Spring Semester 2013

Winter break has come to a close, and spring semester is just beginning. Since we are the first cohort in UAkron’s Biomimicry PhD, we are working with our professors Peter Niewiarowski (evolutionary biologist), Doug Paige (designer) and Matthew Kolodziej (studio artist), to shape our program curriculum. By trial and error, we’re learning which approaches work and which don’t.  We refine the most effective approaches for implementation in future years.  The responsibility is great, and the path can be trying at times,  but it’s really rewarding to play such a major role in this program’s development.  Here’s what we’ve come up with for a few of our second semester classes:

Biomimicry Theory:
During this class we will perform in depth evaluations of some of Life’s Principles. Where do they come from? What do they really mean? Do interpretations vary depending on academic training, professional experience, and cultural background? Can we come up with our own examples of life’s principles at work in the natural and built environment? These questions will lead to fruitful conversations among a group of people with very different backgrounds.  We aim to build our understanding of existing tools available to biomimicry practitioners, and test their efficacy.  Perhaps we’ll find that the language of Life’s Principles or the manner in which they’re typically explained could be improved.  Maybe the principles could be organized in a way that increases audience accessibility and appropriates use of this design tool.  The work we do in this class will inevitable overlap with our second class…

Biomimicry Design:
How does one apply Biomimicry Thinking to a design project? For this challenge we will work with Industrial Design students at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) to develop better protection against sports or occupational head injury. Stay tuned to see how we progress in solving this biomimicry design challenge over the course of this semester!

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