Are Barabasi’s Laws&Formulas for Success Applicable to Transdisciplinary ArtScience Practice ?


It is with pleasure that I recommend the new book

Albert-László Barabási : The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success. Little Brown – 2018 ISBN-13: 9780316505499

Reviewed by: Roger F. Malina, February 9 2019


Reviews and critiques by; Sharath Chandra Ram, Isabel Meirelles, Wolf Rainer

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, in this new book, provides unusual and compelling evidence on the patterns that underlie common sense of ‘success’. He chooses to call these insights  “laws”, with formulas ; I will question those descriptors later in the review. But as an astronomer, and observational scientist, I resonate deeply with the way he collects his data, analyses patterns and then develops tools to frame an understanding of how those patterns emerge.  Yes, if you want to both excel and succeed, read this book.

One caveat, from my background in astronomy, is that as a profession we invested a huge amount of time over the centuries looking at patterns of stars, moving stars, and later morphology of galaxies. Some of these patterns turned out to be irrelevant to understanding the underlying structures; constellations for instance, or the study of the moon and planets to explicate human behaviors. And during my own professional career we learned, thanks to Vera Rubin and many others, that dark matter, which does not emit light, was dominant in explaining the structure and evolution of galaxies. The patterns and morphologies that astronomers were obsessed with were relevant but not fundamental. Similarly my colleagues including Saul Perlmutter, found compelling evidence that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate due to an unknown ‘dark energy’. Not a common sense result, at least at the time I was getting my education

This background made me a skeptical reader of Barabasi’s claim to have found the ‘formulas’ and “laws’ for individual  human and group success. The self help industry is littered with unsubstantiated claims; be careful when searching on line for the laws of success !.But for me Barabasi reframes our thinking about all these questions, brings to bear his expertise in complex network science and data science to create guidelines on how to convert performance into success; both terms he defines clearly, in fields as separate as jazz performers and nobel prize winning biologists. And the book is peppered with fascinating vignettes, such as the mistaken identity incident that transformed Einstein from an excellent scientist to a successful world renowned one. But other exemplars of these laws include  why an average basketball player can transform a team into a superteam, and how a smart coach can spot what the average player can bring to group success.

Let me list Barabasi five laws:

  1. Performance drives success, but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.
  2. Performance is bounded but success is unbounded.
  3. Previous success x fitness = future success.
  4. While team success requires diversity and balance, a single individual will receive credit for the groups achievements.
  5. With persistence success can come at any time.

First reaction as I read was “hmm nothing new here, Sounds like common sense”.  But as I read, the more and more I became convinced that this book was reframing the way I think about the ArtSciLab (  )  at UTDallas. Cassini Nazir and I co-direct this lab as part of a network of labs in ATEC School at UTDallas . In this lab we have emerging professionals from the “arts” and “sciences” working together, in a designed heterogeneous collaboration lab ; and the performance and success criteria for each of the different professions could not be more different – from the unquantifiable performance criteria in some of the arts, to the citation driven metrics of performance in many of the sciences. Our difficulties in translating performance into success in these transdisciplinary practices has led me to joke that astronomy had been so easy.  With its well defined performance and success criteria that a whole community of practice shares, there is a perhaps a ‘formula’ for success in astronomy.

Alex Topete in the ArtSciLab is now leading our HERMES project to collect data on the structures and methods of inter and transdisciplinary research labs, and translate this into ‘apprenticeship’ training. We hope the HERMES approach will help us develop similar ‘common sense’ on how to help our colleagues both perform well and also succeed in their chosen hybrid professions that are often excluded from the silo structures of our institutions. Barabasi’s previous books were already part of our apprenticeship reading, but this book is fundamental and will reshape our approaches.

Let me finish with a few reflexions, not criticisms, of this excellent book.

First, I find the use of the words ‘formula’ and ‘law’ problematic, perhaps because of the way these words are used popularly. Barabasi’s use is very specific, they are the formalisms that can be used to predictably describe the patterns in the data that he and others have found. So far so good. But if there is any take home message that I have taken from the sciences of complexity, it is that we need many ideas of causality and be careful about our implicit biases. Not only the A causes B  implication of Barabasi’s third law. Whether in understanding the emerging structures in the Universe or the health of ecologies, or human well-being,  we know that emerging behaviors often  arise from low level rules of interaction, as well as the implication of network morphologies, not necessarily from ‘laws’ of the systemic behaviour  And in many systems (eg climate change) you can model the systems extrapolate future behaviour and develop equations that describe well the data collected in the past, but future behaviour maybe be disrupted by causalities that are of the kind A causes B, if C didn’t happen and D happened 100 years ago. Never mind the impact of sporadic events such as unusual solar cycles, asteroid impact or out of the ordinary volcanic eruptions. Kathryn Hayles has usefully complexified the differences between prediction and retrodiction; Barabasi, I think, with the use of the words ‘law’ and ‘formula’ may mislead some readers. The laws of success as explicated by Barabasi are in a different epistemological framework than the Newtonian laws of gravity. This in my view complexifies how one can translate these laws into daily practice.

The other reflection concerns the sociology of human behavior in institutions. A book that influenced my thinking and practice is Randall Collins book “ The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change”. One of the take home messages of the book is that the history of successful ideas is often dominated by ‘office politics’ rather than the excellence of the ideas or individuals. Collins studies schools of philosophy over the millennia in China, Asia, Japan, the West and finds, like Barabasi, patterns that seem to replicate, though in a less data driven quantifiable way than does Barabasi. For instance the common situation of personal disagreement between a PhD advisor and an excellent PhD students leads the student to leave rather than continue to collaborate; the student leads a new school of philosophy that is more successful than that of his mentor. Another example would be the current discussions of how the careers of many women have been strongly influenced by sexual harassment in institutions that are historically reticent to punish excellent performers for poor personal behaviors. Barabasi does discuss many examples of what I am calling ‘office politics’, but maybe there is a possible 6th law.

Certainly as part of the community of practice, including our ArtSciLab, that is trying to create research that bridges the arts and sciences, sometimes called STEM to STEAM, we face these issues. We are well aware how office politics has negatively influenced the success of some of our most brilliant colleagues. Sometimes the social structure of institutions is “incompatible” with the success of certain excellent ideas because the way incentives, such as promotion and tenure, function to reinforce ‘silo-ed’ thinking. As a result, our community of practice is still marked by intellectual and geographic migrants, “geniuses’ who have often been abandoned and forgotten. The innovation and creativity research community, including the science of team science area that Barabasi develops, is fast moving as we seek to translate  and combine “sciences” with “arts” into useful medical practices and other social outcomes.

Another thought. The 68-year-old that I am was of course encouraged by Barabasi’s 5th Law: Success can come at any time. He analyses in depths the age at which celebrated figures did their outstanding work; yes, most do this before their 30s. But he complexifies this with examples and data of how on the tail of this distribution there are many examples of successful and exceptional achievements in later years. He illustrates this work with the way John Fenn carried out his ground-breaking work in his sixties and received the Nobel prize in his later 80s. He develops the idea of the “‘Q’factor”, the ability to translate ideas into discoveries and quantifies a number of common sense ideas. But more importantly he develops the idea of how to develop ones ‘Q’ factor, through collaboration methodologies, a fundamental concept in the UT Dallas ArtSciLab. And his discussion ties in nicely with Edward Said’s ideals in his book “On Late Style” and the SOTA (Students Older than Average) being led by Linda Anderson in our ArtSciLab. Michael Punt introduced me to this line of argument as part of the COGNOVO program, on cognitive innovation, at the University of Plymouth. The idea that the brain and body have multiple ‘modes of operations , and that these ‘modes’ can be altered, or their use modified by experience or by age or other factors. The popular press on toggling between “quick thinking’ and “slow thinking’, or “thing small” and “think big” ties into this in some way. Said’s ideas helb reshape the way we think about involving older professionals in innovation work.

Said’s full book is at: and I note in passing that it feeds into my colleague Nina Czegledy’s insistence that in transdisciplinar work we need to invent new mechanisms of inter-generational communication and collaboration. This hallmark of the community of Practice that uses the Leonardo SAST and OLATS organisations for part of their professional needs, as Nina discovered as she led our 50th anniversary ‘village’ birthday parties.

In conclusion we will be adding Barabasi’s new book to our transdisciplinary apprenticeship source material.

Disclaimer. I have met Barabasi a few times during my career. As he explains before becoming a successful scientist, he tried to be a sculptor. This hybrid interest has led him to talk at a Leonardo art-science event in Prague. Later I reached out to Barabasi when I was recruited at UT Dallas to ask if he had recommendations for emerging professionals that I might help recruit. This led to the UTD hiring of historian Max Schich. Max Schich and Isabel Meirelles went on to lead the influential Arts, Humanities and Complex Network symposia at the network science conferences. When Max Schich, an art historian, arrived in Dallas, he published an article in Science which now has an Altmetrics score of nearly 500, and his YouTube video has 1.5 million downloads, yes 1.5 million; certainly a measure of success for an art historian! For me, this anecdote exemplifies Barabasi’s practice over the decades, and illustrates well the laws and formulas Barabasi now proposes in his book under review here: The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success, Little Brown –

2018. I apologise for referring frequently to how I found the ideas of Barabasi’s book applicable to our ArtSciLab and would be interested in if other transdisciplinary researchers find the ideas applicable in their case.


us national academy of sciences convene the “art-science-technology” villages of practice


The US National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering are convening our community of art/sci/tech practice to discuss and further the recommendations in the report they issued on how to think anew about integrating the arts and humanities, including design, into higher education science/engineering/math and medicine – this will be a real gathering of our villages and tribes-  its been a 20 year process of convincing the us national academies to take the stem to steam movement ( or whatever you prefer to call it ) seriously – perhaps we can leverage this to convince academies in science in other countries to get to work !!

Roger Malina


Mark your calendars for the National Convening on the Integration of Arts, Humanities, and STEMM* in Higher Education on April 12, 2019 in Washington, DC! The event is brought to you by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The National Academies will convene hundreds of leaders and practitioners in education, workforce, policy, and industry.

Given that today’s challenges and opportunities are at once technical and human, addressing them calls for the full range of human knowledge and creativity. Higher education should strive to offer all students–regardless of degree or area of concentration–an education that exposes them to diverse forms of human knowledge and inquiry. Through this event the National Academies will convene thought leaders and practitioners and shed light on teaching approaches that will empower students to learn and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Join us for a day of inspiring and informative conversations on improving higher education to better prepare students for work, life, and citizenship.

Register for a free admission via EventBrite and check soon for more details! For inquiries about this event email: Irene Ngun at


Date And Time

Fri, April 12, 2019

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar



National Academy of Sciences

2101 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20418

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US National Academies Town Hall meeting Dallas Feb 6- Integrating Arts and Humanities into STEM in Higher ed


Two announcements =Second the ATEC watering hole, and First the
visit of Ashley Bear, Co Author of the National Academies report
on Integrating the Arts and Humanities in STEM Higher Ed

National Academies Town Hall meeting on UTD campus
Feb 6 Ashley Bear will give a town hall meeting on Feb 6 at 2pm – contact me for details-we are also hosting a private by invitation dinner in the evening-contact me if you would like to attend

for those of you who havent read the national academies report it is available free on line at 
this report is an important next step in stem to steam.

This study examined an important trend in higher education: integration of the humanities and arts with sciences, engineering, and medicine at the undergraduate and graduate level—which proponents argue will better prepare students for work,
life, and citizenship. Integrative models intentionally seek to bridge the knowledge, modes of inquiry, and pedagogies from multiple disciplines—the humanities, arts, sciences, engineering, technology, mathematics, and medicine—within the context
of a single course or program of study. A diverse array of colleges and universities now offer students integrative courses and programs, and many faculty are enthusiastic advocates for this educational approach. This movement in higher education raises an important question: what impact do these curricular approaches have on students?

To address this question, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine formed a 22-member committee to examine “the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in
the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate
and graduate students.” The committee conducted an in-depth review and analysis of the state of knowledge on the impact of integrative approaches on students.

The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree is now available to download on the National Academies Press website. You may also request to purchase a hard copy of this report.


so first – ATEC Watering Hole ( we are still trying to come up with
a new name) followed by salon at linda andersons

ATEC Watering Hole Announcement Fri Feb 1

Please join us Friday, February 1st in the ArtSciLab (ATEC 3.209) from 4-6pm for this week’s Watering Hole. Professors Heidi Cooley and Paul Fishwick will be moderating a discussion on the topic of forming connections and associations.

Professors  Cooley and Fishwick argue that one of the defining of our species is the ability to abstract and to create connections between concepts and ideas. These connections will be explored by way of a catalyst, spurring discussion. The moderators will begin discussion my presenting a video of kinetic artist Reuben Margolin to invite audience members to create connections using the video as a connecting agent.

After the Watering Hole as concluded, our dear friend Linda Anderson will be hosting a Salon gathering modeled on Gertrude Stein’s famous Paris Salon, featuring food, drink, artwork, books, and wonderful company. All are welcome!


Watering Hole: ArtSciLab, ATEC 3.209, 4-6PM

Salon: On campus, 428, starting at 6:30PM

One of the defining attributes of our species is the ability to abstract and to create connections between concepts and ideas. Sometimes, these connections can be explored by way of a a catalyst, which spurs discussion. We have chosen a general blog post on connections but more importantly, a video of kinetic artist Reuben Margolin. We will start the podjam by showing the video and invite audience members to create connections using the video as a connecting agent.

FOR Watering Hole 2.1.2019

– Salon @ 428 – 6:30pm

– modeled on Gertrude Steins Paris Salon featuring food, 8 i0drink, artwork, books and me

And please come- contact me if you need a parking permit

National Academies Town Hall meeting on UTD campus
AND THEN: Feb V Ashley Bear will give a town hall meeting on Feb 6 at 2pm – contact me for details-we are also hosting a private by invitation dinner in the evening-contact me if you would like to attend

for those of you who havent read the national academies report it is available free on line at 
this report is an important next step in stem to steam

Roger Malina

This study examined an important trend in higher education: integration of the humanities and arts with sciences, engineering, and medicine at the undergraduate and graduate level—which proponents argue will better prepare students for work,
life, and citizenship. Integrative models intentionally seek to bridge the knowledge, modes of inquiry, and pedagogies from multiple disciplines—the humanities, arts, sciences, engineering, technology, mathematics, and medicine—within the context
of a single course or program of study. A diverse array of colleges and universities now offer students integrative courses and programs, and many faculty are enthusiastic advocates for this educational approach. This movement in higher education raises an important question: what impact do these curricular approaches have on students?

To address this question, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine formed a 22-member committee to examine “the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in
the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate
and graduate students.” The committee conducted an in-depth review and analysis of the state of knowledge on the impact of integrative approaches on students.

The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree is now available to download on the National Academies Press website. You may also request to purchase a hard copy of this report.


 ASU-Leonardo Executive Director/Professor of Practice
Job #12734 


We are delighted to announce that the Leonardo 50th celebrations all around our planet culminated in a an amazing partnership agreement between the Leonardo non profit ISAST and Arizona State University. As part of this a full time position as Executive Director of Leonardo/ISAST has been posted, which includes appointment as a professor of practice at the University.

All our current projects will continue, including our relationship with MIT and MIT Press, but the hope is the new Executive Director will redesign with the community Leonardo, its objectives and methods and work with you to launch the Leonardo network of villages on new paths enabled by this partnership.

Please circulate the ad: there is NO insider favorite candidate- this is wide open !

here are the details


Arizona State University and the Institute for Studies in the Arts, Sciences, and Technology (ISAST)/Leonardo seek a dynamic leader to take the helm of a new partnership between the two organizations. The Executive Director position will carry an appointment as a Professor of Practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer of the Leonardo/International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST, an independent 501c3 corporation registered in California). The Executive Director reports to the ASU-led Personnel Committee of the ISAST Board of Directors, and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.

About ASU

Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, entrepreneurial energy and broad access. This New American University ( is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses positively impacting the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real-world application, blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 80,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation’s fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations across the globe.

About the School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Among the newest elements of ASU’s approach to building a New American University, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS; provides robust opportunities for intellectual fusion, use-inspired research, and global engagement via ongoing projects and centers. SFIS hosts a comprehensive set of graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates.  Collaborative opportunities will exist with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO; – consistently ranked one of the top science and technology policy think tanks in the world – and the emerging Institute for the Future of Innovation in Society.

About the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the largest comprehensive design and arts school in the nation, is a vibrant example of the of the New American University philosophy. With nearly 5,000 students, more than 400 faculty and faculty associates, 135 degree options and a tradition of top-ranked programs, the Herberger Institute is built on a combination of disciplines unlike any other program in the nation. The institute includes the School of Art, School of Arts, Media and Engineering, The Design School, School of Film, Dance and Theatre, School of Music, and the ASU Art Museum. Through recognizing that design and the arts are critical resources for transforming society and solving complex problems, ASU’s Herberger Institute is committed to positioning artists, scholars, designers, and educators at the center of public life. For more information on the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, visit

About Leonardo/The International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology

Leonardo/The International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) is a 501c3 nonprofit that serves a global network of distinguished scholars, artists, scientists, researchers and thinkers through our programs focused on interdisciplinary innovation in the arts, sciences and technology. From our beginnings in 1968, we have served as THE virtual community for purposes of networking, resource-sharing, best practices, research, documentation and events in art, science and technology. More at

Position responsibilities:

  • Create synergy between Leonardo and ASU in art/science activities to achieve global leadership and recognized brand for the two entities.
  • Enterprise/business development, including enhancing earned revenue and fundraising through corporate sponsors, grants and large donor contributions.
  • Lead a community-engaged enterprise design process, manage institutional change in reflection of that process.
  • Assure that the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Be responsible for the recruitment, employment, and release of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers; maintain a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top-quality people.
  • Oversee Oakland office management and business requirements, execution of all contracts with ISAST including MIT Press.
  • Jointly, with the chairman and secretary of the board of directors, conduct official correspondence of the organization, and jointly, with designated officers, execute legal documents.
  • Work with the staff, Finance Committee, and the board in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines and in accordance with sound financial practices and with the consent and oversight of the Leonardo/ISAST board of directors.
  • Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations and with the consent and oversight of the Leonardo/ISAST board of directors.
  • Liaison with ISAST board, ex-officio member; see that the board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Terminal degree; or Bachelor’s degree and exceptional professional experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to mediate between the interests of academic and public constituents, and operational staff.
  • Demonstrated understanding of transdisciplinary, collaborative research and practice.

Desired qualifications:

  • Demonstrated success in grant-seeking, fundraising and/or corporate/foundation relations.
  • Understanding of culture of transdisciplinary practice (i.e. intersection of arts, sciences and technology).
  • Demonstrated ability to work with agile, distributed teams.
  • Experience in or demonstrated potential for innovation in next generation publishing and knowledge dissemination.
  • Experience in and with advanced technology for communication and/or visualization.
  • Experience in venture development and scaling of business/enterprise.
  • Experience in managing transmedia enterprises with international markets and scale.
  • Experience in developing and maintaining positive relationships with international constituencies, with a particular focus on Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
  • Understanding of current academic publishing industry.

 Instructions to Apply:

To apply, please submit: 1) a detailed cover letter that includes a description of the applicant’s administrative experience and research and teaching interests (limited to 4 pages); 2) a current Curriculum Vitae; and 3) the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of three references. All materials should be submitted as a single PDF document to Review of applications will begin Friday March 8, 2019 and, if not filled, a review will occur every Friday thereafter until the search is closed. ASU conducts pre-employment screening for all positions which includes a criminal background check, verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications.

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to excellence through diversity (see ASU’s Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation policy at All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law (see ASU’s Title IX policy at Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 

Lets Redesign Space Exploration for the 21stC: meet at Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India

In previous blogs I have argued that we need to resign science itself, both its methods and social embedding need urgent transition re-design. As a space scientist myself, I am convinced we need to rethink the purposes and methods of space science and exploration, and that artists, designers and humanists must collaborate with scientists and engineers to do this.

Leonardo/OLATS is launching a new series of space art and society workshops in Paris – and I am pleased to announce our collaboration on
Technology, Exchange and Flow: India Michael Punt, Sundar Sarukkai from the Leonardo Editorial board and myself will be working with our colleagues in India together with Joanna Griffin and Hannah Grason.

What indeed are the hoped for social outcomes do we project for space science and space activities over the next century ? China and India are now shaping new futures in space as the US, Russia, Europe and other space faring powers rethink their efforts.

As a heart warming celebration the Chinese Rover: landed on the Von Karman crater on the far side of the moon. Theodore Von Karman was the Phd Advisor for my Father Frank Malina, co founder and first director of NASA JPL that led the first team to launch an object into outer space. He was also the advisor to Hsue-Shen Tsien, the father of the Chinese space program. Yes Von Karman, Malina and Tsien are now reunited on the far side of the moon !! The work of those students at Caltech certainly changed the history of ideas and human culture ! Note, Tsien and Malina also have the honor of being spaceship captains in our of Arthur C Clarke’s novels. Fact and fictions are symbiotic !

The Leonardo Space and the Arts working group : has organised a number of events including a Space and Culture Workshop in Bangalore in 2007- see Patrick McCrays commentary; 

So it with immense pleasure that we encourage you to visit the
writing workshops at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 and if you are interested in joining the Space Arts email list, contact me:T

Technology, Exchange and Flow: India

An AHRC Impact and Engagement project to: (1) make a film reconstructing lost television material from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s television archive, (2) run writing workshops at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 addressing audience and user-led initiatives in India, and, (3) produce a series of publications by non-academics for Leonardo journal. 

Technology, Exchange and Flow: India

Professor Michael Punt along with colleagues Dr Joanna Griffin and Dr Hannah Drayson, from Transtechnolgy Research, University of Plymouth, UK have received an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK to produce a film and run a writing workshop at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India in partnership with Leonardo. The funding builds on the research and knowledge exchange outcomes of a three-year European project, Technology, Exchange and Flow and further research subsequently undertaken as part of the Marie Curie ITN CogNovo, led by Professor Sue Denham. The underpinning research was based in two archives in the Netherlands over a six-year period and examined the relationship between artistic media practices and industrial/commercial exploitation of audio-visual media at key moments of technological innovation, such as contemporary gaming and early television. It revealed the relationship between creativity and innovation within the European media sector through contemporary and historical examples and indicated how user-led initiatives impacted on technological and media form.

The film reconstructs lost television material from the 1970s made by students at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad in collaboration with space scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation and children in villages, for a unique experiment in local, audience-led satellite television. The writing workshop, run in partnership with Leonardo, will establish a continuity with the film and is intended to explore the Biennale as an audience-led endeavor. The workshop will include collaborative public writing sessions as well as podcast production for the Creative Disturbance platform that will articulate the findings of both a Technology, Exchange and Flow and CogNovo in knowledge exchange formats that are consistent with the altruistic concerns of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and the Indian Space Research Organization television archive.

The Best Christmas Present from my Daughter


First a happy end of the year.

Like some lucky families on the planet, we are spending the holidays together. In our case Christine and I are with my brother Alan, and his adult children Sophia and Michael, and with our grown children Giselle, Yuri and Xavier and his significant other Olivia. We are all type A personalities, engaged in rewarding productive professional pursuits, and at this time piloting safely through the chaos of life.

Looking back, it’s sometimes hard to believe how lucky we are as parents. But, as a scientist, I would be hard put to summarise the conclusions and recommendations from our family experiments for those embarking on their own experiments in child rearing.

Maybe there should be required parent training, with a permit for parenting, as we require for driving, a much less dangerous activity. But then maybe given the struggles and inadequacies of our school systems, we should leave it to chance as we now do !

This blog is prompted by our daughter Giselle informing me that her first peer reviewed article has been accepted by a medical journal. She has ok’ed my publishing her abstract ahead of publication. The article is titled:

Consent for Unaccompanied Minors in Immigration Detention;  Advocating for Protection from Coercive Practices  : by Giselle Malina

Accepted for publication in:    The AMA Journal of Bioethics.

For reasons that have nothing to do with our parenting, from an early age she was interested in medicine. She took emergency medical training as a teenager, volunteered in clinics in Africa and South America, volunteered in a refugee camp in Greece with Syrian refugees. And now she is finishing medical school, with an interest in surgery (very far from Christine and my comfort zones ).

Her peer reviewed article studies the way a government, in this case the US government, separates children from their parents as ‘illegal immigrants’. Under-age minors are then treated medically, against the child’s will, and with no other consenting adult except the state. Often the children are medicated, drugged, to ‘calm them down’ if they are disruptive, angry or unhappy ( which would seem to be a perfectly desirable behavior of the children in their situation).

As an educator I am often ‘in loco’ parentis, as our governments are, in refugee or detention camps, but in my case a university. Empathy is easy to write about as is fashionable today, difficult to practice day to day.

So yes, Christine and I are proud that our daughter had her first peer reviewed article published. And in a topic embodying values that our own parents shared as traumatized survivors of World War II.  My parents help set up UNESCO, and Christine’s mother dedicated her later years to “remembering for the future”, to learn the lessons from the Nazi Holocaust.

In addition, both Christine and my fathers were pioneers in the new post WWII systems of scholarly and academic publishing that seeks, but doesn’t always succeed, at making sure the good stuff rises to the topic and the poor and fake stuff sinks to the bottom.

It’s not yet clear, as recent events reinforce, that our parent’s generation succeeded in setting in motion the redesign of our cultures. It’s clear a deep redesign is needed to prevent WWIII, never mind our forthcoming extinction in the Anthropocene.

Nor that our own generation is doing any better at re-imagining a new ‘enlightenment’ for the 21st century.

Redesigning culture it turns out is not just a matter of writing new laws and governmental structures as our parents perhaps hoped. It’s an iterative everyday process to enable complex system to ‘transition’ to a different behavior. I recently was exposed to the thinking of on transition design which may help as part of serving ‘in loco parentis’ for our planetary ecology.

So maybe parental training should include transition design to help their children transition to adulthood, and then to tackle the transitioning our culture to prevent ecological collapse ?

In the meantime, here is the Abstract of the article by Giselle that was just accepted.


Currently, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and detention facilities determine appropriate medical care for unaccompanied minors in immigration detention. This care may not be in the best interest of the child. In contrast, the juvenile detention system and medical research rely on child advocates and court orders to insure the best interest of the child, and avoid undue influence or coercive practices. With current policies increasing the number of minors and their length of time spent in detention, it is urgent that the medical community advocate for these same safeguards to be put in place for this vulnerable population.

Happy end of the year, whatever culture you belong to.

Roger Malina

The pacific rim art science technology community invites you to south korea


ISEA is in south korea next year and is shaping up as an
amazing gathering of the communities of practice around the pacific rim and beyond

the guidelines for submitting proposals is available at  

help us redesign and rethink what the enlightenment could mean in the 21st century
lux aeterna is the overall bridging theme

deadline is in a couple of weeks

am in Dartington

  • Aeternitas Eternity of
    the Mortal
  • Symphonia Harmony of Noise
  • Illuminatio Enlightenment of
    A.I (Artificial
    Intelligence) & A.E
    (Artificial Emotion)
  • Penumbra In-between
Major Topic
Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light)

A topic inspired by the literal meaning of the host city Gwangju, “City of Light”, includes subcategories embracing complex themes that allow open interpretations in culture, science, and history. For example, religiously, light implies divinity and immortality. Scientifically, it is an energy collection of particles and wavelength signals. It symbolizes the enlightenment and rationale in humanities. Also, the presence of light creates Umbra and Penumbra. In light of the fact that light is the most specific example of versatility in which various interpretations can occur, it will provide us with the context where cohesion of procedural logic based on the human sensibilities and technology of artistic inspirations is freely presented, which is in line with what ISEA has been pursuing.

Detailed Topic
Aeternitas : Eternity of the Mortal

Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity. – John Milton

※ Related Research Fields:
Bio Art, Neuroscience, Hypernatural, Technological Singularity, Human Brain, Artificial Life, Brain-Computer Interface, Digital Undertaker, ‘Right to be forgotten vs. Freedom of expression, etc.

This topic includes various perspectives associated with the eternity of the human being. Humans are finite beings. In contrast to their physicality, their achievements embody transcendental personalities beyond time. Scientific research, on the other hand, denies time transcendence because it is based on the experimental modification. In the near future with the technology’s singularity, humans may have to confront a moment to make a decision whether to physically gain an eternal life or to bestow transcendent personalities upon their traces. We look for works and researches in the theme of eternity and mortality that are inspired by religious, scientific, humanistic, and artistic aspects.

Symphonia : Harmony of Noise

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. – Carl Sagan

※ Related Research Fields :
Sound and Music Computing, Signal Processing, Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, Socio-Technical System, Data Science, Complex Network, Data Visualization and Analysis, Computational Aesthetics, etc.

Since both sound and light are wave-like phenomena (by possessing the characteristics of wavelength), a research topic in both sound and light can be expanded to Vision technology and the Signal Processing in engineering. In fact, there have been emerging opinions about Vision Insight that machines could be more accurate than humans when looking into the essence. However, not only limited to the field of science but also in many other fields, an unrefined signal could open up various possibilities of perspectives in interpreting the nature of collections of data. For example, in Phaidon, Simmias mentions the attunement referring to the remaining sound even after the destruction of Lyre. This topic, involving the two different types of wavelength invites a wide range of researches on light and sound, Data Analysis, Data Visualization that would extract meaningful signals from noise, and harmonization.

Illuminatio : Enlightenment of A.I (Artificial Intelligence) & A.E (Artificial Emotion)

Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. – Laozi

※ Related Research Fields :
Perception, Cognition, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Emotion, Impact of A.I on Society and Arts, Education, Media Art Education, Learning, STEAM

Eighteenth-century Europe embraced Enlightenment ideals in order to advance culture and civilization by the power of the human intellect and rationale. The influence of the Enlightenment movement in the society is similar to that of Artificial Intelligence(AI) which could happen in the near future-breaking down the old customs and discovering and spreading the universal truth through objective observation. AI has been a controversial topic because it is uncertain how SNN(Spiking Neural Network) that mimics the thinking process of human’s social and artistic brain activity will be able to solve problems. Even if SNN gains the problem-solving ability, various kinds of questions still remain. For example, SNN’s decision-making process and the purpose for solving problems is vague. This topic seeks a type of projects and researches that explores AI’s ability to configure human’s creativity and emotion. In addition, assuming the feasibility of Artificial Emotion (A.E), this topic invites works and research that deal with the essence of a man in the near future.
As the significance of redefining human creativity and ingenuity is emphasized with the advent of AI, ‘education’ in the regard of incubating the talents the contemporary society needs is also being highlighted. The role of education in the era of the machinery is not only restricted to nurturing the capability to stay abreast of the latest innovations and implement science and technology to the today’s everchanging turmoil of interests. There are active discussions on the education reflecting the transitions and transformations of the contemporary society from programming, code literacy, to STEAM, aiming to further present how the essence of humanity could be innovated. We await various researches and opinions on the importance and role of media art, focusing toward the direction of education for the present and the future.

Penumbra : In-between

Shadow is a color as light is, but less brilliant; light and shadow are only the relation of two tones. – Paul Cezanne

※ Related Research Fields :
Robotics, Altered Reality(VR/AR/MR), Interactive Art, Blockchain, etc.

We look for various topics for research that are not mentioned above. Light and shadow are relative concepts. A research that might be deemed a failure for some researchers could be seen as the process of the search for the truth from the perspective of another research field. The topics of the paper mentioned so far are the signposts for guidance and inspiration. However, beyond our narrow point of view, we would like to hear your very own stories. We hope to encounter works and research that are full of imagination and creativity, beyond our limited frame.

Pablo Reyes slams Leonardo at Birthday Party in ATEC at UTDallas


We are about to bring to a close the Leonardo 50th birthdays around the planet in Buenos Aires and Monte video: . We take the opportunity to thank the Leonardo Network of Villages for their enthusiasm and vision for the future that they have created for our community of practice.

Here we recognise the contributions of Pablo Reyes in Dallas:


Leonardo 50th Birthday Party Slam at ATEC, UTDallas

The Leonardo Slam idea was launched during Ars Electronica  ( )…it was picked up by Pablo Reyes during the UTDallas Leo50 Birthday party as a collaboration between the ATEC 3D Studio directed by Prof Andew Scott and the ATEC ArtSciLab co directed by Cassini Nazir and Roger Malina. At the Leo50 Birthday Party an ATEC awarded to the first ATEC director Tom Linehan.

3D Studio provides a space for the exploration of Art, Design, and Technology through intensive project-based studio practice. Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) tools such as laser cutters, mills, large format 2D printers, and 3D scanners and printers provide the platform of discovery through invention, collaboration and hands-on building activities that resonate beyond the school and into the larger university community.


See the Pablo Reyes Leo50 slam on youtube with the voice of Tom Linehan ( who is a long time Leonardo Editorial Board  and who helped Leonardo pilot through the chaos of creating new communities of practice )

Inspired by the fusion between artistic and technological practices fostered at the school of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, Pablo Reyes created a digital sculpture based of the Leonardo Journal’s brain logo. Combined with the philosophy of ideas being arbitrary, his model recreates Leonardo’s 50th Anniversary Logo by implementing digital fabrication and projection mapping techniques into a piece that activates with digital paint.

The 3D model was created in Rhino 3D using curves and surfaces. The curves were drawn over an image of the logo, then the points were edited to translate the 2D image into a 3D object. Surfaces were created between the curves to create a more solid object. The edges on the outside were extruded to include two levels of rim around the model to give it more depth. It was then exported and taken into Pepakura to be unfolded for fabrication.


After choosing where the seams would be in Pepakura and editing the flaps that would be used for construction, the cutting blueprints were exported to Adobe Illustrator so that they could be saved as PNGs.  These image files were taken into MadMapper, a projection mapping software, and arranged to project   48in x 96in long sheets of cardboard. The corners, edge numbers, and fold types were marked before the sheets were placed flat on the ground to draw the lines between the dots. They were then cut out and folded where marked. Once all of the pieces were cut, they were organized in preparation for assembly.


Finding one matching seam at a time, the pieces were held together using Loctite super glue. After all pieces were connected, the seams were reinforced on both the inside and outside with hot glue. The seams were then covered using long pieces of white tape. To create a cleaner look and a better prepared surface for projection mapping, the brown cardboard was painted white with two coats of house paint. Finally, slits were cut in four places along the top to allow for it to be hung from the ceiling using canvas straps.

About the artist:

Pablo Reyes was born in Mexico City and arrived in the U.S. at the age of 14. He graduated from Elsik High school in Houston, Texas. Afterwards, he pursued UTD’s Mechanical Engineering program during his freshman year, before changing majors. His current degree plan in the school of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC), where he focuses on design and production combining elements of his engineering experience with digital fabrication and projection mapping. Pablo plans to continue his education at the university, pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts program, hoping to become a teacher for the school that empowered his aspirations.He is pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts program, hoping to become a teacher for the school that empowered his aspirations.

1st Marjorie and Frank Malina ArtScience Fellowship Award to S. Gresham-Lancaster

Announcing the first Marjorie and Frank J. Malina ArtScience Fellowship to Scot Gresham-Lancaster.

Scot Gresham-Lancaster has been awarded the first Marjorie and Frank J. Malina ArtScience distinguished fellowship. The award is for his innovative work using sound and music to advance new scientific exploration and research. The research has applications in the analytics of big data in business, medicine and other sectors of the economy that rely on big data for decision making.

This work has been in sonification, which is the conversion of raw data into audio information. In particular the Data Stethoscope project at the UT Dallas ATEC ArtSciLab where he works as a research ArtScientist.   

Working closely with scientist and artist collaborators, his research has been to try to codify new standards of listening that allow the use of sonification to scale across the entire field of data science. He has developed and tested an innovative taxonomy of data sonification.  

He is the lead artist in a collaborative developing the data stethoscope, in collaboration with Sharath Chandra Ram, Kristen Duepree and Roger Malina. This work builds on the scientific research use case with neuroscientist Dr Gagan Wig in the Center for Vital Longevity at UTDallas together with a team of artists, scientists, engineers and humanities researchers. DARPA provided seed monies for this project which included Tim Perkis, Andrew Blanton, Michela Chan, Neil Savalia, Veena Somareddy, Anvit Srivastav, Shruthi Ayloo, Max Schich, Mike Leach and Robert Nally.

Current use case collaborators for data sonification include: UTD JSOM Business Professor Judd Bradbury, ( business use case) , UTD design faculty Cassini Nazir (UX sonification research),Lynx High School Science teacher Jason Brogden (K-12 education use case). 

The research methodology involves the artistic performance of the same software as used in the use cases,  The recent performance at the 9e2: 9 evenings of art, science & technology in Seattle in honor of John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, , and at the University of Caldas, Colombia URL and CNMAT .

The award includes artscience residencies at  No17, former studio of Frank and Marjorie Malina just outside of Paris: 

About Scot-Gresham Lancaster:


Scot Gresham-Lancaster (b. Redwood City, CA, USA, 1954) is a composer, performer, instrument builder, educator and educational technology specialist with over three decades of professional experience. He is dedicated to research and performance using the expanding capabilities of computer networks to create new environments for musical and cross discipline expression. As a member of The Hub (band), he is one of the early pioneers of “computer network” music which uses the behavior of interconnected music machines to create innovative ways for performers and computers to interact. He has recently performed in a series of “co-located” performances collaborating in real time with live and distant dancers, video artists and musicians in network based performances. For the last decade his work has been focused on refining the practices surrounding sonification in attempt to bring these resources to general use at a worldwide scale.

About Marjorie Malina

Marjorie Duckworth Malina was born 28 April 1918 in Elslack, Yorkshire, England. The daughter of John James Duckworth and Mary Anne Bolton, she was the youngest of four; her sisters were Thyra, Annie and Mary Duckworth. She attended the University of London, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1939. She trained in accountancy while working in her father’s textile company, JJ Duckworth Ltd. During World War II she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, reaching the rank of captain, and with the antiaircraft batteries operated by women that helped defend Britain during the war.

Shortly after the war she applied to work at UNESCO, a newly founded organization, after hearing a radio broadcast by Julian Huxley, and was hired in the personnel department in 1947. There she met Frank Malina, then Deputy Director for Science of UNESCO, and they married in 1949. Frank and Marjorie bought a house in Boulogne Billancourt, and raised two sons, Roger and Alan. The Malina home was the birthplace of the journal Leonardo and the Leonardo Network and a center of art-science debate in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s. It was also the studio where Frank Malina worked as a pioneer in the kinetic art movement. The steady flow of guests and visitors included astronautical pioneers, artists and scholars including Jacob Bronowski, Frank Popper, Academician Sedov, Roy Ascott and Leonardo editorial board members. Numerous friends and colleagues enjoyed the hospitality of Marjorie Duckworth Malina. She worked tirelessly for the success of the Leonardo project and was an ardent defender of the ideals of international collaboration. Marjorie passed away in March 2006.

About Frank J Malina

Frank Joseph Malina (October 2, 1912 – November 9, 1981)  was an American astronautical pioneer and a ground breaking kinetic artist. His led the team which launched the first human object into outer space beyond the Karman boundary.  He is also known for becoming both a pioneer in the kinetic art world , but also through the founding of the Leonardo Publications  which promote and document the works of innovators that bridge the art science technology disciplines. The International Federation of Astronautics awards the ( ) Frank J.Malina Astronautical Prize. The Prize to an educator who has demonstrated excellence in taking the fullest advantage of the resources available to them to promote the study of astronautics and related space sciences; the award recognises  the key role educators and mentors of young professionals. Frank Malina and a group of Caltech students and collaborators were the initiators of the engineering breakthroughs in astronautics that led to the Wac-Corporal rocket, the Aerojet General aerospace company, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory where Malina served as first director. Theodore Von Karman was the educator, PhD advisor and mentor who created an environment which contributed to the founding of  space age.

The Frank J Malina Distinguished ArtScience Research Fellowship

Marjorie and  Frank J. Malina ArtScience Research Fellowships have been created to support the research, artistic practice and scholarship of well recognized individuals or teams. The awardees are working closely in both the Art and Science domains to make new ways of pushing the boundaries of both Art and Science by integrated transdisciplinary work. The fellowship includes an No 17 ArtScience residency at the studio and former home of Marjorie and Frank Malina in France.

For further information contact:

ALERT Leonardo Slam Begins In Dallas

Alert: on Friday Oct 19 we will be playing the Leo50 Cellphonia. Please contribute sound, noise and music by phoning toll free    1-972-200-9122 and visiting    the cellphonia opera will be played at the Leonardo 50th Slam party in the ATEC Building on the University of Texas Dallas  campus 6pm on                                                  

+1 (972) 200-9122

+1 (972) 200-9122