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8 October 2021

#AntarcticLog: Kids are our (climate) future

When I think about what the world’s kids have been through for the last year and a half — since the start of the pandemic — I want to cry. And yet look at them — out stumping for climate change action, using their artwork to voice their concerns, wishes, and — as it right for the next generation — demands. 

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4 October 2021

Not-so-plain written: Can we infuse science writing with creative literacy?

Most information transmission among scientists comes in the form of written publications, and a science paper’s clout is too often granted through its tenacious use of a lexicon only understood by other experts in the field. Put this paper in front of a less-than-expert (me), and I’m left picking through sentences word by word trying my darndest to glean some sort of meaning out of it all. It’s not only exhausting, but frankly, it’s pretty boring.

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1 October 2021

#AntarcticLog: Visualizing climate change

At the Bigelow Laboratory in East Boothbay, Maine, the walls are made of glass. It facilitates communication, not just because it’s transparent, but because it gives the scientists something to draw on. Did you realize that scientists are dedicated doodlers? They embrace visual imagery to convey their processes and their findings. Case in point: Stephanie Peart’s demonstration of cloud formation, in this #AntarcticLog comic: 

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24 September 2021

#AntarcticLog: Edible (kind of) spiders

If you were going to make an Antarctic cake, what would you put on it? Rose McAdoo — steward at McMurdo station, polar explorer, and baker extraordinaire — has baked cakes to display scientists’ data, taught prison inmates to decorate cakes, and created this one, complete with sea spider. 

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17 September 2021

#AntarcticLog: The importance of stories

By now I shouldn’t be surprised — just grateful — at the way certain stories have broad appeal.  I’m beginning to learn to trust myself — that stories and images that appeal to me will affect others too. Maybe not the same way as they affect me, but in the way of individual people wherever they are. For example, this one, featuring Mother Earth. 

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10 September 2021

#AntarcticLog: Caring for one ocean

The idea of the seven seas is a romantic notion; every ocean on Earth is one ocean. What happens in one part of the ocean system — say the melting of glacial ice into the Southern Ocean — impacts the rest. Likewise, the global warming causing glaciers to melt comes from an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and that makes the ocean warmer — and more acidic. 

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8 September 2021

Blogging for Science Unsealed

For six years, I participated in one of the most impactful science communication endeavors I’ll ever embark on: I ran Science Unsealed, the blog from the Illinois Science Council. The ISC aims to give folks an opportunity to explore their scientific curiosity, and the blog was my opportunity to further their mission. Besides educating the public, running Science Unsealed did something extra for me: it helped me discover my passion for science writing.

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3 September 2021

#AntarcticLog: Melting glaciers

The most vulnerable part of the Antarctic Ice is the Thwaites Glacier, part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Could it melt? Yes — and it’s likely that it has, under different conditions many years in the past.

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25 August 2021

#AGURocks: BumbleBee Blues

The natural world abounds with beauty and science reveals deeper patterns that provoke new questions. Science is not only a wellspring of inspiration for musicians but the tools and data of the scientific process can be used to create music as well. For example, I have used mathematical algorithms that mimic the behavior of flocking birds, predator/prey cycles and the human cardiovascular system to create some of my music compositions.

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24 August 2021

#AntarcticLog: Science Education

Unlike many people in the sciences, I didn’t have much formal education myself. Much of what I’ve learned, I’ve learned on my feet, by wandering around behind scientists, watching and asking questions. All the more reason that the moment I first walked into the science classroom at my middle school looms large in my mind. 

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