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.
When Manoush Zomorodi was eight years 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 of WNYC’s podcast New Tech City — says her kids will never do anything so charmingly pointless, because old-fashioned boredom is a thing of the past, for fidgety kids as well as their parents. “When I’m on the subway, I look at my phone,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “When I walk down the street, I look at my phone. Is that bad? Is there a consequence to not having that time when you are literally getting bored?”
A growing body of research suggests that there is. Neuroscientists have seen fMRI evidence of organized, spontaneous thinking when the brain is supposedly idle. “When you’re given nothing to do, it certainly seems like your thoughts don’t stop,” says Jonny Smallwood, professor of neuroscience at the University of York. “[You] continue to generate thought even when there’s nothing for you to do with the thought.”…read more