Assistant Consulting Professor
Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murderers and felony drunken drivers. His years of clinical practice and thousands of detailed clinical reviews affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle, and his later evaluation of highly creative individuals revealed the centrality of playfulness to their success and well-being.
His recent years of independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution of human and animal play have helped to focus a central commitment bringing the promises and stories of play into general cultural consciousness and to the establishment of the National Institute For Play. The Mission of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. The Institute is grounded in evidentiary science, demonstrating that “Play + Science = Transformation.” As president and founder of the NIFP, he coordinates play based research generated by its distinguished Science Advisors, oversees the research and applied projects in which it is now involved, as well as establishing a broadening network of play related activities compatible with the Institute’s vision and mission. Dr. Brown was the instigator and Executive Producer of the Institute’s three-part PBS series, “The Promise of Play.” His popular book, PLAY, How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul (2009) has been translated into seven languages.
In addition to the impact of his scientific and popular writings, and the many popular media citations of his outreach, he speaks regularly to a wide variety of audiences, and consults with major corporations and academic institutions, co-teaching “From Play to Innovation” at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner School of Design. These activities have resulted in his being identified as the world’s foremost “practical champion of the knowledge of play.”