How life began is arguably the most intriguing question of our time. Determining the chemistry required for the de novo appearance of life is also an important scientific problem, as its solution will have a major impact on chemistry, other scientific fields and the human desire to know if life is possible in other places of the universe. The scientific objective of the Center for Chemical Evolution is to demonstrate that small molecules within a model inventory of prebiotic chemistry can self-assemble into polymers that resemble RNA and proteins. The members of this Center hold the common belief that achieving a “one pot” self-assembly of life-like polymers is possible and an attainable scientific goal. Out of Hand Theater is an artist-in-residence at the Center, and together, they developed Group Intelligence.
The Yerkes National Primate Research Center conducts essential basic science and translational research to advance scientific understanding and to improve the health and well-being of humans and nonhuman primates. Out of Hand Theater collaborated with Yerkes on Hominid.
Frans de Waal, PhD, is the Charles Howard Candler professor of Psychology here at Emory and the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He is also the author of numerous popular books including Our Inner Ape and Chimpanzee Politics, which Hominid, a collaboration with Out of Hand Theater, is based on. His current research includes food-sharing, social reciprocity, and conflict-resolution in primates as well as the origins of morality and justice in human society. He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he was named one of Time Magazine 100 World’s Most Influential People Today.
Dr. Grant is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and co-directs a clinic for Impulse Control Disorders at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Dr. Grant completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, a master’s degree at the University of Chicago, a law degree from Cornell University, a medical degree from Brown University, and a masters degree in public health from Harvard University. Dr. Grant is a board-certified psychiatrist. Dr. Grant has written over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the phenomenology and pharmacological management of impulse control disorders, particularly pathological gambling, kleptomania, and grooming disorders. He is the author of Stop Me Because I Can’t Stop Myself, a book on impulse control disorders published by McGraw-Hill (2002) (co-authored with Dr. Suck Won Kim), and he is collaborating with Out of Hand Theater on a play by the same title. He is also co-editor (along with Marc Potenza) of two books published by the American Psychiatric Association Pathological Gambling: A Clinical Guide to Treatment(2004) and A Textbook of Men’s Mental Health (in press).
Martha Grover an Associate Professor and Duncan A. Mellichamp Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at The Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research activities in process systems engineering focus on understanding macromolecular organization and the emergence of biological function. She collaborated with Out of Hand Theater on Group Intelligence.
The David G. Lynn Group at Emory University works to understand the structures and forces that enable supramolecular self-assembly, how chemical information can be stored and translated into new molecular entities, and how the forces of evolution can be harnessed in new structures with new function. Such knowledge offers tremendous promise for discoveries in fields as diverse as drug design and genome engineering, pathogenesis and genome evolution, functional nanoscale materials and the origins of living systems. A few specific projects and the people involved are listed above in the order of increasing scale. Dr. Lynn has collaborated with Out of Hand Theater on Group Intelligence and Without Which Nothing.
Gregg Orloff is a professor of Biology at Emory University. His interests outside of the classroom include cancer education using his website, CancerQuest (www.cancerquest.org). Dr. Orloff collaborated with Out of Hand Theater on a series of cancer prevention public service announcements.