Turning Apples into Ears: Creativity in the Lab

Posted on September 2, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

When you think of a scientific laboratory, you probably don’t imagine it to be a place to play.

For creative scientists, though, playing in the laboratory is leading to remarkable breakthroughs that are opening up never before explored channels for possibility and discovery. Including, making ears out of apples.

Image: Scientists turning apples into ears, apples slices shaped like ears on a petri dish

Andrew Pelling’s lab takes a different approach to science. His work combines creativity, out of the box thinking, and most importantly, play with the scientific method.

His lab creates remarkable and diverse innovation by inviting unorthodox ideas to his scientific process. With the help of other scientists, artists, engineers, anthropologists, you name it, Pelling is pushing forward possibility by leaps and bounds.

Here he is on the TED stage discussing his lab’s work on a potential new way for us to grow body parts. Take a look…

Via: TED 1

So, how do you get like this, how do you become a creative scientist, a person who takes risks and goes out on a limb beyond traditional thought?

It’s actually not something that’s beyond any of us, but a skill honed by coming to terms with failure, and the beautiful things that come of it…

I adore Andrew Pelling’s work and the missions he is helping to foster! These are the creative ideas, and the mindsets that are going to push our world forward.

Looking at the remarkable work coming out of his lab, it’s hard not to think it’s still an amazing world.

We are only just scratching the surface when it comes to what is possible. We have taught and learned in silos of instruction with subjects rarely crossing over and informing each other, and now we are beginning to break down those walls.

What would happen if we changed the acronym from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, Mathematics)? How would our ideas of possibility change?

Sure, we need specialists in all fields, but there is so much to be learned if we encouraged those specialists to talk with each other and exchange ideas.

It’s hard not to be hopeful for a bright future when there is innovation like this happening around us!

Want to check out some other places where science and art have overlapped to create amazing things? Check out our article on Coral Morphologic, an artistic duo that is bringing together art, activism, and science to save the planet’s endangered coral reefs!


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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge