“The Big Bang Theory” Creates Scholarship Fund for STEM Students at UCLA

Warner Brothers EntertainmentJim Parsons and UCLA alumna Mayim Bialik are among the cast, crew and executives funding a scholarship for students in science, technology, engineering and math.

A co-creator and the cast and crew of the hit television show “The Big Bang Theory” have endowed a scholarship fund at UCLA to provide financial aid to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The sitcom, which recently completed its eighth season, follows the lives of a group of young physicists.

The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment has already raised more than $4 million, with an initial donation from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and gifts from nearly 50 people associated with the show, including stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch; executive producers Bill Prady and Steven Molaro; and members of the crew. Warner Bros. Television, CBS and other corporate partners also contributed. Read more »

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Genes Bring Music to Your Ears

violinist

Multiple regions in the human genome are reported to be linked to musical aptitude, according to a study published in Molecular Psychiatry. The function of the candidate genes implicated in the study ranges from inner-ear development to auditory neurocognitive processes, suggesting that musical aptitude is affected by a combination of genes involved in the auditory pathway. Read more »

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Children’s Drawings Indicate Later Intelligence

child_drawingHow four-year old children draw pictures of a child is an indicator of intelligence at age 14, according to a study by King’s College London, published in Psychological Science.

The researchers studied 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins (a total of 15,504 children) from the Medical Research Council (MRC) funded Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), and found that the link between drawing and later intelligence was influenced by genes.

At the age of four, children were asked by their parents to complete a ‘Draw-a-Child’ test, i.e. draw a picture of a child. Each figure was scored between zero and 12 depending on the presence and correct quantity of features such as head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, body, arms etc. For example, a drawing with two legs, two arms, a body and head, but no facial features, would score four. The children were also given verbal and non-verbal intelligence tests at ages four and 14. Read more »

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Spatial Distance Enhances Creativity

distancePlaying make-believe is more than a childhood pasttime. According to psychologists, it’s also crucial to building creativity, giving a child the ability to consider alternative realities and perspectives. And this type of thinking is essential to future development, aiding interpersonal and problem-solving skills and the ability to invent new theories and concepts. That has been shown to be a component of future professional success in fields from the arts to the sciences and business. Read more »

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Personality More Important Predictor Than Intelligence for Academic Success

personality

Recent research at Griffith University has found that personality is more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education.

Dr. Arthur Poropat from Griffith’s School of Applied Psychology has conducted the largest ever reviews of personality and academic performance. He based these reviews on the fundamental personality factors (Conscientiousness, Openness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Extraversion) and found Conscientiousness and Openness have the biggest influence on academic success.  Read more »

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Why I Stopped Writing About Bruce Lee

Lee01For those who are unfamiliar with my work on the subject of Bruce Lee, I wrote a number of articles and two books on Bruce Lee in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In April of 2000, I took the first place collegiate prize for philosophical writing at the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation’s conference in Las Vegas, the only such award that was ever given by the foundation. After receiving my award at the ceremony, Bruce Lee’s widow walked to the podium and publicly praised my first book on Lee. John Little, the director of the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation, considered me to be one of the world’s top authorities on Bruce Lee’s philosophy, and, at his request, I participated in a series of groundbreaking lectures in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the Fall of 2000. And I established, along with Spain’s leading authority on Bruce Lee, the most popular website on Bruce Lee in the Spanish-speaking world.

I saw Bruce Lee and his philosophy as a vehicle to accomplish something socially relevant; to use Bruce Lee to educate the masses on issues concerning society, religion, philosophy, and psychology. It was my own profile of Martin O’Neill, a senior social worker in Northern Ireland, who was using Bruce Lee’s martial art to unite Protestants and Catholics, that led to our symposiums at Queens University and Trinity College. I believed that the value of studying Bruce Lee was in the opportunity for personal growth. After all, as Lee was often quoted as saying: “All knowledge leads to self knowledge.” Read more »

Categories: Commentary, Creativity, Media Watch, Philosophy, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Recognizing the Mentors in My Life

mountain

This January 15th is “Thank Your Mentor Day,” a part of National Mentoring Month. National Mentoring Month was started in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. According to the National Mentoring Month website, the purpose of National Mentoring Month is to focus “national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits—can work together to increase the number of mentors to assure positive outcomes for our young people.”

In recognition of this day, I would like to take some time to reflect upon and recognize the mentors who guided and influenced me. Read more »

Categories: Commentary, Education, Philosophy, Profiles | 1 Comment

Gifted and Talented Gets the “Glee” Treatment in Short Film

musicalA Gifted and Talented class is the setting for this entertaining short film. Note the elements of asynchrony, introversion, and social anxiety.

From IMDB’s synopsis:

“Now in his second year at CTC, Wyatt has returned to the charmingly awkward accelerated summer program with two things on his mind – music and the girl of his dreams. The young composer navigates his overwhelming social environment with internal masterpieces; the sardonic song of his arch-rival, E.O., looms while the errant tuba of his testosterone-driven pal, Jack, forces him off his examined path in life. Wyatt must break through the noise and find his own voice if he ever hopes to harmonize with the triumphant music of Nikki, his heart’s desire.”


 

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This, I Believe

Young Einstein.There is a diversity of human aptitude, every bit as varied and complex as one might expect with a population of over 3.5 billion. The majority of humankind trend toward the average, but there are also outliers who can engage in domain-specific endeavors with an ease and faculty that is extraordinary and, in some cases, profound.

I believe that giftedness is a natural endowment. I believe that there are children born pregnant with their own potential in a manner which distinguishes them from most other children. Giftedness is often a stable trait but not always; it is entirely possible for the ungifted to catch up to the gifted, particularly if the gifted person’s abilities are being neglected. Even the hare can lose to the tortoise, given the proper circumstances.

I maintain the belief that there is a unique psychology of giftedness. The gifted can experience the world differently than those who are not gifted. They have life experiences and face challenges and anxieties uncommon in the general population. I also believe in overexcitabilities. Some people, frequently gifted but not always, experience life with greater intensity. I believe this because I live with overexcitabilities. Read more »

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On Perfectionism

hodgmanIf you look in the dictionary under ‘perfectionist,’ you see Henry Selick correcting the definition of perfectionist in the dictionary. I mean, he is so meticulous.”

John Hodgman

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