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  • Aline Holzwarth

Goodbye, Center for Advanced Hindsight


For me, it’s the end of an era. After 13 years at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, I’m moving on.


And what an era it’s been. Four different offices in Durham, hundreds of research projects, and relationships I’ll hang on to for life.


This is something of an ode to the place that has defined the greater part of my career thus far. But it’s not about my work (for that, there’s always my website). It’s about the people, the culture, and the fun.


My memories of the Center for Advanced Hindsight include countless art shows, ping pong tournaments, wine and whiskey tastings, hanging chairs, the little black dress challenge, fun times in the Danvan, Segways of all types, sipping chocolate, the Danbot, bug eating (on purpose, for Science), sex toy parties (also for Science), and the wafting, lingering smells of orange chicken (again, for Science).


I’m often asked what it’s like to work with Dan Ariely. And with my many years of experience and accumulated wisdom, I can say with confidence: If you want to stay on Dan's good side, whatever you do just don’t burn popcorn in the office.


Now let the reminiscing begin...


There was that time we saturated ourselves in color while running. And the happiest moment of all time when the color packet was caught.


That time we learned the thriller dance and performed it together, just because.

We made a satirical infomercial for our proprietary cureall medication.

And a ridiculous ad for our Pocket Ariely app.

We took great care of the lab shark, which stalked our halls and only attacked on occasion.

Amit gave advice to strangers who dared approach his booth, I apparently worked with a random penguin that I don't remember (sorry, penguin!), and we played in the street (don't ask me why..)

We took wonderful, wonderful ski trips and beach trips and traveled the world.

Tried on a Halloween costume or two.

Took a trip to the tiger sanctuary (not limited to tigers).

Sabered champagne.

Carried and tossed eggs, sometimes with more success than others.

Tested our strength on the trampoline, obstacle course, foam pits and bouncy dodgeball.

Had miscellaneous fun around the office.

Relaxed in the Thinking and Dreaming Room.

Explored the NC state fair with the ResearchMobile.

Made a Startup Lab academic incubator to help companies use behavioral science.

Threw axes and conquered the escape room with Pattern Health.

And last but not least, we pranked each other, again and again. My most and least favorite: the infamous April Fool's Day prank during our first filming of "office hours" for our class A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior on coursera. Still makes me cringe to think about it.



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