18 episodes

Where do ideas come from? In each episode, scientists Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher explore science's creative side with a leading colleague.

Night Science Itai Yanai & Martin Lercher

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 15 Ratings

Where do ideas come from? In each episode, scientists Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher explore science's creative side with a leading colleague.

    Uri Alon and our internal tuning fork

    Uri Alon and our internal tuning fork

    Uri Alon, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, is best known for his contributions to systems biology. But Uri is also famous for his very joyful and playful attitude to science, which is memorable for anyone who’s ever heard him speak (or sing). Uri’s research is exceptionally broad in terms of the fields he covers, which is one reason why he is one of today’s most cited researchers. We talked with Uri about a wide range of topics: about improvisation in science, about how to get unstuck, about how presentations can be creative and a chance to learn, and about how science needs all kinds of personalities to make progress. Uri discussed how to enter a new field, learn the field-specific language, and bring a new angle to it – by going into the ‘cloud’ and tackling the unknown. In thinking about how to train students to be creative, Uri talked about how we each have an internal tuning fork, which aligns with certain types of scientific problems that match our personality. 
    For more information on Night Science, visit www.night-science.org .

    • 39 min
    Agnel Sfeir on science as an obsession

    Agnel Sfeir on science as an obsession

    Agnel Sfeir is a leading scientist in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who studies fundamental aspects of the biology of the cell. Agnel revels in asking seemingly simple questions that get to the heart of the unknown in biology. In this conversation, she told us how she immerses herself in the project together with her team, and learns how to mentor each person depending on how they like to think. She discusses the trick of ‘thinking selfishly’ for generating ideas: when reading or listening to something, you should constantly think about how it might be related to your project. She generates new insights by obsessing about a particular problem in her research, blurring the line between day and night. In the last minutes of our conversation, she revealed to us how it is almost always during the last five minutes of a meeting when the most important insights emerge.
    For more information on Night Science, visit www.night-science.org .

    • 42 min
    Nikolaus Rajewsky on how to think like a bacterium

    Nikolaus Rajewsky on how to think like a bacterium

    Nikolaus Rajewsky is the founding director of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology. After studying Physics, he moved into systems biology, studying the role of RNA in gene regulation. In this episode, Nikolaus talks about how his training as a physicist enlightens his approach to biological problems. He also studied piano at the Folkwang University of the Arts, which gives him a unique perspective on the relationship between creativity in the arts and in the sciences. We enjoyed hearing about how he steps back from a problem to come back in a better way. Listen to this episode if you’re interested in how bringing together different disciplines creates a space for creativity.
    For more information on Night Science, visit www.night-science.org .

    • 26 min
    Bill Martin on paying attention

    Bill Martin on paying attention

    Professor Bill Martin from Düsseldorf University is a leading evolutionary biologist, who has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the origins of eukaryotes, the cell nucleus, and life itself. In this episode, Bill reveals how he chooses a research question and boosts his creativity. He also discusses the pitfalls of exploratory data analysis and the perils of working in highly crowded fields. And he challenges us: whenever a visitor gives a talk at your institute – think of the most interesting question. You owe it to the visitor, and it’ll give you ideas.   
    For more information on Night Science, visit www.night-science.org .

    • 39 min
    Steven Strogatz on ruthless simplification

    Steven Strogatz on ruthless simplification

    Steven Strogatz, one of the world’s foremost applied mathematicians, is a Professor at Cornell University.  While biologists have evolution as a guiding principle, mathematicians have beauty, economy, and connectivity, as Steve tells us. He explains how he ruthlessly simplifies a problem to the point where - while it still seems impossible - it is down to its bare essentials. That’s when he attacks. We talk about how in science you must stick your neck out with bold assertions, even if you might get your head chopped off as a consequence. While we typically highlight the objective aspects of science, Steve points out how the subjective aspects of personal taste and style are just as important for choosing and solving problems . 
    For more information on Night Science, visit www.night-science.org .

    • 47 min
    Samantha Morris on building your own creative lineage

    Samantha Morris on building your own creative lineage

    Professor Sam Morris from Washington University in St. Louis is elucidating how cells make developmental decisions as they navigate the space of cell identity. She had a rocky start in science, but falling in love with her projects led her to stick it out. Luckily so: she now runs a highly successful and highly creative lab. Sam thoughtfully discusses  how terminology - such as ‘dead end states’ versus ‘partially reprogrammed states’ - can influence the interpretation of results in a project. She also allowed us to peek into her lab meetings: every time, in addition to the progress reports on ongoing projects, one person presents a bold, new idea on any topic.
    For more information on Night Science, visit www.night-science.org .

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

BrittanieH ,

Invigorating and delightful reminder that science is creativity with metrics

The first two episodes have been thoughtful and exciting to listen to- I can’t wait for more to come!

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