual take on today’s immigrant debate—How many of the world’s greatest creative achievements have come via immigrants or refugees? Einstein was one, emigrating from Germany to Switzerland. The article cites others clearly recognizable as having sparked creative change: Sigmund … Continue reading

I Love You More Than Moldy Ham. . .

I Love You More Than Moldy Ham. . .

You know I’ve been spending time with pre-adolescents when a book titled I Love You More than Moldy Ham sets me chortling in the bookstore aisle. The book, targeted at primary grade students, tells the story of a young monster who trudges through swampland to gather ingredients for a special dinner for his mom. It … Continue reading

Squeeze a Stress Ball for Divergent Thinking?

Squeeze a Stress Ball for Divergent Thinking?

Can squeezing a soft ball help you generate more ideas? How about a hard ball? What would you predict? Those are questions addressed by researcher JongHan Kim in a study titled, logically enough, “Physical Activity Benefits Creativity: Squeezing a Ball for Enhancing Creativity.” Studies in embodied cognition both fascinate and puzzle me. The assumption of … Continue reading

Bratz to Bold: Thanks, Make!

Bratz to Bold: Thanks, Make!

I wasn’t allowed to have Barbie dolls as a child. My mother—ahead of her time, for sure—objected to doll’s the unnatural proportions. She did not want anything in our house giving the message that her daughters needed to look like something other than a normal human female. One night, hearing a banging, I found her … Continue reading

YOLO Juliet: Shakespearean Texts

YOLO Juliet: Shakespearean Texts

Sometimes creativity walks a line. The space between innovative and new-for-the-sake-of-new (or clever and tasteless) can sometimes be tricky to determine. That was a bit how I felt reading Brett Wright’s YOLO Juliet. YOLO Juliet, published—unsurprisingly–by OMG Shakespeare, recounts the tale of Romeo and Juliet in texts—emoticons and all. It is part of a series … Continue reading

Students as Questioners: What Do Writers Ask?

Students as Questioners: What Do Writers Ask?

A few weeks ago I wrote a series of posts about students as questioners, ending with posts on questions in particular disciplines: What do historians ask? How about scientists? Mathematicians? Then, I’ll admit, I got stuck. In each of the previous subject areas I considered the types of questions professionals asked when engaged in creative … Continue reading