The world-class faculty for PopTech’s Science Fellows Program generously share with the Fellows their deep expertise in leadership, collaboration, communications and public engagement.
New York University
Sinan Aral studies how behavioral contagions spread through social networks – from products to productivity to public health. His novel research on information and behavioral diffusion in massive networks is being applied to a variety of fields including epidemiology, innovation management, organizational performance and development economics. Aral has won several awards and honors including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award and the IBM Faculty Award. Additionally, his work has been published in leading journals such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Marketing Science, Organization Science and the Sloan Management Review, and has been mentioned in The New York Times and The Economist. Aral’s work shows how emerging new technologies and modes of communication have a profound impact on economies and society.
Christopher Chabris is one of the creators of the world-famous “gorilla experiment,” a widely discussed and demonstrated experiment in psychology. The New York Times, The New Yorker, Dateline, The Early Show, Scientific American, NPR, and the BBC covered the experiment. It appears in textbooks and museum exhibits and was even discussed by characters on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Chabris is an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is also an adjunct assistant professor of neurology at Albany Medical College, a research economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a visiting scholar at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
Harvard Business School
Amy J.C. Cuddy is a social psychologist whose latest research illuminates how “faking” body postures that convey competence and power (“power posing”)—even for as little as two minutes—changes our testosterone and cortisol levels, increases our appetite for risk, and configures our brain to cope well in stressful situations. Cuddy, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, uses experimental methods to investigate how people judge each other and themselves. Her research suggests that judgments along two critical trait dimensions—warmth/trustworthiness and competence/power—shape social interactions, determining such outcomes as who gets hired and who doesn’t; when we are more or less likely to take risks; and why we admire, envy, or disparage certain people, elect politicians, or even target minority groups for genocide.
In his 18+ years at Duarte Design, Michael has worn many hats ranging from production artist, project manager, account manager, multimedia producer to emcee. In each role, Michael has leveraged his love of problem solving to help his clients develop innovative solutions for their communication needs and brings his passion for learning and facilitation to the role of instructor. Michael has a degree in psychology, is a lifelong audio enthusiast and a constant technology “tinkerer.”
Casey Dunn examines how evolution has generated a diversity of life. Studying the evolution of morphology and genomes in an integrated framework, his lab currently researches the relationships between major groups of animals, the evolution of Cnidaria – a diverse group that includes corals, jellyfish and hydroids – and the evolution of colony deep-sea superorganisms called siphonophores. Casey founded CreatureCast, a collaborative blog about zoology, which is cross-posted by Nature and has been featured by a wide range of outlets including NPR’s Science Friday and boingboing.net. Casey’s research paints a sharper picture of both the actual history of life on Earth and general properties of evolution that have contributed to these historical patterns.
Michael Erard is a senior researcher at the FrameWorks Institute, where he designs and tests explanatory metaphors to help non-profits communicate more effectively about a variety of social issues, including education reform, the science of learning, early child development, child mental health, and others. He has an MA in linguistics and a PhD in English and rhetoric from the University of Texas at Austin. For the last decade, he has also written for magazines and newspapers about language, languages, and the people who use and study them, and he is the author of two books, the most recent of which was Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners.
Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation
Chloe B. Holderness is the Managing Director of the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to engage Lex Mundi’s global network of leading independent law firms to support and empower those working to bring about high impact and sustainable social change that improves communities and lives. The Foundation achieves its mission through two core programs. The first program utilizes Lex Mundi lawyers to provide critical pro bono legal services to the world’s leading social entrepreneurs (www.lexmundiprobono.org). The second program is a recently launched unique online legal community, LawForChange, that provides a one-stop source of legal information and resources specifically designed to support, strengthen and empower the U.S. (and soon global) social sector (www.lawforchange.org).
Matt Kent has worked with Pilobolus, Inc. since 1996, as a dancer, collaborator, creative director, choreographer, and associate artistic director. Matt was Pilobolus’s head choreographer for Andre Heller’s Magnifico, a large scale circus production, as well as the choreographer for a Sports Emmy nominated teaser for Pilobolus’s collaboration with the NFL network, and one of Pilobolus’s television appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He has performed in over 24 countries and on Pilobolus’s appearance on the 79th Academy Awards. Matt is also a movement consultant for television and stage.
Itamar Kubovy is Pilobolus’ Executive Director. He founded Pilobolus’ Collaborators Project, which has partnered with the MIT Distributed Robotics Lab, Steve Banks who is the head writer of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and European choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, among others. Kubovy previously ran theaters in Germany and Sweden, directed plays by John Guare, and co-directed the 2002 season finale of “The West Wing.” Kubovy now focuses his efforts on securing the company’s transition into a sustainable laboratory that convenes creative minds to produce imaginative physical entertainment and distribute it on diverse platforms.
National Public Radio
Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. In addition to his science reporting, Palca is backup host for Talk of the Nation Science Friday. Palca began his journalism career in television in 1982, working as a health producer for the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. In 1986, he left television for a seven-year stint as a print journalist, first as the Washington news editor for Nature, and then as a senior correspondent for Science Magazine. Palca has won numerous awards, including the National Academies Communications Award, the Science-in-Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers, the American Chemical Society James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Prize, and the Ohio State Award. Palca was president of the National Association of Science Writers from 1999-2000.
For more than 15 years, Robert Pérez has helped people and organizations create social change by crafting communications campaigns that inspire action and build support for a cause. Pérez leads the branding and messaging practice in Fenton’s San Francisco office. Pérez regularly works with people and organizations on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California and Freedom to Marry. He also works on protecting open space, and on racial equity and economic justice issues.
The New York Times
Jer Thorp is a data artist in residence at the New York Times and an adjunct professor in New York University’s ITP program. Coming from a background in genetics, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science, data, art, and culture. His work has been featured by The Guardian, Scientific American, The New Yorker and Popular Science, and has appeared at the Museum of Modern Art.
Soren Wheeler is the senior producer for WNYC’s RadioLab. He has a masters degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University, has been a project coordinator at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has developed workshops and online courses for K-16 science and math teachers. At RadioLab, he produces and edits segments, manages the production staff, oversees development of future content and coordinates RadioLab’s segments on NPR’s Morning Edition. Wheeler has won awards for his work on segments about the periodic table and statistical understanding.
Andrew Zolli is a futures researcher who studies the complex forces at the intersection of technology, sustainability and global society that are shaping our future. He is the Curator and Executive Director of PopTech, has served as a Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and his work and ideas regularly appear in dozens of leading publications and media outlets. Andrew’s book Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back was published in 2012 by Free Press.