Walter Isaacson on Leonardo da Vinci: Curiosity “enriches your life”



Noted Biographer Walter Isaacson’s new book Leonardo Da Vinci chronicles the life and muses of the acclaimed Italian renaissance man. Isaacson believes it was Da Vinci’s insatiable curiosity that was the catalyst for his works.

Isaacson says of Da Vinci’s skills, “What makes him a creative genius I think is that he was curious about everything,”

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Be curious, ask questions and you’ll make a better leader

Much has been written about the virtues of “Curiosity” in the education world. But non-academic institutions are beginning to understand and leverage this skill in areas like Business, Sports & Management among others.  Linda Clark-Santos of the Idaho Statesmen outlines why curiosity is such a valuable commodity in leaders.

“… leaders who are curious can learn from the successes and failures of others. By observing other leaders, they glean lessons learned without making their own mistakes. They tend to think broadly and deeply, often seeing how their work and their organizations are like others. These aggressive learners are humble enough to know they don’t have all the answers.”

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Kids’ curiosity leads the lessons

A Preschool pilot program between the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum and the Teton Literacy Center’s Lit Lab has created a novel approach to curriculum development, “… lets students decide the best way to learn.”

Teton Literacy Center coordinator, Kate Roberts said, “You really have to give a kid a jumping-off point and the right scaffolding and structure to get out of it all they can… But in the end it’s their intrinsic motivations and their learning desires that are going to get them there.”

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5 Learning Strategies That Make Students Curious


Terry Heick of believes, “Understanding where curiosity comes from is the holy grail of education.” To foster an environment of curiosity Heick recommends 5 keys inverventions:

1. Revisit Old Questions: “The simplest curiosities arise from old questions that were never fully answered, or that no attempt to answer was made.”

2. Model and Promote Ambition: “Ambition precedes curiosity. Without wanting to advance in position, thinking, or design, curiosity is simply a biological and neurological reaction to stimulus. But ambition is what makes us human, and its fraternal twin is curiosity.”

3. Play: “A learner at play is a signal that there is a comfortable mind focused on a fully-internalized goal. It may or may not be the same goal as those given externally, but play is hypnotic and more efficient than the most well-planned instructional sequence. A learner playing, nearly by definition, is curious about something, or otherwise they’re simply manipulating bits and pieces mindlessly.”

4. The Right Collaboration at the Right Time: “Seeing what is possible modeled by peers is powerful stuff for learners. Some may not be initially curious about content, but seeing what peers accomplish can be a powerful actuator for curiosity. How did they do this? How might I do what they did in my own way? Which of these ideas I’m seeing are valuable to me—right here, right now–and which are not?”

5. Use Diverse and Unpredictable Content: “Diverse content is likely the most accessible pathway to at least a modicum of curiosity from learners. New projects, new games, new novels, new poets, new things to think about.”

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Curiosity spurs excitement for possibilities

Harvey Mackay of the TimesUnion explores the utility of curiosity throughout history and other pragmatic applications. Mackay writes, “Curiosity is a hunger to explore and a delight in discovery.

When we are curious, we approach the world with a childlike habit of poking, prodding and asking questions. We are attracted to new experiences. Rather than pursuing an agenda or a desired set of answers, we follow our questions where they lead.

Socially, curiosity lets us really listen to other people because we want to know who they are. We open ourselves to the knowledge and experience they can share with us. We relish having discoveries of our own to share.”

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CFC Collaborator Ra’anan Alexandrowicz receives Development Grant from the Sundance Institute

The Sundance Institute has awarded Ra’anan Alexandrowicz a development grant for Art of Nonfiction for his work, Regarding Ourselves and the Pain of Others. Ra’anan has been collaborating with the CFC for the past one year.


Ra’anan Alexandrowicz is the writer and director of award-winning films such as The Law in These Parts (Sundance 2012 Grand Jury Award International Documentary, Peabody Award 2013), the fiction feature James’ Journey to Jerusalem (Cannes 2003 – Director’s Fortnight, Toronto Film Festival 2003), the documentary The Inner Tour (New Directors New Films 2001, Sundance Film Festival 2002), and the documentary Martin (Berlin Film Festival 2000 – Forum for Young Cinema, Purchased for the MoMA permanent film collection). Ra’anan’s critically-acclaimed works have been theatrically-released to international audiences and broadcast worldwide. As an editing advisor Ra’anan served as a consultant on groundbreaking films including Risk(2017), Newtown (2016), A Flickering Truth (2015) Citizenfour (2014), and Trouble the Water (2008).

For more information please visit: Sundance Institute 

Zander Lurie Espouses the Virtues of Curiosity in the Workplace

Survey Monkey CEO sat down with Irish Tech News to discuss his views on management and business and the importance of curiosity in a healthy work environment:

Curiosity can manifest itself in various ways. The best kind of curiosity is born out of your expertise. You know something about your industry. If you’re in our legal group, or in sales, or in our billing engineering group, and you noodling on something and you mobilize others and bring those views together and you come with a thesis or hypothesis. So that doesn’t have to be “I have a question where is the microphone?”. It really can be ‘I have a plan. I have an idea. I want to do a growth hacking or try out a new business. What have we changed our marketing plan to go XYZ?”. I don’t have to do a lot to make people curious. People at SurveyMonkey are innately curious and we try to hire really smart and empathetic people from the start. Some poeple you are not that curious and therefore not all that interesting to work with.

To read more please visit: Irish Tech News

Curiosity is main ingredient in creativity, innovation

Have you heard or read the words “innovation” and “creativity” this week?

Of course you have. Stories about innovation and creativity are ubiquitous. You’ve probably heard how important it is to “think outside the box.” But what you may not have heard is that innovation and creativity often don’t work very well in a business setting without curiosity, and curiosity is all about thinking inside the box.

To read more please visit: Central Penn Business Journal 

The Network Neuroscience of Curiosity Symposium

Co-sponsored by Penn’s Center for Curiosity and the Department of Bioengineering, “The Network Neuroscience of Curiosity” event will explore the promise of network neuroscience for understanding perhaps the most basic function of the human mind: curiosity. Drawing on expertise in neuroscience, complex systems, psychology, and philosophy, speakers will investigate the cognitive architecture of curiosity by mobilizing theoretical, behavioral, biological, and computational models.

Speakers will include Dr. Danielle Bassett, Eduardo D. Glandt Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Electrical and Systems Engineering (University of Pennsylvania), Dr. David Danks, L. L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology (Carnegie Mellon University), Dr. Jacqueline Gottlieb, Professor of Neuroscience (Columbia University), and Dr. Celeste Kidd, Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (University of Rochester).

This symposium is scheduled for November 17th, from 12:30-5:00, in the D26 Caster Building, at the University of Pennsylvania. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Perry Zurn (


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Brain Candy Live

“Brain Candy Live,” an educational show, combines two big names in science entertainment. Adam Savage, the editor-in-chief of and former co-host of “Mythbusters,” and Michael Stevens, creator of award-winning YouTube channel Vsauce, have created a live stage show that’s billed as “a two-hour play date with Walt Disney, Willy Wonka, and Albert Einstein.” The remaining interactive performances are scheduled from Nov. 17th to May 3rd throughout the country and Canada.

For more information please visit Rochester City Newspaper & Brain Candy Live



Five Ways To Cultivate Curiosity And Tap Into Your Creativity

Curiosity is the core of all creativity — the drive to do something better, to experiment, to tinker, to create. Whether you’re a chief marketing officer or the most junior person on a team, you need curiosity to thrive or you’ll go on autopilot. Unfortunately, too many workplaces stifle curiosity because it’s perceived as problem-causing. But as Ben Horowitz says, if you want success, “Build a culture that rewards — not punishes — people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.”

In short, cultivate curiosity.

To read more please visit Forbes

The Chronicle of Higher Education Names Ariel Anbar ‘Teaching Innovator’

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s inaugural “Teaching Innovator” list includes Arizona State University Professor Ariel Anbar of School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular Sciences. His focus on introducing curiosity as a teaching tool has become a corner stone of his teaching style.

“Through curiosity, students are inspired… They become explorers who think rationally and systemically, pushing beyond preconceived notions…” Mastering science is not the same as mastering facts. It requires that you develop problem-solving skills based on logic and reason, inspired by curiosity,” Anbar said.

To read more please follow the link below.

Cultivating Curiosity Award 2017

RE17-logo-old-stylecroppedApplications are now open for the Reimagine Education-Center for Curiosity Cultivating Curiosity Award 2017. The award will be given at the Reimagine Education Conference in Philadelphia in December 2017 to the most innovative pedagogical approaches to encourage curiosity among learners; research projects on curiosity or tools or apps designed to encourage and/or assess curiosity.

Curiosity is at the heart of learning; it is the impulse by which learners are encouraged to seek out both new questions and new answers. It is the catalyst by which learners acquire and use the soft skills necessary to become thinkers, problem-solvers, and creators. It is the driver for motivation, creativity, tolerance, and resilience.

Projects are invited from educational institutions, individual scholars and practitioners, as well as Ed Tech companies in any area of curiosity, such as:

  • Research that advances the basic understanding of curiosity — its genesis, manifestations, measurements and applicability;
  • Pedagogical approaches for encouraging or measuring curiosity;
  • Innovative methods by which curiosity is harnessed to improve one or more learning outcomes;
  • Fostering curiosity in the curriculum or institutional framework;
  • Online tools or apps to measure or encourage curiosity.

To apply and for more information:

Reimagine Education Curiosity Award

Curious about Curiosity

University of Southern California neuroscientist Irving Biederman has described humans as, “designed to be ‘nfovores,’ creatures that devour information.” This omnipresent behavior has led researchers from multiple disciplines towards understanding curiosities existence & application. To read more about major research projects that have attempted to elucidate the genesis and benefits of curiosity please find the Natural History link below.


Read the Natural History Article Here

Imbuing Robots with Curiosity

Computer scientists are programming machines to be curious, learning to explore their surroundings and be inquisitive.

George Konidaris, computer scientist at the Intelligent Robot Lab at Brown University told Science: “Developing curiosity is a problem that’s core to intelligence. It’s going to be most useful when you’re not sure what your robot is going to have to do in the future.”

Read the Science article here


Curiosity and Bioengineering at UPenn

A new collaboration between the Center for Curiosity and the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania informs STEAM initiatives, hosts a symposium on “The Network Neuroscience of Curiosity,” and refocuses pedagogy on curiosity and creativity.
Speakers at the fall symposium on The Network Neuroscience of Curiosity include Dr. Danielle Bassett, Dr. David Danks (Carnegie Mellon University), Dr. Jacqueline Gottlieb (Columbia University), and Dr. Celeste Kidd (University of Rochester). The long-term project has also started conversations around reinvigorating the Bioengineering curriculum with an emphasis on student curiosity and creativity.
For more information, see

Global Study on Curiosity in the Workplace

Although 8 in 10 employees say curiosity is an important work trait, just one in five say they are curious, according to an international stugy by Merck. “Innovation and technological progress do not appear out of the blue. They always develop out of a person’s sense of curiosity about something new. Scientific curiosity and the joy of discovery are thus our most important resources when it comes to finding answers to global challenges such as the aging of our society or population growth,” says Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck. “That’s why curiosity should be a key aspect of our everyday work.”

Read the State of Curiosity Report here.

Curiosity at Core of Human Existence

Dr Paul C Holinger writes in Psychology  Today that curiosity is at the core of human existence. “The human brain is stimulus-seeking. We want to enhance the interest affect, our curiosity, in order to learn, to discover, to adapt…. The responses of caregivers to infants and children can either enhance interest or constrict it. Similarly, later in life, teachers or bosses can stimulate or restrict interest and curiosity. Creativity and discoveries come from curiosity—that is, interest-excitement. Reactions such as fear, or surprise, or disgust can be shifted to interest, thus enhancing learning.”

Read the complete article in Psychology Today here.

Ted@CERN: Ripples of Curiosity

On Saturday 5 November 2016 CERN will host the fourth edition of TEDxCERN under the theme ‘ripples of curiosity.’ Topics include artificial intelligence, DNA editing, biotechnology, global literacy, DIY science, drones, oceanography, as well as dark matter and gravitational waves.

“One of CERN’s missions is to connect with people across the globe to inspire scientific curiosity and understanding,” said Charlotte Warakaulle, CERN’s Director for International Relations. “Behind every breakthrough, there is a brave idea from a curious person. With this year’s TEDx, we celebrate innovators from all fields who inspire us with their stories of how curiosity creates ripples that can change our world.”

For more information, see

Deconstructing intellectual curiosity

A new study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences traced six factors across three measures of intellectual curiosity (IC). Typical Intellectual Engagement measures all factors except Deprivation. Need for Cognition (18-item) measures Intellectual Avoidance and Problem Solving. Epistemic Curiosity largely measures Deprivation. Schmid–Leiman rotation indicates that Reading may not fit within the IC domain.


Deconstructing intellectual curiosity

AAAS President seeks increasing support for curiosity-driven research

The president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science argues for the value of curiosity-driven science pursued without regard for immediate application. Barbara Schaal, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and president of AAAS, called for more effective communication and public engagement by scientists in explaining their work, both to policy-makers and to the general public.

AAAS President seeks increasing support for curiosity-driven research

Shopping under the influence of curiosity: How retailers use mystery to drive purchase motivation

A new study examines curiosity’s role in influencing consumer behavior. Study 1 reveals that mystery appeals create more curiosity than other affective states, and that curiosity predicts purchase motivation via a direct path. Exploring the optimal level of information needed to maximize curiosity, study 1 finds that participants are more curious when given moderate information, over minimal information. Next, study 2 demonstrates that shopping in an actively curious state can impact consumer outcomes via an indirect path that is mediated by consumer evaluation of the mystery appeal. This research is the first to identify curiosity as the affective state that is primarily triggered by mystery appeals, and to explain how curiosity directly and indirectly impacts consumer purchase motivation.

Shopping under the influence of curiosity: How retailers use mystery to drive purchase motivation

The Penultimate Curiosity

When young children first begin to ask ‘why?’ they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientific interest in the physical world, which could therefore be described as penultimate curiosity. These two manifestations of curiosity have a history of connection that goes back deep into the human past. Tracing that history all the way from cave painting to quantum physics, this book (a collaboration between a painter and a physical scientist that uses illustrations throughout the narrative) sets out to explain the nature of the long entanglement between religion and science: the ultimate and the penultimate curiosity.


The Penultimate Curiosity: How Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions