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Stretching Our Minds Through Curiosity and Awe

Published October 11, 2019

Unpacking Wonder: From Curiosity to Comprehension


Experts discuss the science behind the our experiences of awe and wonder.
Speakers from left to right: Steve Paulson (Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge), Alex Filippenko, PhD (University of California, Berkeley), Michelle Shiota, PhD (Arizona State University), and Caspar Henderson.

Walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon, many people are struck by the incredible scale and complexity of the phenomenon before them. Other feels a similar sense of awe looking up into a star-filled night. Awe is a feeling that can capture imagination and inspire those who experience it. But what shifts when awe changes to a sense of wonder? What happens when we're not only moved by what we see, but also moved to ask questions about itwhat geological phenomena led to the creation of the Grand Canyon; what causes meteor showers to paint streaks of light across the sky?

In this video from the first event in our three-part series, "The Power of Wonder: Modern Marvels in the Age of Science," social psychologist Michelle Shiota, writer Caspar Henderson, and astrophysicist Alex Filippenko unpack the emerging science behind the emotions of awe and wonder, including their role in our ongoing quest for understanding and knowledge. The discussion was moderated by Steve Paulson.

Feeling a sense of wonder yourself? Join us for the rest of the events in this series by registering here.