“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” - Arthur C. Clarke
The University of California, San Diego and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation are launching a major center to better understand, enhance and enact the gift of human imagination. A few related questions guide our effort:
- How can imagination be better harnessed and applied, both to solving problems and expanding the reach of our joys?
- How can imaginative creativity be taught and nurtured through education, games, technology or popular culture?
- What approaches will enhance practical applications, comparing our imaginations to reality, preventing bad outcomes and making good dreams come true?
- What is imagination? How can we understand it through the work of scientists, artists and educators?
- How can modern science provide insight into the origins and processes of imagination, by using our rapidly developing brain sciences?
- How can our works of imaginative culture better help us peer beyond the edges of our current condition, providing insight into how the changing present shapes our future?
- How do new means of communication and interaction enable us to inspire and tap the unrealized potentials of global imagination?
- How have our imagined expectations about the future either failed or been reified by our present?
- How can we make prediction - or tested imagination - become a useful art, even science?
Sir Arthur C. Clarke created extraordinary visions of the future that continue to provide insight into the human condition. He transformed our lives by developing the ideas of GPS and satellite communication. We are inspired by this legacy and want to continue it by focusing on Sir Arthur’s greatest gift: imagination.
We will bring together thinkers and doers in the arts and information technology, in neuroscience, cognitive science and the physical sciences to help us understand the nature of imagination and to build tools and develop methods that will extend imagination.
We have developed our initial approach with a cross-disciplinary team of some of UCSD’s world famous scientists, artists and scholars, linking them with a group of award-winning science fiction authors birthed at UCSD.