In the early days of the scientific revolution, Émilie du Châtelet could see it—the seduction of scientific progress, of feeling ephemeral control over complex, chaotic systems through methodical questioning and observation. “An ingenious and hardy hypothesis, with some semblance of truth, entices human pride to believe it,” the famous physicist and philosopher wrote presciently.
“The mind applauds the discovery of subtle principles and then uses all its sagacity to defend them. The majority of the great men who have created systems are examples; these are the great vessels carried by the currents. They make the most beautiful maneuvers in the world, but the current carries them away.”
Rationally, we know this is true. But none of us, alas, is a rational actor. We still fall in love with our theories and ideas, disproportionately valuing the things that we create—whether it’s a mug or an intervention design. Inside the dreamy reaches of our minds, the controlled confines of our labs, our studios, our research firms, we build what we think are elegant solutions.
Eventually, our ideas and theories must leave their cozy, ordered homes and venture into the chaos and disorder of the real world—ideally for the better, but there’s no guarantee.
And yet, most of us do not want our contributions to remain forever as untested hypotheses, hypothetical designs, theories, and ideas withering in obscurity. Instead, most would rather their work be used to address real problems, to further human advancement, to help us answer our deepest, most motivating questions.
This means that eventually, our ideas and theories must leave their cozy, ordered homes and venture into the chaos and disorder of the real world—ideally for the better, but there’s no guarantee. This, as the theoretical physicist Brian Green reminds us, is the natural order of things in the universe—something he calls the “entropic two-step.” It’s a reference to natural dance between entropy and evolution that undergirds our existence.
So, too, is this movement from order to disorder, from clean theory to messy practice, part of the natural order of behavioral science—though that doesn’t make the journey any easier. Indeed, these journeys can unveil tensions and disconnects previously obscured—for instance, those arising from a research team designing a solution for a population to which they do not belong.
We’re all familiar with how painters use oils and canvas or writers use a pen and paper to express creativity. But what does it mean to create when your medium of choice is human beings?
We’re excited to announce the second print edition of the Behavioral Scientist, Brain Meets World, which will map the electric, surprising, painful and chaotic journeys that our scientific ideas take—from how, where and why inspiration happens, to the obstacles we face and how we adapt, and landing at our discoveries, results and reflections on their impact and meaning.
At the core of this edition will be a big question: We’re all familiar with how painters use oils and canvas, writers use a pen and paper, and musicians use their instruments or voices to express creativity. But what does it mean to create when your medium of choice is human beings? Brain Meets World will explore the journeys of the creative process from this unique perspective.
Release Date: Fall/Winter 2021
Seeking early support from June – August 2021
Head here for more about Print Edition #2 – Brain Meets World and the companion event.
Why Behavioral Scientist in print?
Each print edition is a creative endeavor, where we expand beyond our digital platform and use a new form to investigate the world of human behavior. The print editions are special efforts, featuring original commentary, reporting, graphics, and art. We plan to publish one print edition each year. Look inside our first print edition.
Perks of supporting Print Edition #2 – Brain Meets World
You’ll reserve your copy(ies) of Brain Meets World.
You’ll secure your spot at the Brain Meets World virtual launch event, a gathering with the scientists, writers, and artists featured in the print edition—exclusive to supporters. Supporters at the team level receive multiple tickets for colleagues or friends. It’s a chance to bring the community who made the edition possible together for a celebration.
The edition will be delivered to you wherever you are in the world with no additional shipping costs. Once the early support phase is over, there will be an additional fee for shipping.
If you prefer to read on a tablet or e-reader, digital editions will be available in lieu of a print copy. If you support at a team level, you can opt for a combination of print and digital editions.
Why your support is essential
As a nonprofit with a small team, support from community members like you is the backbone of our success. Early support for Brain Meets World from now until August provides critical seed funding to help us successfully get this ambitious edition off the ground and out to our readers by the end of 2021.