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9 May 2019

Earth’s Past in Poetry

How do we regard the vast planetary time scales that span the Earth Sciences?  How do we regard a figure showing changes in Earth’s temperature since the age of dinosaurs, as spring rains pelt against the window, making rivulets that will evaporate before we leave the office, before we finish that email, and check our analysis, and pay that bill, and tweet that article, and lead that meeting, and, and, and…all in the next three hours. The Paleocene was 65 million years ago. The average human lifespan is just 79 years. 

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22 April 2019

Connecting Kids to Real World Science through Children’s Books

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.

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16 April 2019

Stare into the Lens Until You Feel Comfortable

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.

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1 April 2019

Embedding science within the art world

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.

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11 March 2019

Is Chasing Ice an effective message on climate change?

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.”

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What does climate sound and look like?

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.

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4 March 2019

So, you wanna start a science blog?

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.

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25 February 2019

Laughing with Science: SciComm with a dose of Improv Comedy

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.”

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18 February 2019

Jewelry…for science!

Now, when science is increasingly under attack, I’ve been focusing my efforts on activism in the best way I know how… through making art.

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4 February 2019

Conveying Science through Art: An Alternative Way of Communicating about Earth Observation research

In the Americas, We Use Satellites to Sow Dreams in the Soil is a three-part poem that was presented at the 2018 fall session of American Geophysical Union (AGU). The poem was an alternative – perhaps unconventional – way of presenting about three Earth Observation (EO) initiatives that I and colleagues at NASA’s SERVIR Science Coordination Office and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are involved with.

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