May 18, 2016

What was your #sparkofscience? Nautilus magazine wants to know

Posted by Laura Guertin


Nautilus is a unique publication, a science magazine that delivers big-picture science by reporting on a single monthly topic from multiple perspectives – science, culture, and philosophy. Each Thursday, a new piece on that month’s topic is posted online. I encourage everyone to take some time to explore their stories relating to astronomy, climate, Earth science, oceanography, and more.

Nautilus has launched an initiative to “go back to the beginning, where it all started, and ask: what sparked your interest in science?” Nautilus is really trying to get as great a number of stories as they can, so why not contribute yours today? Contributions can be from a few short sentences sent via email or in a tweet (with hashtag #sparkofscience) to an image or a video or sound clip.



There is an excellent collection online already. One of the early videos I saw was the story of Kirk Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, where he describes a childhood adventure that sparked his interest in science.

Spark of Science from Nautilus on Vimeo.


I feel that this is an excellent project, ideal not only for communicating science but for communicating where our interests as scientists began. It is important for students, especially K-12, to hear these stories and identify their own “sparks.”

Can you identify your spark of science? I had to think about this, as no one had ever asked me this question before! But the answer came to me very quickly – I give credit to those annual family vacations on the Maine coast for igniting my interest in oceanography. I even created my own video and submitted it to Nautilus – you can check it out here! One of my former students, Abbey Dufoe of Climate Central, provided her spark with text and a photo from her childhood.

So are you ready to submit your spark? Check out the collection online (, and then submit your own!