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ASU Center for Science and the Imagination announces Imaginary College

Headshots for members of the Imaginary College: Paolo Bacigalupi, Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, Kathryn Cramer, Donald Marinelli, and Bruce Sterling.

Members of the Center for Science and the Imagination’s Imaginary College include (clockwise from top left) Paolo Bacigalupi, Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, Kathryn Cramer, Donald Marinelli and Bruce Sterling.

January 26, 2017

It seems like our most pressing global challenges are growing ever more complex and interconnected, from climate change and migrant crises to childhood poverty and economic inequality.

Meeting these increasingly urgent challenges requires more than just technical know-how — it requires imagination: the capacity to envision possible futures, to see what is invisible and empathize with people who are unlike us. Before we can explore, or create, or innovate, we have to imagine what might be possible.

In short, we need imagination now more than ever. We need to understand what makes people and groups imaginative, how to foster and grow people’s capacity to imagine, and how to harness imagination, applying it to real-world problems. In this spirit, the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University is proud to announce the members of its Imaginary College: a group of outstanding creative thinkers, researchers and practitioners across a panoply of fields who are already out there advancing the center’s mission of fresh, creative and ambitious thinking about the future.

“The Imaginary College is filled with unique thinkers and practitioners whose work shows us the power of imagination to create positive change,” said Ed Finn, founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination. “These visionaries help us think through how science, technology, art and storytelling might shape our collective imagination about global challenges and the future.”

The members of the Imaginary College are split into two categories: philosophers who epitomize imaginative thinking and provide inspiration for the center’s work, and Fellows who work with the center to design and implement imaginative projects.

  • Margaret Atwood: poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist and environmental activist; author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the MaddAddam trilogy
  • Paolo Bacigalupi: science fiction and fantasy writer, author of “The Windup Girl,” “Ship Breaker” and “The Water Knife”
  • Kathryn Cramer, science fiction writer, editor and critic; co-founder of “The New York Review of Science Fiction” and co-editor of the Year’s Best SF series
  • Donald Marinelli: co-founder of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University; director of innovation at 535media/Inven Global
  • Neal Stephenson: science fiction and historical fiction author; chief futurist for the VR company Magic Leap; founder of ASU’s Project Hieroglyph
  • Bruce Sterling: science fiction author; editor of “Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology”; author of “Schismatrix”and “Islands in the Net”
  • Michael G. Bennett: legal scholar; associate research professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Center for Science and the Imagination, and Risk Innovation Lab, ASU
  • Brenda Cooper: science fiction and fantasy author and editor; chief technology officer for the city of Kirkland, Washington
  • Megan Halpern: assistant professor, History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science program, Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University
  • Dehlia Hannah: curator and visiting assistant professor of art-science collaboration, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, ASU
  • Jonathon Keats: conceptual artist and experimental philosopher; author of “You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future”
  • Manjana Milkoreit: assistant professor of political science, Purdue University; co-founder of ASU’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative
  • Corey Pressman: vice president of adaptive strategies at Think Fiction; creative technologist and anthropologist
  • Hannah Star Rogers: art-science collaboration expert and poet; writing program instructor at Columbia University
  • Erin Walker: assistant professor, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, ASU; educational technologist
  • Phil Weaver-Stoesz: creative director, Catalyst Collective; MFA candidate in Theatre Director, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, ASU
  • G. Pascal Zachary: professor of practice, School for the Future of Innovation in Society; author of “Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century”

To learn more about the Imaginary College and to read full bios of its members, visit

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