6 April 2020

LabOratory Podcast: Lifting the Veil on the Science Community

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Sam Sewell and Rene Francolini

What do you get when a scientist and a sound designer, both passionate about storytelling, communication, and the human experience, collaborate on a project together?

Meet Sam Sewell and Rene Francolini, the creators of LabOratory Podcast.

LabOratory Podcast is a radio program focused on lifting the veil on the science community through interviewing scientists of the previous generation to get their oral stories of life working in science and the changes that the scientific community has gone through over the years.  

Our story begins at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where Rene attended seminars in which retired scientists were invited to talk about their life and research. They discussed how they got into their field, the failed and successful experiments they’ve worked on, moments of serendipity, how technology has changed over the years, and where they hope to see their field progress towards in the future. Fascinated by their stories, she immediately wanted to document them.

That’s when she proposed this idea to Sam, who said; “Let’s make it happen!” 

Armed with the prior experience of using recorded interviews in her own work as well as a masters degree from CalArts, a school that highly encourages its students to create their own projects, Sam felt this endeavor was a no brainer. There wasn’t anything quite like it out in the world and now, more than ever, she believes it is important to share the knowledge of scientists with the general public. 

Sam Sewell (left) and Rene Francolini – hosts of LabOratory

Shortly after getting the podcast underway, the opportunity arose to submit an abstract to the Ocean Sciences 2020 Meeting, as they had a strong focus on storytelling and communication. The podcast was accepted and was presented in the “Imagining Ocean Science: Education and Outreach Using Visualization, Storytelling and the Arts” session. Sam and Rene also used the time to interview and connect with both scientists and artists passionate about communicating science in creative ways to further their efforts in producing a SciComm podcast. 

LabOratory Podcast’s goal is to shed light onto the human stories and journeys of scientists and foster a connection between scientists and the general public. Equipped with the knowledge gleaned at OSM we intend to progress and provide an oral reminder to all, that scientific research is just as human as we are and has numerous moments worth remembering. 

Stay tuned for a special OSM podcast featuring those who we’ve talked with at the conference!

-Sam Sewell and Rene Francolini are hosts of LabOratory podcast.