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22 April 2019
Many science education projects for elementary school age kids start with the assumption that, in order to get kids interested in the science, there needs to be a character like “Barbara Bacteria” or “Larry the Lava Flow” to get their attention. In my over twenty years of experience as a science educator and children’s author, I feel confident in saying that this is not the case.
16 April 2019
As a classical pianist and composer, my natural talent was present but practice was essential. You need one or the other to be good, and both to be exceptional. All the hours each day I spent writing and experimenting with musical devices, or exercising a variety of quirky, intricate techniques on the piano, were crucial to forming solid skills and artistry. Practice makes perfect, and it also provides confidence, endurance, and mastery for when the stage is set.
1 April 2019
Art and science are often seen as complete opposites: art is subjective, while science aims to discover objective facts about nature. But more and more, we are realising that there are commonalities between the two and art-science collaborations have become more common. From the scientists’ perspective, such efforts can potentially reach audiences outside of the scientific echo chamber, however, it’s not always clear whether they always successfully do this in practice.
27 March 2019
As a grad student, I knew that I wanted to do communication and outreach work outside of academia. Unfortunately, I had no idea where to start. I had created a research plan from scratch, executed multiple experiments, and was in the process of writing my thesis; however, the idea of “outreach” scared the crap out of me. At least with that other stuff there was a road map from my adviser, colleagues, and committee members. But with outreach, I had no map, no examples, no mentor.
18 March 2019
Working as a scientist turned communicator is, I believe, one of the toughest jobs. Working with the non-experts specially without any scientific background knowledge is not easy at all. And specially when those non-experts are just making ends meet.
11 March 2019
In 2005 and 2006, photographer James Balog set out on expeditions to document the recession of the Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland. In many ways, these expeditions changed his life. In 2007, Balog and companions founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), an organization devoted to documenting the effects of climate change on glaciers through time-lapse photography. Over 10 years later, the EIS “…provides scientists with basic and vitally important information on the mechanics of glacial melting and educates the public with firsthand evidence of how rapidly the Earth’s climate is changing.”
We’ve developed a new exhibit, called Sounding Climate, that uses sound and images to represent modeled temperature, precipitation, sea ice and carbon dioxide data. The exhibit, installed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, helps public visitors explore data on an interactive touchscreen to understand anthropogenic climate change and natural variability.
4 March 2019
I’m not the type of person who’s always thought that I’ve had something to say (at least anything that people would listen to). Back in my grad school days, while I saw the value in science outreach, the “communication” part of that was a little tricky for me. “Who cares what I have to say?” Turns out, some people did.
25 February 2019
Moments before our first show, we were all huddled back stage, confidently saying that we had each other’s back. But in the back of my head, that confidence eluded me. All I was thinking was “Geez, I hope this idea works.”