Falling for Science: Objects in Mind
MIT Press, 2011 - Education - 318 pages
edited and with an introduction by Sherry Turkle [as per Sherry]"This is a bookabout science, technology, and love," writes Sherry Turkle. In it, we learn how a love forscience can start with a love for an object--a microscope, a modem, a mud pie, a pair of dice, afishing rod. Objects fire imagination and set young people on a path to a career in science. In thiscollection, distinguished scientists, engineers, and designers as well as twenty-five years of MITstudents describe how objects encountered in childhood became part of the fabric of their scientificselves. In two major essays that frame the collection, Turkle tells a story of inspiration andconnection through objects that is often neglected in standard science education and in ourpreoccupation with the virtual. The senior scientists' essays trace the arc of a life: the gears ofa 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 SusanHockfield; architect Moshe Safdie describes how his boyhood fascination with steps, terraces, andthe wax hexagons of beehives lead him to a life immersed in the complexities of design. The studentessays tell stories that echo these narratives: plastic eggs in an Easter basket reveal the power ofcentripetal force; experiments with baking illuminate the geology of planets; LEGO bricks modelworlds, carefully engineered and colonized. All of these voices--students and mentors--testify tothe power of objects to awaken and inform young scientific minds. This is a truth that is simple,intuitive, and easily overlooked.Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the SocialStudies of Science and Technology at MIT and Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.She is the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (Twentieth Anniversary Edition,MIT Press, 2005) and Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet and the editor ofEvocative Objects: Things We Think With (MIT Press, 2007).