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BBL: How Do Art & Design Accelerate Research in Science & Engineering?

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This week at HCIL BBL, we have the pleasure of having our own Dr. Ben Shneiderman speak to us. His talk is titled, “How do art & design accelerate research in science & engineering?”


Time11/09 (Thursday) from 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Place: HCIL, Room 2105Hornbake building – south wing
Lunch: Bring your own food (this will be a conventional BBL)


Leonardo is the classic example of fusion between art and science, as well as design and engineering.  His artistic side amplified his perceptual abilities enabling him to make scientific breakthroughs about human anatomy, hydraulics, optics, and much more.  Similarly, Pasteur’s training in lithography sensitized him to understand the chirality of molecules.  Artistic skill enabling science is but one of four paths that I see.  A second path is that the demands of art push science and engineering forward, as in the case of Karl Heinz needing to create the MP3 algorithms for compressing music. A third path is that the playful, exploratory, iterative, and divergent methods of art & design free up scientists and engineers to expand the range of their thinking. A fourth path is that products of art & design, such as paintings, sculpture, music, or film can directly inspire scientists and engineers. This talk will present further examples and call for closer connections across these disciplines.


Ben Shneiderman ( is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (, and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and NAI, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His contributions include the direct manipulation concept, clickable highlighted web-links, touchscreen keyboards, dynamic query sliders, development of treemaps, novel network visualizations for NodeXL, and temporal event sequence analysis for electronic health records.

Shneiderman is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016) With Stu Card and Jock Mackinlay, he co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999). He co-authored, Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL ( (Morgan Kaufmann) with Derek Hansen and Marc Smith. Shneiderman’s latest book is The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (Oxford, April 2016).