TED talks: where art and science intersect

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) has been the focus for many educators and parents over the past few decades. Educating children in these subjects is important, especially when so much of the future economy will be based on STEM jobs. However, a new movement is beginning to gain momentum: an emphasis on the value and need of art in STEM education. Many leaders in STEM are saying that their fields are driven by creativity, and education in the arts allows students to strengthen their natural curiosity and use their ability to think creatively and critically to tackle complex scientific problems.

Here we have collected 6 great TED talks about the roles of art and science in the classroom, and why science, technology, engineering, and math are dependent on creative thinking.

Roger Antonsen: Math is the Hidden Secret to Understanding the World

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Is “understanding” based on our ability to look at a problem or idea through different perspectives? Is “creativity” dependent on perspectives? Roger Antonsen shows the importance of looking at math, and life, through different lenses.

JoAnn Kuchera-Morin: Stunning Data Visualization in the AlloSphere

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The AlloSphere at the University of California Santa Barbara allows scientist, engineers, and medical doctors to immerse themselves in data visually. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin gives a virtual tour of the AlloSphere, and explains how animated data and sound can help researchers learn more about their subjects.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas: How Computers Are Learning to Be Creative

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Google’s principal scientist, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, explains how recognition software can teach computers to be creative. This is a beautiful presentation that proves math can make for some pretty impressive art.

Leah Buechley: How to “Sketch” with Electronics

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Imagine the endless creative possibilities of a world in which we could draw working circuit boards: programming hardware would become easier to produce and work with; books would become deeply interactive and even handy productivity tools; toys would become more creatively interactive; and children would have convenient access to simple educational aids that teach them about electronic engineering. Good thing there’s a new type of conductive ink for that, as demonstrated by electronic engineer Leah Buechley, in her talk that shows how cool new technology based on old principles blends art and science together.

John Maeda: How Art, Technology, and Design Inform Creative Leaders

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This is an amazing talk given by John Maeda. In this lecture, Maeda explains how art and technology are not at all independent from each other. Instead, creative design can be used to develop software to help leaders manage complex projects, and even track interactions with people who are working on projects. A smart talk on a complex topic that shows how a little creative thinking is what really gives scientific thought the ability to change the world.

Cesar Harada: How I Teach Kids to Love Science

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Knowledge of how things work allows us to use technology. However, creativity is what empowers us to develop technologies that solve problems. Cesar Harada provides examples of how children have created imaginative technological solutions to issues such as tracking microplastics in our oceans to helping clean a river in Indonesia polluted with oil. He also teaches us how to communicate these important ideas to – and how to nurture a love of science in – our world’s young people.

April 10, 2017

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