Speaker: Robert Root-Bernstein, Ph. D., Professor of Physiology and MacArthur Fellow, Michigan State University Abstract: Our current educational system is based on the outdated 19th century need to train individuals to perform well-defined
Speaker: Robert Root-Bernstein, Ph. D., Professor of Physiology and MacArthur Fellow, Michigan State University
Abstract: Our current educational system is based on the outdated 19th century need to train individuals to perform well-defined tasks within stable professions by means of specialization. That model is no longer appropriate because the typical person today has multiple careers, frequently needs to retrain, and works within professions that have high rates of innovation. In a knowledge economy, flexibility and breadth are as important as specialization. My work has focused on the unusual educational backgrounds of the creative people and entrepreneurs who drive modern innovations in science, engineering, and medicine. These people are almost always polymaths with formal (and sometimes informal) training in two or more disciplines, of which arts (including music, theater, fabric, etc.), crafts, and design play unexpectedly large roles. I will provide evidence from large-scale statistical studies demonstrating these arts-sciences connections as well as anecdotal evidence from interviews and autobiographical sources demonstrating the specific ways in which innovators integrate their arts and sciences. These studies suggest the need to transform modern education to foster the kinds of tools – mental and physical – that innovators and entrepreneurs need to continue to drive positive change in science, engineering, and medicine. I will conclude by outlining what such an integrative, transdisciplinary education might look like and how it might reasonably be implemented.
About Speaker: Bob Root-Bernstein is a scientist, humanist, and artist at Michigan State University. He earned his A.B. in and Ph. D. from Princeton University and then did his post-doctoral research with Jonas Salk at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. A MacArthur Fellowship (1981-1986) encouraged his multidisciplinary activities. He is currently a Professor of Physiology at Michigan State University where he studies the evolution of metabolic control systems, autoimmune diseases, drug development, and the creative process in the sciences and arts. He exhibits his artwork both in group and solo shows and collaborates with the transmedia artist Adam Brown (http://adamwbrown.net).
In addition to being on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, Bob is an editor for LEONARDO, the journal of The International Society for Science, Technology, and the Arts, for whom he edits a regular section on ArtScience.
Bob has written four books, including Discovering (Harvard University Press, 1989), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times’ Book of the Year Award, and, with Michele Root-Bernstein, Sparks of Genius (Houghton Mifflin, 1999), which was voted Book of the Year by all three major Korean newspapers when it was translated there in 2007. He is at work on two more books, one on artists and musicians as scientists and inventors, and the second on modern scientists as visual artists.
Meeting ID: 945 5624 4263
Mechanical Science and Engineering