Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

How Engineering Helped Hitchcock Scare the Pants off of You

Did you know Alfred Hitchcock was a formally trained engineer? Guru Madhavan could see it in his movies.

Guru Madhavan: I only very recently got into Mr. [Alfred] Hitchcock’s films and I was — I felt a special affinity to his creations and the more I learned about him, I realized that he had a background in engineering and was a formally trained engineer.

A background in engineering opens up an enormous number of possibilities. It gives you what I call a platform mindset. It is not about solving one thing, but it is about creating a network of opportunities, what we call a solution space because you’re just not after one thing, but one thing could lead to another and there’s so many spillover possibilities that could be achieved through engineering.

One of the approaches that engineers really capitalize on is what I call modular systems thinking. The ability to break down a system into its composite modules and understand those modules at the level of how they are linked to one another in logic, in function, in time and space, and so forth. And rebuilding it back together because that exercise enables you to oscillate, understand what the strong links are and what the weak links are within the system.

Alfred Hitchcock was, I think, a pioneer in understanding and applying this sort of thinking, the deconstruction and reconstruction part of it in his creations. And I think the best example for that is the movie called Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart. He really exploited the potential of montage technique where you break down things into pieces and then piece them together in different ways so that you have the ultimate goal. In this case motion picture continuity and narrative progression. So I think this montage and the modular systems thinking go very well and demonstrate how Mr. Hitchcock was able to capitalize on these foundational principles of engineering design to achieve something potentially others couldn’t.

Did you know Alfred Hitchcock was a formally trained engineer? Biomedical engineer Guru Madhavan could see evidence of this in Hitchcock's movies. An engineering background can not only inform a director's shooting decisions, but also equips him or her with the necessary modular system kind of thinking to be good at assembling a good film.

Live today! | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How often do vaccine trials hit paydirt?

Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.

Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.

Keep reading Show less

Consumer advocacy groups are mostly funded by Big Pharma, according to new research

An article in Journal of Bioethical Inquiry raises questions about the goal of these advocacy groups.

Image by Jukka Niittymaa / Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Two-thirds of American consumer advocacy groups are funded by pharmaceutical companies.
  • The authors of an article in Journal of Bioethical Inquiry say this compromises their advocacy.
  • Groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness act more like lobbyists than patient advocates.

Keep reading Show less

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
Coronavirus
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Women who go to church have more kids—and more help

Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.

Pixabay
Culture & Religion
  • Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
  • A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
  • Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast