Lately, I’ve been finding inspiration and motivation in Adam Savage’s now nine-month-old book Every Tool’s a Hammer: Lessons From a Lifetime of Making. You might recall him from his fourteen years as the younger seeming, more impulsive, co-host of the television show Mythbusters. In this book, in his Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/donttrythis) and on his newer web site Tested.com, Adam continues to encourage and provide an example to makers everywhere. There is a lot of his personal history of making, tools, spaces, motivations, etc. But much of his message? Don’t be afraid to dive in and make things! Don’t let any possible embarrassment hold you back. It’s normal to make mistakes, to have to test out different approaches before finding the one that works (for you).
These are great principles that the best scientists and researchers commonly have to overcome in their own work too. Frequently, some of the most impressive results have come from accidental experiments or mistakes in the lab. (One classic example is the work of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel on how cells respond to visual stimuli. Work that eventually won them a Nobel prize!)
So whether you are a scientist, or not, faculty, staff or student, you should feel inspired to create, to test, to try things out. If your ideas lend themselves to physical objects, you may want to find your way to the new location of the MakerSpace in Whittier Hall. Jacqui Tull and the student staff there will be happy to help you learn about the tools, and get started making! If your ideas lend themselves to video or images, the Beardsley Media Center, managed by Jeremy Polk will be where you can find support.