ArtScience: A Recipe for Innovation

Collaging and titrating, Picasso and Newton — what counts as art opposed to what as science, and those who are artistic versus those who are scientific, have always been easily differentiated. That is until recently, however, when David Edwards, a biomedical engineering professor at Harvard, suggests that the conventional separation of the two disciplines may not be as clean-cut, and …

The Places We Learn: Online Collaborative Learning

How do we learn? This question has fascinated ancient philosophers and modern scientists alike, from Plato to Piaget, and there is much we still don’t know. Educational psychology has only begun to explore the complexities of this uniquely human capacity, and effective teaching is still more an art than a science. However, in the past decade we have witnessed an …

The STEM Imperative: Science Education in America

Science education in America is an incredibly pressing issue; in his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama made it his key theme.  He stressed the need to lead the nation into a new Sputnik era in which the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—are popular and robust.1 This is because the STEM fields are incredibly important to our …

Harry Potter: Lost in Translation

Universal Studios announced in early December its plans to add a Harry Potter section to its Los Angeles theme park, in a move that further strengthens the position of J.K. Rowling’s franchise worldwide. The park will supplement and likely resemble the one in Orlando, which features a replica of Hogwarts Castle, roller coaster rides, and Harry Potter-themed restaurants.1 Perhaps the …

Harry Potter, Psychology and Scientific Inquiry

The Harry Potter series is more than a simple collection of books and films.  It is an enterprise that has accrued an estimated $21 billion from book sales, box office tickets, and merchandise.1 With over 450 million copies in print,2 J.K. Rowling’s writings have had a significant cultural impact on fans spanning various age groups, nationalities, and backgrounds. Academia is …

Bombay/Mumbai: Formalizing the Informal?

Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich’s account of a hot night in Delhi embodies a sense of oppression felt only in Indian cities: “People eating, people washing, people arguing and screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People. People. People.”[1] Bombay faces a variety of urban challenges, including a …