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The 2011 World Science Festival took place on June 1-June 5 in New York City. We offered a slate of exciting new programs and old favorites this year, all aimed at unlocking the beauty and complexity of science for everyone. Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and get exclusive interviews, stories, and updates.

MUSIC AND THE SPARK OF SPONTANEITY

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Date: Sunday June 5, 2011
Time: 08:00 PM-09:30 PM
Venue: Great Hall of the Cooper Union

Music. Improvisation. Spontaneous creativity. How does the brain do it? In the world of improvised music, eighteen-time Grammy award-winning jazz guitarist Pat Metheny is a legend. We took a live tour of his masterful musical mind at work as he performed and engaged in discussion with leading scientists who are also all musicians—Jamshed Bharucha, whose research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience will serve to explore the biological centers of creativity; Charles Limb, an otolaryngologist, surgeon, and neuroscientist who uses fMRI to study musicians while they improvise; Gary Marcus, a developmental psychologist who taught himself to play guitar at age 40 in order to examine the process of learning music; and Aaron Berkowitz, author of The Improvising Mind: Cognition and Creativity in the Musical Moment. Through performance and conversation, the program explored the neurological processes underlying improvisation and what they tell us about human creativity and the structure of the brain.

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