Sanders Series Lecture

Mark D. Gross:
Design, Making, and Creativity (or Polymaths Unite!)

2017-02-07 12:30 at MaRS Discovery District, Bottom Level


Design, Making, and Creativity (or Polymaths Unite!)

People enjoy making things, as the recently burgeoning “maker movement” shows.  While often seen as a vehicle to engage young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the maker movement presents far wider opportunities to engage people in design and creativity.  The new machinery for making things—laser cutters, 3D printers and more—cry out for better tools and technologies for design, and practice making things invites people to become more creative.  Some of the most exciting opportunities and powerful insights belong to polymaths who can defy conventional disciplinary boundaries and learn to apply expertise developed in one discipline to others.



I’m director of the ATLAS Institute and professor of computer science at University of Colorado Boulder. I’m also co-founder of Modular Robotics Incorporated and Blank Slate Systems with former PhD students. Previously I was on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington Seattle; before that I worked at Atari Cambridge Research, Logo Computer Systems, Kurzweil Computer Systems, the MIT Logo Lab and the Architecture Machine Group. Once upon a time I studied architecture at MIT, where I became fascinated with how design works, and how computational tools could support designing.  I still am.

I’ve worked on many different things: intelligent computer aided design, virtual environments and design simulation, modular robotics and computationally enhanced construction kits and craft, tangible interaction design, sketch and diagram recognition, digital fabrication and more.