“Scientific American” Editor-in-Chief Presents New Wondrium Series

laura helmuth hosts episodes of "scientific american" material on concepts of brilliance

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Wondrium has partnered again with Scientific American for a new course. The two companies’ previous collaboration, Mind-Blowing Science, earned a National Capital Emmy Award®. Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth presents Understanding Your Inner Genius.

Laura Helmuth
Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth, of Scientific American magazine, received a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience before going into journalism. Photo by Wondrium

The first collaboration between Wondrium and Scientific American was the award-winning video series Mind-Blowing Science, which recently released a second season. Now, the two companies have partnered up again for the series Understanding Your Inner Genius, which explores the nature of genius and advises viewers on how to tap into their potential.

The presenter of this course is none other than Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth, who worked closely with Wondrium to educate viewers on subjects like nurturing young people’s genius and acquired savant syndrome. In an exclusive interview, Helmuth discussed her background and why the subject is close to her heart.

The Accessibility of Genius

According to Helmuth, our general concept of what it means to be a genius is changing, and the course addresses that notion.

“In this collection, we’re presenting the work of a whole bunch of experts who have looked at the history of genius and ‘How do you measure it?’ and ‘How do you foster it?’ and how you create it and inspire it,” she said. “One of the things we try to do at Scientific American is help experts explain their own work in their own words and really give their own personal perspective on how they came to dedicate their careers to a certain subject.”

Though Helmuth is the presenter, the material she’s presenting for Understanding Your Inner Genius is largely other experts’ work on the subject. However, her passion for explaining the concept of genius is personal. She noted that it’s been used as an exclusionary term, propagating a myth that progress happens through “lone geniuses” left to their devices. In reality, she said, we all have genius potential in different fields.

“I’m hoping that this overall message is pretty egalitarian—that anybody can develop the things that we think of as genius,” Helmuth said.

Capturing our individual genius resonates throughout the series, including an episode about reaching an “A-ha!” moment. Helmuth’s dedication to informative and educational journalism has fueled her work at Scientific American, as well as for her past assignments at The Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Slate.

A Background in Brain Studies

Besides her official position at Scientific American, Helmuth has another excellent reason for presenting Understanding Your Inner Genius.

“Before I went into journalism, I did go to grad school and I got a Ph.D., and it happens to have been in cognitive neuroscience—looking at the intersection of psychology and brain science and computer science and the theories of intelligence,” she said. “So my academic background is very relevant for this particular course.”

Helmuth’s background helped the material in the series seem like very familiar territory and informed her ability to focus on the best and most recent information. Additionally, the collaborative environment with Wondrium was a boon to the course material.

“I love working with Wondrium; they really make the stories come to life,” she said. “I love the whole tone of how they make stories that I think are entertaining to start with; they make them even more entertaining and engaging and kind of ‘zippy.’ It’s really fun to see how they pull out the most grabby quotes and really illustrate the concepts in a way that makes it even more fun to follow along and really deepen your understanding of what this material is all about.

“It’s all been just a delight.”

Understanding Your Inner Genius is now available to stream on Wondrium.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily