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Osher Fellows

Osher Fellows

We bring outstanding artists, scholars, authors, and scientists to the museum as Osher Fellows through the generosity of the Bernard Osher Foundation. Osher Fellows work with Exploratorium staff on programs, exhibit projects, and new endeavors, and share their own research and work with staff and the public. These thinker-in-residence fellowships are generally one to four weeks in duration.

The perspectives and backgrounds of our Osher Fellows are wide-ranging and reflect the Exploratorium’s multidisciplinary interests. Previous Fellows include Oliver Sacks, who helped in the planning of exhibits about memory; Richard Gregory, who worked with us on visual perception exhibits; photographer Rosamond Wolff Purcell, who provided guidance for the temporary exhibition Revealing Bodies; and Edith Ackermann, visiting scientist at MIT’s School of Architecture, who shared design principles of interactive learning.

Michael Bradke

Michael Bradke is a musician, music ethnographer, educator, and musical exhibit and instrument designer.  He leads workshops, educator trainings, and performs in festivals sharing traditional music and rhythm making with voice and body such as "clapping culture" and "mouth music," which often result in impromptu group performances. He has also organized instrument-making workshops at festivals, schools, art academies, and science centers. Bradke received the 2000 German Culture for Children Award, was part of the 2011 Abu Dhabi Science Festival, and designed many exhibits for Swiss science center Technorama’s special 2014 Soundscapes exhibition.

Juan Felipe Herrera

California State Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is an acclaimed poet and author, and has taught poetry, art, and performance in different settings such as prisons, libraries, and community centers. He is Chair of creative writing at UC Riverside, and was named Poet Laureate of California in early 2012. The appointment is the first for a Latino in California. His parents were migrant farm workers; his writing articulates the life experiences of Mexican-Americans. Herrera commented, “This award is for all the young writers who want to put kindness inside every word throughout the state, because kindness is the heart of creativity.” 

Juan holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social anthropology from UCLA and Stanford, respectively, and has an MFA from the University of Iowa. His numerous poetry volumes include: 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, Undocuments 1971–2007, and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream. He has also written children's books including, The Upside Down Boy, Laughing Out Loud, I Fly, and Cinnamon Girl, winner of the Américas Award. He has received numerous awards such as the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN award, California Arts Council grants, National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a UCB Regents Fellowship.

Joy Mountford

Joy Mountford began her career in human computer interface at Honeywell, where she designed user interfaces for military avionics systems. She has been involved with designing interfaces for over twenty years in applications ranging from aircraft to personal computers to consumer devices to music systems. 

Her most influential work came when she joined Apple Computer. At Apple, she managed the Human Interface Group and worked towards extending the user interface beyond the desktop application. Her research turned to audio and speech interfaces, 3-D design tasks, hand-held players, and multimedia systems. The Human Interface Group was involved with the evolution of QuickTime, Navigable Scenes, Bubble Help, AppleSearch, Macintosh Finder, uses of color and information filters, and portable devices.

Joy is an internationally recognized leader in user-centered interaction design. She focuses on enabling technology for artists, in music, theatre, the visual arts, and movie making. Her collaborative work in art and technology uses new techniques of generative data visualization and includes diverse data sources such as air traffic patterns over North America and bursts of mobile phone usage on New Year’s Day.

Jasia Reichardt

Jasia Reichardt is a British art critic, editor, and curator with an interest in art and its intersection with other fields, especially technology. She was assistant director at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA, London) from 1963 to 1971. It was there, in summer 1968, that she organized the legendary exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity, which focused on the creative use of computers for visual art, music, dance, and interactive experiences. This groundbreaking exhibition received much acclaim in Europe and in the United States, where it was shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from July–August 1969. It opened at the Exploratorium on October 17, 1969, the year the museum started, and helped to establish the experimental and playful character of the Exploratorium. At its conclusion, several of the artworks were purchased for our permanent collection, including Albert, Drawing Board, Dioximoirekinesis, After Image, Sidebands, and Entrechats.

Ms. Reichardt was also the director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery from 1974 to 1976 and curated an exhibition, Electronically Yours: New Images from the Digital Era in 1998 in Tokyo. Her career has also included writing and teaching. She has written articles and reviews for most of the international art magazines and for many books about art, and she has taught at the Architectural Association and other colleges. She also manages the Themerson Archive, a collection of the work of the experimental filmmaker, writer and artist, Stefan Themerson, and artist Franciszka Themerson.

Bill Verplank

Bill Verplank originally studied mechanical engineering and product design and went on to get a PhD in "man-machine systems" from MIT. His talent as a teacher and mentor emerged early; as a graduate student he received MIT's top teaching award and, during the same period, his artistic interests resulted in the creation of a kinetic sculpture at the world-renowned Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

Bill has been teaching visual thinking and how to communicate and develop ideas in sketches for more than 25 years, and has worked at some of the most exciting and innovative R&D centers in the United States, including Xerox Parc, IDEO, Interval Research, and CCRMA at Stanford. Areas of active interest for Bill include haptic interfaces, inventing musical instruments, using metaphors to categorize and create new kinds of interfaces, and the history of electronic/digital interface development. More recently, he was a guest workshop leader at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Reggie Watts

Hilarious, brilliant, unpredictable Reggie Watts is a multitalented artist deservedly celebrated in music and contemporary comedy worlds. Most impressively, he is committed to complete improvisation for his experimental musical and verbal performances. Reggie's improvised musical sets are created on the fly using only his voice and audio equipment.

He has spoken and performed at TED, SXSW, PopTech!, Bumbershoot, the Edinburgh Festival, and many other performance festivals and concerts. He has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, toured with Conan O'Brien, and collaborated with the band LCD Soundsystem. He is also a regular on the video podcast variety show Comedy Bang! Bang! He has received many awards for his work including the 2006 Andy Kaufman award and a 2009 Creative Capital Grant.

During his Exploratorium residency, Reggie engaged in a sonic exploration of the Sound Column at our former location, and also celebrated the Mars Rover’s exploration with a stunning multilayered musical composition.

While at the Exploratorium, Reggie spent time with our Explainers, the Tinkering Studio team, and enjoyed experiencing the exhibits and engaging with staff including our Executive Director and web team.

Edith Ackermann

Edith Ackermann is a professor of developmental psychology, who has worked at the MIT School of Architecture, the MIT Media Lab (Future of Learning Group), LEGO Learning Institute/Vision Lab/ Educational Division, INVIVIA, and other organizations and research institutions involved in the intersections between play, learning, design, creative thinking, and technologies. Before moving to the United States, Ackermann was a Scientific Collaborator at the Centre International d’Epistémologie Génétique (C.I.E.G.), under the direction of Jean Piaget. Prior to her appointment as Osher Fellow, Edith was an advisor to the Exploratorium’s PIE (Play, Invent, Explore) group. Her work at the Exploratorium focused on formulating and assessing public activities for the museum floor. Edith met with staff to discuss plans for the proposed piers site, and to discuss the scope of Exploratorium educational outreach. She worked alongside PIE and visiting artist-in-residence Chris Bell on the creation and installation of several of his “Light Play” experiments, and gave a presentation about design principles of interactive learning that she has been developing at MIT.

Jont Allen

Jont is a senior researcher in acoustics, cochlear modeling, and digital signal processing at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. He worked primarily with exhibit development staff on new exhibit ideas in music and hearing, and ways to upgrade and improve existing sound exhibits.

Jeanne Bamberger

Jeanne is a professor of music at MIT, and is widely recognized for her use of innovative techniques for teaching music, which interconnect with her research on the cognitive processes of learning. She helped us develop navigation and music exhibit ideas, as well as a possible teaching research collaboration project with MIT.

Remo Besio

Remo Besio worked in the machine tool industry prior to joining the Swiss Science Center Technorama as a business administrator. In 1990, inspired by visits to the Ontario Science Centre and the Exploratorium, he proposed a radical new approach for Technorama: to transform it from classic, objects-based exhibitions into a lively, hands-on, modern science center learning environment.

His plan was accepted and he was appointed executive director to accomplish this transformation. Technorama built a world-class collection of kinetic, phenomena-based contemporary art pieces along with innovative, interactive science exhibits. His work was recognized with the Kulturpreis der Stadt Winterthur (Cultural Award of the City of Winterthur) in 2001. After eighteen years as executive director of Technorama, Besio retired in 2008. He now works as a consultant for new and emerging science centers throughout Europe.

In addition to his achievements at Technorama, Besio holds a diploma in marketing and is an accomplished pianist who has performed with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

Paul Black

Retired as director of education at Kings College in London, Paul is an internationally respected leader on assessment and teacher education. He is involved with a number of curriculum and education testing and assessment programs in the US and Europe, including the US National Standards Program to revamp the way assessment is carried out in the schools. He greatly helped us to think through and develop a plan for creating a degree-granting science teacher learning center based in the Exploratorium.

Ken Brecher

Ken Brecher is a theoretical astrophysicist and Director of Science and Mathematics Education at Boston University. His relationship to the Exploratorium dates back to 1976 when he asked Frank Oppenheimer to contribute an article to the MIT magazine on the occasion of (former Osher Fellow) Phil Morrison’s 60th birthday. Ken has been active in the world of informal science education, and served as Project Scientist for MicroObservatory project, which developed a network of telescopes controllable via the Web for use by students and teachers. At the Exploratorium, he contributed numerous ideas for new exhibits and, with the help of the Teacher Institute, built a walk-in exhibit that explores the ultraviolet spectrum. Ken also taught classes in the summer Teacher Institute program, participated in Iron Science Teacher, and worked with exhibit developers, Web site developers, the Cinema Arts staff, and others.

Orna Cohen

Orna Cohen has studied theater, learning research, and psychology. Born in Israel, she moved to France as an adult and created the children's area of the Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie, which opened in 1986. She moved on to all-ages exhibitions with the very popular "Me Games" exhibition then worked with Dialogue Social Enterprises in developing "Scenes of Silence," which is designed to bring together deaf and hearing worlds. She developed and taught a post-grad course on child and adolescent psychology with the perspective of cognition and museography, and has developed instruments for visitor evaluation and research.

She is currently developing Dialogue of Generations, a program similar to Dialogue in the Dark and Scenes of Silence that will bring together individuals of all ages with elderly guides. This program will offer perspectives from the elderly on their lives, values, and insights, promoting dialogue and helping to dispel stereotypes or similar negative assumptions.

K. C. Cole

A longtime science writer for the Los Angeles Times, K. C. Cole is a professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and the author of eight nonfiction books, most recently Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up. A former staff member and longtime friend of the Exploratorium, K. C. worked with its founder, Frank Oppenheimer, in the 1970s. During this fellowship she worked with exhibit-development teams on the Seeing and Matter/World projects, and helped advise the media and editorial staff in developing museum content and programming for the Exploratorium’s Web site.

James Crutchfield

Jim is a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, and research professor with the Santa Fe Institute, a research institute for studies in nonlinear dynamics and complex systems. During his fellowship, he served as senior advisor for the development of a special exhibition entitled Turbulent Landscapes: The Natural Forces that Shape our World. He was highly effective in helping the exhibition team develop a series of communication goals for the overall exhibition, and also helped ensure accuracy in the content of the information conveyed to the general public through various interpretive materials. Jim was instrumental in securing a donation of a special "Netra Server" from Sun Microsystems, enabling the Exploratorium to enhance online programs, and to accommodate the numerous visitors to the Exploratorium’s Web site. Jim also spent many hours in lengthy conversation and interviews to aid in the development of a random-access audio tour developed for the exhibition.


Joe Cusumano

Professor of engineering in nonlinear/complexity interactions at the University of Pennsylvania, Joe is interested in the humanistic aspect of engineering, and has created a center for art and technology at his university. He worked on exhibit prototypes in complexity with two of the graduate students he brought with him. The prototypes explored how research processes can be effectively presented in a public learning institution such as the Exploratorium.

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Christian de Duve

Christian de Duve, a pioneer of modern cell biology and cell fractionation techniques, is the discoverer of lysosomes, cell organelles specialized for recycling and waste disposal. For his discoveries, Professor de Duve shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1974. In recent years, Professor de Duve’s investigations have shifted from biochemistry and cell biology to the mechanisms whereby life arose on our planet almost four billion years ago and evolved to produce all extant living organisms, including human beings. He is particularly interested in the manner in which chemistry and natural selection joined to produce the first living cells and in the significance of those events as they relate to the place of life in the universe, including the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Professor de Duve proved to be a brilliant scientist, a gifted and engaging communicator, and a delightful and generous human being. While in residence at the Exploratorium, he met with staff from the life sciences department, gave an in-depth brown bag on his work on the origins of life, and sat down for an audio interview of his life’s work for a future podcast. Professor de Duve also presented a lecture on the origin of life at Meet the Minds on November 14, 2006.

Eleanor Duckworth

Eleanor is a cognitive psychologist, educational theorist, and constructivist educator. A former student, colleague, leading translator, and interpreter of Jean Piaget, as well as renowned Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, she is one of the leading progressive educators today.

As a teaching researcher and reflective practitioner, she is especially interested in teaching and in the experience of learners and teachers of all ages, both in and out of schools. She applies Piaget’s pioneering observations on intellectual development directly to her research in the development of ideas and to teaching and training prospective and experienced teachers at Harvard University and on many continents. Eleanor has also been an elementary school teacher. Her participation in the 1960s curriculum development projects Elementary Science Study and African Primary Science Program was a germinal experience that led to her insights and practices in exploratory methods in teaching and learning. She has conducted teacher education and program evaluation in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Canada.

Hubert Dyasi

Hubert Dyasi is a professor of science education at City College (City University of New York), where he has served as director of the City College Workshop Center for 20 years—a school and science teacher development institution at the college. In August 2006, he continued his fellowship, meeting with Exploratorium staff, including Director Dennis Bartels, and gave a brown bag lecture on “America’s Lab Report,” a National Research Council report of which he is an author. On an ongoing basis, he will serve as an advisor to our visioning project, helping to prepare the museum for its move to the piers.

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Arthur Ganson

Arthur Ganson is an artist-in-residence at MIT, a self-taught engineer, and the creator of intricate, whimsical machines that gesture. An entire gallery is devoted to his works at the MIT Museum; many more are displayed in galleries around the world. Art first came to the Exploratorium to create Chain Reaction. He invited staff to create elements in the chain, each of which triggered the next kinetic sculpture. On the night of Chain Reaction, the museum filled to capacity: the staff and public were transfixed. While working as an Osher Fellow, Art also met with the teaching staff about the relationship between art and science, and explored the nature of creativity with them. In addition, Art set up a mini-exhibition of his mechanical sculpture. Even after he left, he continued to send some of his pieces to the Exploratorium for display.

Michael Glantz

Michael H. Glantz is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and director of the Center for Capacity Building in the Societal-Environmental Research and Education Laboratory (SERE), where he works with museums on public outreach and develops ongoing education programs for scientists and college students. He is interested in how climate affects society and how society affects climate, especially how the interaction between climate anomalies and human activities affect quality of life issues. His research relates to African drought and desertification, and food production problems and prospects; societal impacts of climate anomalies related to El Nino events and the use of El Nino–related teleconnections to forecast these impacts; developing methods of forecasting possible societal responses to the regional impacts of climate change; and the use of climate-related information for economic development. He has also coordinated joint research in the Central Asian Republics of the former USSR.

Louis Gomez

Louis M. Gomez is an associate professor of Learning Science and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He codirects The Learning Through Collaborative Visualization Project (CoVis) at Northwestern, focusing on bringing next-generation computing and communication technologies, along with open-ended scientific inquiry, to high school classrooms. During his initial visits, Louis met with research staff and their colleagues on a broad range of research topics, including informal learning theory and practice, mobile and online learning, digital fluency, and museum schools. He gave an insightful and well-attended brown bag discussion on his experiences with the Chicago schools to increase basic literacy as a step to facilitate science learning and the useful partnerships that can be developed with commercial companies, universities, and nonprofit organizations. Louis was invited by Dennis Bartels to participate in the visioning process in anticipation of our move to the piers. He was also the featured speaker at the January 2007 Meet the Minds, in which he challenged the education field and social science researchers field to create more effective and targeted research programs for improving public education in urban school districts.

Richard Gregory

Richard is world-renowned visual perception scientist, and a longtime friend of and resource for the Exploratorium. He is the author/editor of many books on perception including The Oxford Companion to the Mind and Eye and Brain, and founder of the Exploratory, a science center in Bristol, England. He is also a professor at the University of Bristol. Richard assisted us in a variety of perception and physics exhibit development projects, and met extensively with our Seeing exhibit team, and worked extensively with our high school Explainers.

Elaine Gurian

Elaine started her museum career at the Boston Children’s Museum and was part of the senior staff group that planned the museum’s 1979 move from its original location to a new warehouse facility along Fort Point Channel. She spent five years as deputy director of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and two years as deputy director for the National Museum of the American Indian. She also has been involved in Te Papa (New Zealand’s national museum), the Cranbrook Institute, the Dubai Municipality Children’s Museum, and the National Discovery Museum (Thailand). She writes extensively; many of her essays appear in Civilizing the Museum (2006). In the essay “Moving the Museum,” she discusses the Boston Children’s Museum’s roller-coaster experiences during four years of planning for a move and the first year in its new building. 

She is a board member for The International Council of Museums (ICOM), and a frequent keynote speaker at museum conferences nationally and internationally. She holds a master’s degree in education and originally taught art for K–6 before moving into the museum world. 

Kris Gutiérrez

Dr. Kris Gutiérrez is a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s School of Education. Her research interests address the relationship between literacy, culture, and learning, and target how students appropriate cultural concepts. Specifically, her work focuses on the processes by which people negotiate meaning in culturally organized contexts, using language and literacies that are embedded within socio-historical traditions. Issues of equity and excellence are recurrent themes in her work.

Gutiérrez has conducted long-term ethnographic studies across various school districts. Her studies have centered on the cultural dimensions of literacy learning, the social organization of formal and nonformal learning environments, and the effects of new forms of mediation on student and teacher learning. She has also studied the effects of new policies and reform initiatives on English learners and their schooling practices; and reading and writing development in elementary- and secondary-school-age students, including English Learners and students from migrant farm worker backgrounds.

In 2006–2007, she was a Fellow at the prestigious Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Most recently, Professor Gutiérrez served as a member of President Obama’s Education Policy Transition Team. She is currently serving as president of the American Educational Research Association.

Edward T. Hall

Cultural anthropologist and prolific author, Edward has explored cross-cultural perception and behavior and intercultural relations. He developed Proxemics, a field of study that looks at the personal and social space people create in different cultural situations. During the second part of his fellowship, he worked with a wide variety of Exploratorium staff on issues concerning cross-cultural communication and perception in exhibits and programs within the museum. He returned as an Osher Fellow in November 1995 for the first part of a two-part fellowship. He lent his unique perspectives to a wide variety of exhibit development and program efforts throughout the Exploratorium. During his fellowship, he concentrated on the refocusing of the floor project. Numerous provocative discussions were held with large numbers of staff in which Edward challenged many of the assumptions regarding the organization and content of the Exploratorium’s public environment. Many of the ideas raised in these discussions became key themes in the refocusing planning effort. He also met with teaching staff to discuss cultural issues related to working with diversity in the schools, and he held some lively sessions with our high school Explainers on the cultural differences the Explainers encounter as they assist the visitors on the exhibit floor.

Wynne Harlen

Director of the Scottish Council for Research Education in Edinburgh, Wynne has worked to encourage schools to create learning situations in which the processes of science are used to develop conceptual understandings. She has also conducted extensive research in how children and adults use out-of-school experiences in more formal learning settings. Her wide-ranging research was helpful in creating the pedagogical infrastructure of our National Center for Teacher Education, and in planning the Institute for Inquiry’s inquiry-based curriculum programs.

Jan Hawkins

The late Jan Hawkins was the director of the Center for Children and Technology at the Educational Development Center (EDC) in New York City. The EDC’s innovative projects provide highly diverse youth with access to media technology. Jan’s experience in effective learning assessment was invaluable to the Exploratorium’s Center for Teaching and Learning projects, as well as visitor research/evaluation efforts.



George Hein

Professor in the Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences at Lesley College and co-director of the Program Evaluation and Research Group, George has conducted extensive research on learning in museums. He has a doctorate in chemistry, has developed science curriculum, and has been active in school reform efforts. Associated with the Exploratorium for many years, George is an advisor for Institute for Inquiry programs and was an evaluator for the Traits of Life project.

Tim Hunkin

Tim is an artist, tinkerer, filmmaker, and writer. He is also producer and director of two TV series: “The Secret Life of Office Machines” and “The Secret Life of Machines,” broadcast in England and the U.S. on the Discovery cable channel. Tim was a wonderful resource for exhibits in almost every area. He served as an overall burst of energy for our machine shop staff, and created numerous ideas that added to and improved existing exhibits in electricity, heat, and temperature.

Lewis Hyde

Lewis is a professor of sociology and comparative literature at Harvard and Kenyon Colleges, and a MacArthur Fellow. He is the author of The Gift, which explores different cultural variations on the tradition of gift giving, and Trickster Makes This World, a comprehensive study of the trickster’s role in a variety of cultures, myths, and time periods. His deep interest and experience in interdisciplinary investigations focusing on cultural comparisons helped in developing new biology exhibits, and our Seeing and Matter/World exhibitions, as well as inquiry-based education programs.

Eric Jolly

Physicist, psychologist, vice president, and senior scientist at Education Development Center in Boston, Eric is involved in numerous national science education reform efforts. His psychology, education, and diversity research work related to needs throughout the museum. He was working on a large access project to get technology into the hands of people on reservations, urban community centers, and migrant farm sites. Eric also conducts diversity training programs for educators, and reviews science curriculum for elementary and secondary school projects.

Paul Kaiser

Paul Kaiser is a dynamic, internationally recognized artist from New York who has created video installations for museums and digital choreography with renowned dancers Bill T. Jones and Merce Cunningham. He works at the intersection of dance, drawing, and computer graphics, incorporating motion capture into many of his works. During his Osher residency, Paul worked with members of the Seeing exhibition team and co-created a media-based exhibit using abstract drawings as a way to explore what people see in them as well as inspiring the team to think about the social aspects of seeing and perception. On his second visit, Paul worked on a film program and on a proposal for a public art piece.

Dr. Evelyn Fox Keller

Dr. Evelyn Fox Keller is a physicist, a mathematical biologist, and a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has published numerous articles on theoretical physics, molecular biology, mathematical biology, and more recently in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. Keller's research focuses on the history and philosophy of modern biology and on gender and science. She is the author of several books, including Reflections on Gender and Science (1985), A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock (1983), Reflections on Gender and Science (1985), The Century of the Gene (2000), and Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors and Machines (2002)

Christof Koch

Christof Koch is a dynamic neuroscientist working on the biological basis of consciousness. He is the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and executive director for Computation and Neural Systems at the California Institute of Technology, where he also runs Kochlab (www.klab.caltech.edu). He was a close collaborator of Francis Crick; for more than fifteen years, they worked on understanding what makes humans conscious, using the brain's visual systems to uncover the neuronal basis of consciousness. Professor Koch's book, The Quest for Consciousness, elaborates on the Crick-Koch framework for how the subjective mind arises out of the flickering interactions within the neurons of the cerebral cortex and related structures.

Edward “Rocky” Kolb

Rocky Kolb is the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, and a member of the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. He is the author of the award-winning Blind Watchers of the Sky and co-author of The Early Universe, the standard text for particle physics and cosmology. Dr. Kolb gave a fascinating public talk on the mysteries of the dark universe. He also visited the new pier location and gave a video interview on dark energy, and met with senior staff about a possible collaboration on a public art installation depicting the Sloan sky survey, and his education plans for the historic Yerkes Observatory.

Rick Lowe

Rick is an artist and founder of the Project Row Houses, which rescued a block of endangered shotgun houses in a historically black neighborhood in Houston and converted them to gallery spaces for a community-based arts education program. Through Project Row Houses, he also raised money to renovate a block of houses to serve as transitional housing for young mothers in a community setting. The program provides housing, childcare, and education and career training. A prominent African-American artist himself, Rick has largely given up his independent work to dedicate his life to helping communities incorporate art and science programs into inner-city neighborhoods. Rick helped us think about program spaces and helped forge community collaborations as we prepare for a new home. He spent time with a staff member at the community gardens project in Hunter’s Point and made extensive visits with staff to the piers location. He was also interviewed for a podcast about his work and about the practical aspects of artists as community resources rather than simply creators of inspiring “high art.”

Roger Malina

Dr. Roger F. Malina is an astrophysicist at the Laboratoire D'Astrophysique de Marseille, CNRS, France, and a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory. Dr. Malina is currently working with the team from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory at UC Berkeley that is designing a new satellite observatory called SNAP (SuperNova Acceleration Probe), which will study the nature of dark energy and dark matter in the universe. Since 1982, Dr. Malina has also served as the executive editor of the Leonardo publications, which consist of the Leonardo Book Series and Leonardo Journals, and are published by MIT Press. The Leonardo Network brings together artists, scientists, and engineers who seek to promote the interaction of the arts and sciences and the arts and new technologies. He worked with Exploratorium senior artists on the August 2006 ISEA (International Society for Electronic Artists) conference roundtable that addressed Artist-in-Residence programs in science institutions, and advised on a book proposal about artists at the Exploratorium. http://www.leonardo.info/rolodex/malina.roger.html

Bob Miller

The late Bob Miller was the first artist-in-residence at the Exploratorium and helped Frank Oppenheimer build a vision for integrating art and science in a public space. He was a full-time artist and staff member from 1970 to 1988 and served as Associate Director for 10 years. Bob was the creator of many iconic exhibits at the Exploratorium including Sun Painting, and created Image Walks, an outdoors interactive lecture/demonstration about light and vision. Bob helped us prepare for the pier relocation, worked on our digital archives, and met with exhibit developers, artists, teachers, and program staff to inspire and help identify new projects. He also provided invaluable insight into Frank Oppenheimer’s vision for the continued development of the Exploratorium.

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan is a medical doctor, author, the creator of the “Body in Question” TV series, and a theater and opera director. During his fellowship, he interacted with highly diverse areas of the museum. He met with Feedback, Framework, and Genetics exhibit planning groups; editorial; museum Explainers; and marketing as well as media and teaching staff. In addition, he brought other outside experts to the museum, including child development researcher Alison Gopnick, perception researcher Irvin Rock, Oxford philosophy professor Bernard Williams, and Harvard education professor Howard Gardner. His weekly brown bag lunches were attended by a large number of staff from every area of the museum.

Jim Minstrell

Jim is a high school science teacher from Mercer Island, Washington, and nationally respected learning researcher. His experience was of great use in our teacher programs, especially for the Teacher Institute and the Explainers. His work in teaching teachers to research their own students’ learning was of use throughout the museum.


Philip Morrison & Phylis Morrison

The late Philip Morrison was an astrophysicist and Institute Professor at MIT, and was also a book review editor for Scientific American. Together with his wife, the late Phylis Morrison, a noted art and science educator, he created the PBS series “The Ring of Truth.” During their Osher fellowship, the Morrisons worked with Explainers, exhibit development staff, and Exploratorium teachers on ideas that ranged from cosmology to cognition.



Walter Murch

<p>In addition to being the recipient of three Oscars and a leader widely respected in cinema for his editing and sound design, Walter Murch also studies astronomy, translates Italian poetry, investigates classical architecture, and composes music. His expertise in editing has led Walter to numerous insights on aural and visual perception especially in the area of flicker/fusion perception, which has great relevance to film sound design and editing.</p>

Sidney Nagel

Sidney Nagel is a condensed matter physicist at the University of Chicago and is a pioneer in the study of granular materials. Using sand piles, he performed the first study of avalanches, and his vibration studies have revealed convection phenomena in these systems. In addition, his group invented techniques that illuminate novel collective behavior in glassy materials. Using everyday materials such as seeds, sand, water, and coffee grounds, Sid looks at very common and ubiquitous phenomena—like how coffee stains form and what happens on the edges of things between granular and liquid materials. He has made some surprising discoveries about how these phenomena behave which were not previously understood. His discoveries have practical implications for things like delivering medicine to individual human cells or dealing with materials in a grain elevator. His interest in everyday phenomena, from the stickiness of honey to traffic jams, has deep implications for understanding hydrodynamics, granular flows, and materials science. His discoveries are not only important to physicists, but have applications in manufacturing industries, from pharmaceuticals to food processing.

Matthew Nisbet

Matthew Nisbet is a communications professor at American University in Washington, D.C., who studies the nature and impacts of strategic communication, especially in emerging platforms on the Internet. He also tracks scientific and environmental controversies and has studied a wide range of debates including those over stem cell research, global warming, and intelligent design-creationism. He writes an influential blog, Framing Science, that tracks research in communicating science and the public perception and understanding of current scientific research and science controversies. Matt met with Web, public programs, and public information staff, and gave several talks on science controversies, communication strategies, and science literacy research.

Jon Ogborn

Jon is the Chair of Science Education at the University of London’s Institute of Education. In the late 1960s, he was jointly responsible for the Nuffield Foundation Advanced Physics Teaching Project for teenagers from 16 to 18 years old. His more recent interests include developing the ideas of John Tukey about Exploratory Data Analysis for high schools, developing computational modeling systems which require little or no mathematics, and fundamental studies of the sources of people’s conceptions of the world. His broad interest in science teaching and learning was helpful to our teacher programs, Explainers, and exhibit development projects.



Jonathan Osborne

Jonathan Osborne holds the Chair of Science Education at King's College London and is co-PI for the Exploratorium’s Center for Informal Science and Schools (CILS) project. He was elected head of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching and is the science education advisor to the British parliament. His research interests are devoted to improving the quality of science education and learning. He is interested in the importance of story and narrative in engaging the general public with science and with developing science literacy. Jonathan feels that science museums are critical players for the general public in understanding science. He focuses on the importance of having people engage in inquiries that lead to data or evidence, which then need to be considered and used to construct explanations of why things work the way they do. The next step is to engage in discussion, meaning-making, and interpretation to develop one's understanding. Following his Osher residency, Jonathon was a co-convener for the CILS workshops and meeting held in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

Guillermo Gomez- Pena

A performance artist and journalist from Mexico, Guillermo worked with our exhibit and arts program staff on navigation ideas related to his innovative performance work on North/South borders. He also gave workshop sessions with our teaching staff, local bilingual teachers, and high school Explainers on cross-cultural communication issues between the United States and Mexico relations. In June 1992, he received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award.

Dennis Purcell

As Principal Engineer at ZDNet, one of the largest informational sites on the Web, Dennis analyzes visitor traffic and advises business development and sales teams. In the mid-1960s, Dennis was a photographer for the Army in Panama and an assistant to Ansel Adams in San Francisco and Carmel. He is the co-inventor of a pinhole-based architectural model camera and developer of a turtle-graphics drawing program. Dennis helped analyze the Exploratorium’s Web traffic and plan for the growth of our Web-based programming. He also served as an advisor for the Exploratorium’s Seeing project.

Rosamond Wolff Purcell

Photographer Rosamond Purcell creates beautiful, haunting art from the objects she uncovers in the collections and back rooms of natural history and medical museums. Rosamond’s photographs have been extensively published, including two books created in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Jay Gould. Rosamond is also the author of the 1997 book Special Cases: Natural Anomalies and Historical Monsters, based on an exhibition she created for the Getty Center in 1994. While at the Exploratorium, Rosamond provided guidance for the development of the 2000 temporary exhibition Revealing Bodies.

V. S. Ramachandran

Professor of neuroscience and director of the Brain and Perception laboratory at the University of California at San Diego, V. S. has done extensive research in perception and brain processing. His visit coincided with a large temporary exhibition on psychology at the Exploratorium. His work in phantom limb research, and his wealth of experience in cognitive science, was helpful in our planning for new biology and cognition exhibits. During his fellowship, he met with exhibit staff, conducted workshops with middle school teachers and Explainers, and gave a public lecture on his brain and phantom limb research.

Casey Reas

Casey Reas is an artist and educator exploring abstract kinetic systems and data visualization through diverse media. Reas has exhibited and lectured in Europe, Asia, and the United States, and his work has been shown at Ars Electronica (Linz), Kuenstlerhaus (Vienna), P.S.1 (Queens), Bitforms (New York), Chromosome (Berlin), and Uijeongbu City (Korea). Reas is an Assistant Professor in the Design Media Arts department at UCLA. He received his MS degree in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT, where he was a member of John Maeda’s Aesthetics and Computation Group. Casey and Ben Fry developed Processing, a programming language and environment built for the electronic arts community and students of digital art.

Joanne Rizzi

At the Boston Children’s Museum, Joanne was the lead concept and content developer for the acclaimed Kid’s Bridge exhibition, as well as TV & Me, Arthur’s World, and Boston Black. As Director of Cultural Programs and Community Programs and Partnerships, she led new exhibition and program initiatives across cultural areas within the museum, in collaboration with cultural communities in the Boston area, and institution-wide cultural initiatives. Joanne joined the Science Museum staff in 2005 for the Race: Are We So Different? exhibition as a program and exhibit developer, and established and worked closely with a community advisory board that helped shape the local exhibit experience and local programming. She helped us think through the move to the piers and strategies for building new community relationships.

Barbara Rogoff

Barbara is professor of psychology and education at the University of California at Santa Cruz, as well as author of Apprenticeship in Thinking: Cognitive Development in Social Context; Everyday Cognition and A Community of Learners. Her research into the social context of learning was of great use to management, exhibit, and program staff. She conducted a seminar on inquiry for the School in the Exploratorium, and held several discussion sessions with the high school Explainers on her research in cross-cultural learning differences in the United States and Guatemala. Barbara also launched a small experimental staff team to focus on an exhibit fix-up project, which brought staff from different departments together, enhancing cross-departmental communications.

John Roloff

John Roloff is a visual artist who works conceptually with site, process, and natural systems. He is known primarily for his outdoor kiln/furnace projects done from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, as well as other large-scale environmental and gallery installations investigating geologic and natural phenomena. He is currently a professor of sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute. In addition to numerous environmental, site-specific installations in the United States, Canada and Europe, his work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, Photoscene Cologne, the Venice Architectural and Art Biennales, and other venues. John participated in a planning meeting for the outdoor spaces of the Exploratorium’s new home at piers 15 and 17. His clear and creative thinking led the Outdoor Exploratorium team to invite him to research and explore possible concepts for a piece at their Fort Mason site. In his role as Osher Fellow, John has continued and expanded his research in both the Outdoor project and the piers site.

Hillary Rose

Hillary is professor of social policy and director of the West Yorkshire Centre for Research on Women, University of Bradford. She has written a number of books and articles on science and social issues including the book Love, Power, and Knowledge. Her interest in the sociology of science helped us explore different ways our programs and exhibits can have a more social focus.



Steven Rose

Steven is chair of the biology department at Open University in London, director of the Brain and Behavior Research Group, and author of the book Learning and Memory. He offered ideas to integrate biology exhibits with many of the other themes in the Exploratorium, specifically by making links between the perception exhibits and the brain processes that underlie them. He also helped us develop a plan for cognition exhibit areas.



Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross is an artist, engineer, and research scientist in the realm of software engineering and computer design, including graphic design. She holds dual appointments from New York University: she is a research scientist at the NYU Center for Advanced Technology and a professor at the Gallatin School. She is also adjunct faculty for the interactive telecommunications program, where she has her students design alternative uses for cell phone technology. Ms. Ross develops data visualization techniques for handheld electronic devices using global positioning system (GPS) technology and for online interactive programs and applications that take publicly available data and statistics and translate them into works that provide context and meaning for the viewer.

Oliver Sacks

Oliver is a professor of clinical neurophysiology, Alfred Einstein School of Medicine, New York, and author of numerous books including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Seeing Voices. He helped in our development of a temporary exhibition called Memory.

Keith Sawyer

Keith Sawyer, a professor of psychology and education at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of the country’s leading scientific experts on creativity. His research focus is creativity, learning, and play, and he studies the hidden role of collaboration, conversation, interaction, and improvisation in innovation. Keith’s resume also includes a computer science degree from MIT and Ph.D. in psychology from University of Chicago, plus a stint designing video games for ATARI and 20 years experience as a working jazz pianist. His book Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration tears down some of the most popular myths about creativity and erects new principles in their place. The empowering message is that all of us have the potential to be more creative; we just need to learn the secrets of group genius. While at the Exploratorium, he gave a provocative talk on the myth of lone creativity.

Jonathan Schooler

Jonathan is associate professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center. Memory is his main work focus, but he also has strong interests in many different areas of cognition, such as decision making, consciousness, language, and learning. Part of his fellowship was spent exploring the kinds of learning that occur at the Exploratorium and ways that we can maximize the museum’s unique learning environment. His weekly brown bag lunches for the staff covered topics from creativity to verbal interference in memory. His perspectives were of relevance and interest in our refocusing and education projects, and our Explainer program.


Judah Schwartz

A Harvard University physics professor, Judah studies learning and the use of technology to make abstract ideas much more accessible. He is recognized as a leader in the cognitive science education research field. He helped with the planning of our next major step in exhibit development on cognition, as well as in the expansion of our teacher programs and media and communication endeavors.

Arthur Shimamura

Art is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. His research background in biology and psychology enabled us to build strong conceptual foundations for the creation of a new exhibit area on memory. The first part of his fellowship was primarily focused on meeting with exhibit and program staff to provide an overview of fundamental ideas and questions in memory research. He also brought some of his graduate students to the museum to critique text for some of the prototype exhibit ideas. In addition to conceptual knowledge, Art provided us access to a wealth of resources in memory fields. In the spring, he helped organize a day-long advisory meeting for the Exploratorium’s Memory project with top-level psychologists and neuroscientists.

Michael Spock

For twenty years, Michael worked in a parallel path with the Exploratorium in creating a highly interactive museum, the Boston Children’s Museum. For the past seven years, at the Field Museum in Chicago, he worked with the staff to deepen and restructure the methods and goals to create a museum that is much more responsive to public education. His experience and interest in informal learning was useful in exploring ways to make our public environment more effective, and for observing the kind of learning that occurs at the Exploratorium.


Bob Tinker

Several years ago, Bob formed a new educational institution, the Concord Consortium, which receives grants for educational projects that involve curriculum, networking with schools, and other creative educational media endeavors. His experience was useful in the development of our Learning Studio, and he contributed insights into meaningful uses of media in our informal public environment. He also assisted in the planning of the Center for Media and Communication Planning charette. His week in July followed up on some of the ideas launched in this meeting, which were then formed into a collaborative NSF proposal between the Concord Consortium and Exploratorium. Bob was formerly director of TERC, a math and science education research group.



Mierle Ukeles

Artist-in-residence for the New York City Department of Sanitation, Mierle Ukeles co-coordinated a symposium with museum personnel. This symposium involved artists in large-scale waste management projects, and helped us plan ways to link environmental issues and art with our future expansion planning.

Jearl Walker

Dr. Jearl Walker is the author of the much-loved Flying Circus of Physics book. He is an inspired teacher of physics at Cleveland State University, a wonderful writer, and maintains a Flying Circus of Physics website. Walker wrote the Amateur Scientist column in cientific American from 1978 to 1988 and has appeared on The Tonight Show. In addition to developing new demonstrations with everyday materials, Walker researches and writes about amazing and fascinating examples of physics phenomena, such as those found in breakfast cereal and lava lamps, and about the physics behind possible hazards of having an MRI if you have tattoos.

Margaret Wertheim

Margaret Wertheim is a science writer, artist, and founder of The Institute for Figuring (IFF) located in Los Angeles, California. IFF is devoted to the public understanding of the poetic and esthetic dimensions of science, mathematics, and the technical arts. Margaret crated and created a show, recently exhibited at the Warhol Museum, to highlight the effects of global warming on coral reefs in her native Australia. It uses a new form of craft called “hyperbolic crochet” that solved what was an intractable problem in mathematics: how to create hyperbolic models in three dimensions. Margaret was a guest on the summer 2008 series of Maker Saturday Webcasts, where she gave a hyperbolic crochet workshop, and was a guest on a live Webcast. She also met with staff from the Geometry Playground project and gave a talk about her work.

Lawrence Weschler

Writer, journalist, teacher, and cultural explorer Lawrence Weschler is the author of the much-admired Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (about David Wilson and his Museum of Jurassic Technology), the recently reissued Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees (about artist Robert Irwin) and many more books and articles. He is the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, and a two-time winner of the George Polk Award. He regularly collaborates with McSweeney’s quarterly and is also the artistic director for the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Diane Willow

Diane Willow is an assistant professor in the new media area of Time and Interactivity in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota. Working at the intersection of art, science, and technology, she experiments with hybrid media to explore the dynamics of nature, technology, and community. She invites people to engage in multisensory explorations as participants and choreographers rather than as viewers, and is interested in exploring the subtle ways that we express empathy. Diane worked with exhibit staff on the Mind exhibition team, in the Learning Studio, as an advisor for the Emergence and Invisible Dynamics projects, and on the visioning for our move to the piers. She also worked on the development of an interactive sound installation called Dawn Delight.

Fred Wilson

New York conceptual artist Fred Wilson is internationally renowned for his museum “interventions.” He designs installations that examine the language and practice of museums, and what they tell us about ourselves. Fred began at the Exploratorium as an Osher Fellow in 1999. He returned for the last portion of his fellowship in 2000 to work with the Seeing exhibit team and with exhibit developers for the temporary show Revealing Bodies. As an African-American artist, he gave us much to think about in representing people of color in our exhibits, and gave a well-considered critique of Revealing Bodies before it opened. He also shared his perspective about art in the Exploratorium, and advised us on ways to help visitors place artwork in context in the museum. Fred was awarded a MacArthur “genius” award in 1999.

E. O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson is perhaps the world’s best-known conservation scientist. His groundbreaking research, original thinking, and scientific and popular writing have changed the way humans think about nature and our place in it. Dr. Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor and Museum Curator at Harvard whose scientific awards include the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Professor Wilson has received many prestigious prizes for his research, his environmental activism, and his writing. He’s a leading thinker in the fields of entomology (for his work with ant species), animal behavior and evolutionary psychology, island biogeography, biodiversity, environmental ethics, and the philosophy of knowledge. He has written groundbreaking books and articles on all of these subjects. Two of his nonfiction books, The Ants (1990, with Bert Hölldobler) and On Human Nature (1978), have won Pulitzer Prizes. The Diversity of Life (1992) and Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998), two of his more recent books, have been applauded for their graceful, creative, and constructive approaches to challenging and often controversial subjects. At the Exploratorium, he gave a very popular brown bag lecture for staff, met with the life sciences exhibit development staff, and was the guest for a webcast, in which he discussed his work with ants as well as some of the controversies he’s sparked about science and its relationship to the humanities.

Kristina Hooper Woolsey

Founding director of the MIT Media Lab, Kristina worked with us on new directions using computer/video multimedia technology as part of our creation of a Center for Media and Communication. The Media Lab has created a number of multimedia projects/interactive video disks, including ‘Life Story’, which was based on the discovery of DNA and ‘The Visual Almanac’. Kristina also worked with our exhibit developers and education staff, and helped us create an overall program-planning process.

Brigitte Zana

Professor of teacher education at the University of Paris, Brigitte helped plan the wonderful children’s exhibit area, le Cite des Enfants, at la Villette, the French National Museum in Paris. Part of that work involved research on children and families who used the exhibits. She currently teaches elementary school teachers, and has a long-term interest in furthering ways to use science exhibits as teaching materials that connect to the French National Curriculum. She met with educational and exhibit staff to discuss her experience in exhibit development and learning research. She also worked on a project that brought a set of Exploratorium exhibits to Paris.