Could Scientist-Designer Teams Help Us Understand Scientific Breakthroughs?

POWER COUPLE: Scientists publish research. It’s typically dense and barely decipherable for non-academics—we know because we often try to distill it for readers. But a new match-making service is pairing researchers with designers to explain scientific breakthroughs. The Leading Strand is the the brainchild of neuroscientist-turned-art-director Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, who tells Quartz the project’s goal is to counter “budget cuts, media misrepresentation, and public apathy” toward science in the U.S.

Leading Strand has paired five scientist-designer teams. One duo is Brian Foo, a multidisciplinary designer at The New York Public Library’s digital innovation unit, and Sam McKenzie, a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the neurobiology of memory. The teams will reveal their projects at public art exhibit at Pratt Institute next week. One stipulation of their partnership is that they commit to a 50-50 collaboration—not your typical client-designer relationship. In addition to making scientific concepts more accessible, Phingbodhipakkiya says that the Leading Strand could “raise the scientific IQ of designers,” informing the way designers test their concepts.

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