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The Crossroads of Science and Design

Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

Science has deep and meaningful links to all aspects of the human experience, and the college has launched a new speaker series to celebrate these connections. The Crossroads Series is bringing together big thinkers from across disciplines for talks that tackle issues at the intersection of science and society.

Irene Joilot-Curie print
One of Phingbodhipakkiya’s Beyond Curie prints

At the inaugural talk on Oct. 11, nearly 300 attendees heard from design strategist and neuroscientist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya about her interdisciplinary collaborations, including The Leading Strand, an organization that uses design to shine a light on scientific research, and Beyond Curie, an artistic effort to highlight 35 outstanding women in STEM fields. The event also featured an interactive exhibition of her Beyond Curie prints.

Phingbodhipakkiya described the challenges and successes of the first round of Leading Strand collaborations, which paired scientists and designers to produce experiences that translated scientific research in visually compelling ways. The results included documentary videos, machines, songs and chatbots designed to help laypeople understand a range of complex scientific topics.

“Projects like these are important because understanding science is important,” Phingbodhipakkiya said. “Design can lead the way by helping the world appreciate the stories, people and ideas behind the important — but often inaccessible — institution that is science.”

Phingbodhipakkiya also announced that she will be partnering with NC State on the next round of Leading Strand collaborations in spring 2018. Faculty from the College of Sciences will be paired up with students from the College of Design, and Phingbodhipakkiya will work with each pair. The fruits of these collaborations will be showcased in an exhibition for the campus and community in late spring.

Mark your calendars for the next talk in the Crossroads Series, by Michael Specter of The New Yorker, on Feb. 22, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Hunt Library Auditorium. Specter is an award-winning science and technology writer and the author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.