Metacognition: the mind’s Swiss Army knife

When you want to learn or build something new, it’s tempting to just get going. Read as much as you can, do some tutorials, work on some related projects. Short-term, this gives you a motivation boost. You feel like you’re moving forward. But, after a while, you notice that you’re not progressing as fast as …

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Liminal Creativity

Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, “threshold”) is the ambiguity that emerges in the middle of a fundamental transition. Liminality is the “in-between”, where the space and the participants no longer hold their past status, but have not yet fully transformed to their post-transition self. Liminality can be applied to a person standing at the …

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Can you get a doctorate online, and should you?

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest level degree awarded in a specific academic field. Beyond the title, a PhD can be exciting for many reasons. It’s a way — not the only way — to collaborate with passionate people on important problems, to contribute new knowledge to the world, and to open doors …

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Mimetic learning: the power of learning through imitation

We all know that children learn through imitation. They observe and then mimic their parents when learning how to speak, perform new motor skills, and interact with others. What you may not know is that mimetic learning is a lifelong process. In adulthood as well, the way we behave is heavily influenced by how others …

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Mae Jemison: the power of developing multifaceted skills

Mae Jemison is the first African American woman to orbit the earth. She knew that she wanted to be a scientist since kindergarten. Not only did she grow up reading books about space, but she also loved science fiction books where black women were the heroes of the story. At 16, Jemison graduated from high …

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Rosalind Franklin: the power of unbounded curiosity

Rosalind Franklin was a groundbreaking scientist whose story is tied to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. Franklin and her Ph.D. student used x-ray technology to photograph DNA that showed the molecule’s structure. However, when two other well-known scientists published a paper about the double-helix findings, they never gave Franklin credit for her …

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Vera Rubin: The power of evidence-based visual thinking

Vera Rubin was a powerhouse in astrophysics, though she rarely gets the credit she deserves. Rubin is responsible for discovering dark matter, which makes up 84% of the material that exists in the universe. Born in 1928, a young Vera became enthralled with space while staring at the stars outside her bedroom window. After receiving …

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Elizabeth Blackwell: the power of applied education

Born in 1821, Elizabeth Blackwell did not intend to become a physician. In her book Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, she shared that “the very thought of dwelling on the physical structure of the body and its various ailments filled me with disgust.” But the course of her life changed when …

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Simone de Beauvoir: the power of intellectual advocacy

Born in 1908, Simone de Beauvoir was an influential writer, feminist, social theorist, and philosopher. She is best known for her 1949 book, The Second Sex, which upended traditional notions of the role of women in society. Beauvoir made the case that women have always been treated as an “other” and advocated for women’s liberation. …

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Aspasia: the power of debate and collective learning

You have likely heard of Socrates and Plato, two of the most well-known ancient Greek philosophers. The names Pericles and Cicero may also ring a bell. But Aspasia, a little-known female philosopher with the gift of persuasion, is rarely mentioned in history books. However, she was one of the most influential philosophical figures in Athens. …

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