on creativity

“The psychological entities that serve as the building blocks for my thoughts are certain signs or images, more or less clear, that I can reproduce or recombine at will.” -Albert Einstein


“Creativity is as much about ‘problem making’ as well as problem solving.” -Vik Muniz

metropolitan opera

“As an adult, for doing this [problem-making], you can end up in prison, or an institution, or a museum, or a convention, as I am standing here speaking to you.” -Vik Muniz

kid with balloon

“Photography adds a layer of ambiguity to the drawing… creating hurdles or layers in which to look at the image.” -Vik Muniz



on her face is a map of the world

“If my daughter has to ask ‘Should I be a scientist?’ the answer is no. But if my daughter says to me, ‘I was born to be a scientist. I can’t be anything else. This is my life,’ then you say, ‘You go, girl.’”

-Dr. Joy Hirsch
Excerpted from Women Atop Their Fields Dissect the Scientific Life

“May your boulders be your blessings”

A rare post from my real “life” life… I graduated from Carnegie Mellon!

Can anyone say 7 am ceremony?
My brother tries on my cap
Figuring out logistically difficult things...
Mounting the Fence
Gesling stadium
Mom purchasing flowers
This is typical...
This is also typical

"May your boulders be your blessings"

My amazing advisor!

"I can't believe it's not butter!"
"No really, are you sure about this?"

some jumping pictures just don't work out...

portraits of genius

In a recent Wired magazine post, neuroscientist/journalist Jonah Lehrer asks, “Where have all the geniuses gone?” Lehrer, a Columbia University grad and a Rhodes Scholar, posits that perhaps we have become less talented.

“Oh no!” you think. “Not in the grand era of American ingenuity!”

It turns out that the idea stemmed from Gideon Rachmann’s column in the Financial Times. If you look at the dominating list of great thinkers in history, it appears to trump those of today. In 1939, for example, Einstein, Keynes, TS Eliot, Picasso, Freud, Gandhi, Orwell, Churchill, Hayek, and Sartre were in their prime. Can you think of their modern-day contemporaries?

Rachmann and Lehrer acknowledge that it is unfair to judge without the perspective of historical distance. Moreover, many fields – science especially – are increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary, thus why the most prominent studies published in the top journals are by a cohort of authors, and not single ideas championed by individual thinkers, as in the case of Freud’s theories or Darwin’s On the Origins of Species, etc.

Moreover, the “complexity of our 21st century problems” requires a thinker to master the field – which takes years upon years and is ongoing – before he or she can create new knowledge. Thus, while it was the case that da Vinci was most prolific in his 20s, nowadays, the average age for a Principal Investigator to receive his or her first grant is hovering around 40.

The era of the “lone genius” is coming to an end, Lehrer concludes. Lincoln, being hounded here by the paparazzi here circa summer 2009, is becoming an anomaly.

Shakespeare, sitting here outside of the Carnegie Museums, watches hundreds of bright young minds rush past him on Forbes Avenue…

As individuals, we find small moments of introspection…

… and cherish the opportunity to learn from mentors…

… to learn an art, which may be regarded as “virtuosic” …

… or encounter beautiful situations that challenge our traditional notion of “genius” and “virtuoso” …

“I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.”
— Oscar Wilde