Produced by Harriet Bailey and myself for Massive. A seven part series created by seven animation teams and twelve scientists, writers, engineers, physicists and an archaeologist, on the lasting impact of Shelley's famous work. Each episode waxes poetic about different scientific, ethical and philosophical domains and the lessons we've collectively learned from Dr. Frankenstein's mistakes and triumphs. The series delves into the origins of life and consciousness, toolmaking, artificial intelligence, augmented bodies and minds, and the ethics of playing God. This film was made in collaboration with Arizona State University's Frankenbook Project, MIT Press and the Sloan Foundation. It was created and produced by Harriet Bailey and Nadja Oertelt for Massive Science and Plympton Media. It was animated by a team of award winning animators from around the world: Angela Philips and Phoebe Halstead, Rosanna Wan, Daniela Sherer, The Moth Collective, Amia Yokoyama, Joe Bichard and Caitlin Craggs, with sound design by the renowned team at Skillbard in the UK.
Featuring the voices of:
Sara Walker, theoretical physicist and astrobiologist
Caleb Scharf, exoplanetary scientist and astrobiologist
Britt Wray, science communicator, writer and producer
Ben Novak, ecologist and biologist
David Chalmers, philosopher and cognitive scientist
Danbee Kim, comparative neuroscientist
Kate Krueger, molecular biologist
Genevieve Dewar, paleoanthropologist and archaeologist
Braden Allenby, Professor of Engineering and Ethics
Conor Walsh, biomedical engineer
Daniel Bear, neuroscientist and AI researcher
Margaret Wertheim, science writer and curator
Massive has a longstanding partnership with the Science Studios at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, supported by Janna Levin, Professor of Astrophysics at Columbia/Barnard and Director of Sciences at Pioneer Works. As part of this partnership I have produced a series of animated shorts based on interviews I conduct with scientists who participate in the Scientific Controversies series.
I spoke at TEDMED 2017 as part of the Hive Innovators program on Massive’s science translation methodology. I was invited to join the TEDMED Editorial Advisory Board for 2018 alongside an unbelievably talented group of public health professionals, doctors, scientists and journalists. Massive also launched a TEDMED - Massive Research Scholar program to bring Massive scientists into their community.
I worked with three animators, Tim Divall, Daniela Sherer and Amanda Bonaiuto, to create and write a series of three videos for The Atlantic on the history of our understanding of how children develop. From shifts in the 1960s around our understanding of children's environment and its effects on their behavior, to an increased focus on the environment's effect on children's brains, to a greater understanding of trauma, these three videos trace a burgeoning understanding of the complexity of children's growth.
I spoke at CPH:CONFERENCE 2017 as part of the CPH:DOX film festival about translation and representation of science for film and media. The full day program brought together scientists, producers, STEM educators and advocates from intersecting fields to think about how we can best approach scientific content through visual media. I also helped discuss and brainstorm science-related team projects at CPH:LAB, which brings together emerging and established talent across film, art and technology to develop interdisciplinary concepts.
I am the CEO and a cofounder, alongside Allan Lasser, of Massive. Massive is a community-based science media company that forges new pathways between scientists and the public. If you're a scientist interested in working with us, join our Consortium and follow us at www.massivesci.com and on Facebook + Twitter. More about my work with Massive in Forbes, CMF Trends and realscreen.
Aurator is an interactive audio documentary that brings you into the intimate thoughts and dreams of scientists. Add your own thoughts to the chorus. I produced Aurator alongside director Britt Wray and Helios Design Labs. Follow us on Facebook and give us feedback here.
Aurator is a place to directly interact with scientists and other experts, a place to be heard alongside expert voices, a place to voice questions, hopes, concerns, fears, and curiosities about science. It is a place for people considering a life in science and related disciplines to develop a nuanced understanding of what’s really involved in a field. For scientists, Aurator is a place to build trust between their scientific community and the public audiences they want to communicate responsibly with, and a place to be inspired by other experts in their field that come from different disciplines.
I wrote and created this animated piece for Vox on the shifting definition of death as defined by the technology we use to observe it. Animation direction by Sophie Koko Gate and sound design by Oswald Skillbard.
I worked for ten weeks with a board of experts in bioethics, open bionics, medical device manufacturing and human augmentation for the HumanxDesign conference produced by CNN/Courageous. I crafted an ethical framework for human augmentation. Read more here or download the PDF.
How do we perceive the world? This is a question that neuroscience has long sought to tackle, but which poets and artists have pursued even longer. I conceived of and produced The Poetry of Perception, an eight part series for HarvardX's Fundamentals of Neuroscience (fundamentalsofneuroscience.org) alongside eight animators and a composer. Find out more on The Atlantic, Vimeo Staff Picks, Hyperallergic, Open Culture, Booooooom and The Creators Project.
For three years I produced The Fundamentals of Neuroscience, a massive, open, online course that wildly veers from traditional modes of online and brick-and-mortar teaching. I produced this course and led an amazing team alongside Neuroscience and CS Professor David Cox at Harvard University. We integrated interactive, multimedia interfaces with beautiful, artistic content, DIY science and science documentary. We launched a successful Kickstarter to partially fund the DIY science component of the course by the public.
Read more about our work on GigaOM, Education News, The Harvard Crimson, Degree of Freedom, HuffPo, Salon, Harvard GSAS Magazine, the Boston Globe, It's Nice That, Gizmodo, PSFK, The Kid Should See This and Mind Hacks.
The fifth-grade girls at Girls Prep Bronx Charter School walked into the courtroom of Federal Judge Shelley Chapman on Jan. 27, and some of their eyes went wide. Other kids looked up and around, stunned by how big it all seemed.
And being in adult land was big — the girls had to stand on boxes to get their heads above the courtroom's podiums — but they'd come prepared. They were there for a mock trial (with a real judge) in which they would try famous European explorers of old for crimes they may or may not have committed in the age of exploration.
A short documentary produced, directed, shot and cut with Jon Lynn at Mashable. See the full article here.
Shorts produced, shot, edited and/or written while working at Mashable.
Mashable and The Marshall Project came together to collaborate and I directed, produced, shot and cut this short documentary about the holidays in a Louisville, Kentucky jail with Noah Throop. The Marshall Project is a nonprofit news organization that focuses on the American criminal justice system. Read more on Mashable or The Marshall Project.
Go on an epic journey with a trio of musicians into the depths of the human auditory system. A wild tale filled with beasts and storms and strange faceless dancing humans armed with larger-than-life ossicles. I produced this piece for The Fundamentals of Neuroscience with artist Andrew Benincasa, alongside my team at HarvardX.
Working collaboratively with an amazing team of people I produced and ran the inaugural Datalore Hackathon in January 2015. To find out more about the projects produced at Datalore 2015, check out www.datalorehack.com, find us on Facebook, or read a review of the event by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard.
The Non-Fiction Cartel, StoryCode Boston, Harvard’s Bok Center, the MIT OpenDocLab, and the MIT Center for Civic Media sponsor this annual weekend-long hackathon in Boston that brings together designers, creative technologists, engineers, data scientists and filmmakers interested in cross-platform, interdisciplinary storytelling. Over the course of 48 hours, teams brainstorm and prototype an interactive narrative experience that tells a story with data, around data, or about data.
I produced a series of documentary shorts for The Fundamentals of Neuroscience on topics like Deep Brain Stimulation, Optogenetics, Connectomics and MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD. The full features can be found here.
From March 15-19 2014 at CERN in Switzerland, 42 participants including myself were put into seven teams to be part of Tribeca Hacks <Story Matter> hackathon. Filmmakers were paired with scientists, technologists and designers to translate new stories into innovative technologies. Our project EMERGENCE was showcased during the CinéGlobe Film Festival at CERN on March 19 and TFI Interactive Day during the Tribeca Film Festival.
Unorthodox is a feature documentary film that began in 2004, when Anna Wexler and I were undergrads studying neuroscience at MIT. It took us nine years to complete the film, which offers an unprecedented look at the Modern Orthodox Jewish community in America and at the phenomenon of religious transformation after spending time in Israel. The film has been likened to an Orthodox Jewish version of "Devil's Playground," a 2002 documentary that follows several adolescents from the Amish community as they leave (and return to) the faith. Unorthodox, however, offers a more intimate glimpse into a secluded world, as Anna herself grew up in the Modern Orthodox Jewish community and her personal narration frames the film. You can find out more on the film website or on our Kickstarter page. Unorthodox has screened at The Boston Jewish Film Festival, DOCNYC, The Montclair Film Festival, The UK Jewish Film Festival amongst others. Check us out on Facebook and read about upcoming screenings on our website.
I did a short residency as a science producer with the crew at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures in LA in Spring 2015. During the two weeks I spent there I made a video on synesthesia and learned from the talented army of producers making content for BuzzFeed Video.
I produced a number of shorts for Motherboard + VICE in 2010 about remixing live media, radicalizing TV and the unending capacity for MIT students to hack electronics. Check out more of Sosolimited and Leaflabs.
I spoke on the SXSWedu panel "Putting the Hollywood in MOOCs" alongside Raymond McCrea Jones, Jason Marsh and Zach Wise. We discussed methods for producing educational media with high production values. We reach more students with highly-produced media and thus bring more students into the educational environments we produce. Working at Berkeley, Emory, Harvard and Northwestern, we discussed the primary objectives of institutions producing MOOCs when considering where to spend their time and money. Where should high-production quality video and media sit within an online course to get the best return on the high investment of high production quality? Panel discussion materials can be found here.
DIY Science has the power to transform the structure of public scientific discourse. Britt Wray and I ran a workshop at SXSWedu 2014 on the power of science outside the institution. We ran a hands-on neurophysiology lab demo where participants, including teachers and those from any and all backgrounds worked directly with insect specimens and DIY science hardware from Backyard Brains.
The subject of investigation during the workshop and as part of the larger project was ‘labor’: paid and unpaid, material and immaterial. A series of workshops took place in 15 cities around the world, and the Lumiére brothers’ Workers Leaving the Lumiére Factory and Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat was used as a starting point for the creation of shorts during the workshop.
I worked in the DiCarlo Lab at MIT from 2003-2005 and 2006-2007, the Translational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Cambridge University from 2005-2006 and the Cox Lab at Harvard University from 2007-2009. I also conducted paleoanthropology research in the Archaeology and Anthropology Departments at UCL in London from 2009-2010.
Villmoare, B.A., Dunmore C., Kilpatrick, S., Oertelt, N., Depew M.J. and Fish, J.L. 2014. Craniofacial modularity and the evolution of the mid-face in early African hominins. Journal of Human Evolution. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.06.014
Zoccolan D.*, Oertelt N.* (contrib. equally), DiCarlo J.J., Cox D.D. 2009. A rodent model for the study of invariant visual object recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.0811583106