Self-Assembling Shelters that could Revolutionize Emergency Housing
Inhabitat – February 16, 2017
Emergency shelter design is becoming increasingly important due to the various refugee situations occurring around the world. Although some designs have already been awarded for their crucial role in providing emergency housing, other forward-thinking designers such as Haresh Lalvani are actively working to create a biomimicry-based system where shelter structures would be able to assemble themselves. As cofounder of the Pratt Institute Center for Experimental Structures, Lalvani is employing a “wildly interdisciplinary range of tools” to create a type of generative geometry that would be able to assemble and repair, grow, and evolve all on its own. The designer is using concepts found in biology, mathematics, computer science and art to create systems where matter would start encoding information, a similar process to that of stem cells and genes in the human body. Lalvani explains that these biological systems are “the only place where software and hardware are the same thing.”
‘Data as Art’ Explores Distracted Driving, Contamination, and Social Media
Northwestern – February 2, 2017
Most people know that texting while driving is dangerous, so why do they continue to do it? This is one of the questions posed by Distracted Driving: The Choice is Yours, an artistic installation that transforms the abstract issue into a tangible, immersive graphics. The piece is one of the six final projects that emerged from “Data as Art,” a fall course co-taught by faculty from Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Each interdisciplinary team included students from SAIC and Northwestern Engineering, which organized the collaboration through the Segal Design Institute. Supported by the Barry and Mary Ann MacLean Fund for Arts and Engineering, the annual course is in its fourth year and aims to challenge students from both institutions to work together to translate complicated data sets into visual art or images that an average viewer can understand.
Wesley STEM Launches Innovative Interdisciplinary Program
Wesley – February 16, 2017
Wesley College’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program launched the STEM Undergraduate Research – Center for Analytics, Talent and Success (UR-CATS) to help build a STEM capable workforce with increased participation from women and underrepresented minorities. Wesley has been offering undergraduate research opportunities to STEM students through our directed research program for years and this new interdisciplinary hub is the natural next step to helping our students better prepare for STEM careers and graduate opportunities,” said Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Research Dr. Malcolm J. D’Souza. “We are very excited to give our students this empowering opportunity to reach their full potential.” In collaboration with our other statewide institutional partners, this program will allow students to work across multiple domains for an intensive and in-depth education and research experience.
Eugene Lang College Is Creating Socially Engaged Scientists
The New School – February 7, 2017
In Biodiversity Achieved Lab, the subject of DNA analysis was combined with history in a discussion of how children torn from their families during Argentina’s Dirty War were reunited with their parents through the use of DNA sequencing techniques. In Genes, Environment, and Behavior, a lesson on the double helix turned into a feminism-driven discussion of the scientific contributions of Rosalind Franklin. And in Stem Cells and Social Justice, a simulated role-play challenged students to research how a lawmaker might vote on federally funded stem cell research. These classes reflect an approach to scientific learning — one that blends traditional science and math classes with the humanities and social sciences and an engagement with real-world issues — that is unique to the Natural Sciences and Mathematics department at Eugene Lang College.
Vice President Joe Biden to Lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement
UPenn Almanac – February 14, 2017
University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann recently announced that Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has been named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he will lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a new center focused principally on diplomacy, foreign policy and national security. The Center will be located in Washington, DC. Mr. Biden will also have an office on the Penn campus in Philadelphia. “Joe Biden is one of the greatest statesmen of our times,” said President Gutmann. “In his distinguished career of service to our nation, he has demonstrated a unique capacity to bring people together across divides and to craft constructive responses to some of the toughest and most important policy challenges of our day. His unsurpassed understanding of diplomacy and far-ranging grasp of world issues make him an ideal fit to further Penn’s global engagement— including the work of Penn Global and Perry World House, signature initiatives to develop innovative interdisciplinary global strategies and programs that distinguish Penn as a global agenda setter in higher education.”