Consider the platypus. It’s a venomous mammal that lays eggs. It has a duck bill, a beaver tail, and otter feet. The platypus is an outlier: the sole living member of its genus. When the first specimen was sent to scientists, they thought it was a hoax.
The platypus is the Captain Planet of the animal kingdom: a force that combines these various heroic traits into something even more universe-defying than the sum of its parts. For all these reasons, it’s the animal we feel best embodies our new series of innovation awards.
The Platties honor ideas that are interdisciplinary: a bit duck, a bit beaver, a bit otter. These are the new ideas and innovations that made us do a double take. At first, we wondered whether they could be real. And when they proved to be, it wasn’t just the little idea, but the little idea’s enormous potential that delighted us.
This year, we honor innovations that use sound, twisting it in unexpected ways. The academics and artists you’ll meet below are changing how we relate to one another, to other species, to our environment, to our own bodies, and to our dinner. They’re working in the borderlands where traditional disciplines collide and where new disciplines are born.
Truman was classified as a “lonely child,” and before he even entered formal schooling, he used that loneliness (along with his obvious smarts) to teach himself how to read and write. By 11, he was already writing his first short stories.