“What happens when science goes wrong?” asks psychology professor Kevin Dunbar. He studies how scientists approach the unexpected and learn from mistakes. Over the course of a year, Dunbar’s team examined the habits of four molecular biology labs. Watch his talk to discover their findings, including the surprising characteristics of successful labs.
In honor of Earth Day, check out David de Rothschild's incredible story about how he and his team built the Plastiki, a boat constructed from 12,000 plastic bottles. De Rothschild and his crew sailed halfway around the world to bring greater public awareness to the devastating impact of oceanic plastic pollutants and the need to reuse discarded plastics.
Tom Darden is the Executive Director of the Make It Right Foundation, an organization founded by actor Brad Pitt to build 150 green, high design homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Darden said he wants to take what has been a local conversation about green construction to the national level.
“Is water still running?” is perhaps the most important question when considering water initiatives worldwide, concludes Water for People CEO Ned Breslin. He’s tired of seeing broken hand pumps and taps litter Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These signs of failed projects underscore the critical need to overhaul water aid for real impact.
Adaptation is the basic idea that we get used to stuff and interpret signals. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores how these types of signals relate to pain and social adaptation. How does our previous exposure to pain alter how we experience it now? How is it that we all appreciate the pinnacle of beauty in the same way, but we’re drawn to partners with a level of attractiveness similar to our own?
Designer Orlagh O’Brien gave a simple emotion-specific quiz to a group of 250 people. Asking respondents to describe five emotions – anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love – in drawings, colors, and words, O’Brien ended up with a set of media she used to create Emotionally}Vague, an online graphic interpretation of the project’s results.
The story of Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton is one of liberation and forgiveness. In 1984, Thompson testified that Cotton raped her, for which he was sentenced to life in prison. Eleven years later, DNA evidence cleared him of the crime. Thompson and Cotton went on to write a memoir together about their experience.
Kathryn Schulz is an expert on being wrong. The journalist and author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error,” says we make mistakes all the time. The trouble is that often times being wrong feels like being right. What’s more, we’re usually wrong about what it even means to make mistakes—and how it can lead to better ideas.
Elizabeth Dunn conducts experimental research on self-knowledge and happiness with a focus on how people can use their money more effectively to increase well-being. Dunn determined that by rethinking how we spend our money, we can “change the world, increase our happiness, or win a game of dodgeball.”
Alan Rabinowitz overcame a debilitating stutter to speak on behalf of big cats. After creating the world’s first jaguar sanctuary and world’s largest tiger reserve, the wildlife biologist says we need new models of conservation, like wildlife corridors, which allow humans and animals to coexist more peacefully.
Dr. Mukherjee’s fascination with cancer is rooted not just in how to fight it, but in where it originated. Discovering almost nothing on the subject, the cancer physician and researcher wrote The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer that explores the history of the disease that causes one-quarter of all American deaths.