Falling for Science: Objects in Mind

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Sherry Turkle
MIT Press, 2008 - Education - 318 pages
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"This is a book about science, technology, and love," writes Sherry Turkle. In it, we learn how a love for science can start with a love for an object—a microscope, a modem, a mud pie, a pair of dice, a fishing rod. Objects fire imagination and set young people on a path to a career in science. In this collection, distinguished scientists, engineers, and designers as well as twenty-five years of MIT students describe how objects encountered in childhood became part of the fabric of their scientific selves. In two major essays that frame the collection, Turkle tells a story of inspiration and connection through objects that is often neglected in standard science education and in our preoccupation with the virtual.

The senior scientists' essays trace the arc of a life: the gears of a toy car introduce the chain of cause and effect to artificial intelligence pioneer Seymour Papert; microscopes disclose the mystery of how things work to MIT President and neuroanatomist Susan Hockfield; architect Moshe Safdie describes how his boyhood fascination with steps, terraces, and the wax hexagons of beehives lead him to a life immersed in the complexities of design. The student essays tell stories that echo these narratives: plastic eggs in an Easter basket reveal the power of centripetal force; experiments with baking illuminate the geology of planets; LEGO bricks model worlds, carefully engineered and colonized.

All of these voices—students and mentors—testify to the power of objects to awaken and inform young scientific minds. This is a truth that is simple, intuitive, and easily overlooked.

Introductory and concluding essays by: Sherry Turkle.

Mentor essays by: Susan Hockfield, Donald Ingber, Alan Kay, Sarah Kuhn, Donald Norman, Seymour Papert, Rosalind Picard, Moshe Safdie.

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What We Sense
What We Model
What We Play
What We Build
What We Sort
What We Program
Part II Mentors and Their Objects
What We See
What We Build
What We Sort
What We Program
Objects in Mind
What Inspires?
Bibliography and Suggested Readings
Illustration Credits

What We Sense
What We Model
What We Play

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About the author (2008)

Barbara Neri is a multidisciplinary artist and scholar based in Michigan. She is currentlycreating a book of art/criticism on EBB's Sonnets from the Portuguese. Neriwill perform The Consolation of Poetry on 23 and 24 October 2003 in the SponbergTheatre, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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