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Monday, November 16, 2009

Who's in my "little black book" of scientists I love? And, more gummi bear science!

When Bora Zivkovic, Online Community Manager for the open access journal PLoS ONE, invited me to consider presenting or moderating at the upcoming Science Online 2010 conference, I was a bit stumped at what I could possibly present to a large group of other science communicators.

Options I considered:

1) How to make a video book review. Hmm, not that hard, at least not how I do it-- 1) think about what I loved about the book, 2) turn on the camera 3) smile and chat away.--so nothing to share in that regard, really.

2) Making science fun for the next generation (or other innocent bystanders) A lot of people do this well and I don't exactly have a formula. I think I have a whimsical and meaningful approach to presenting science. My videos are essentially me speaking from my years of science experience, remembering what I really love about it and sharing it! I'm not sure I can teach that directly, as it seems to come straight from who I am deep within as a scientist and educator.

On that note, here is my latest gummi bear science video. In my mind my audience members were numerous high school and college students who might whine about keeping those lab notbeooks and taking multiple measurements. Indeed, it can be a drag, but these things are ESSENTIAL!

No gummis were harmed in the making of this video, although they might have been bored waiting for their turn!

At a loss, I pondered, "Could I do one of those Ignite Talks?" Sure, 5 minutes with my powerpoint slides advancing automatically every 15 seconds, why not? But on what topic?

Then I thought, I have such a fascination and affection for scientists, almost to a distraction, I could talk about them! But how to make it interesting?

Imagine a sophisticated, intelligent and alluring woman. She's a perfect lady, graceful and worldly, highly conversant in all topics of intellectual interest, yet amazingly feminine and approachable. She's dressed for a romantic evening out on the town in something elegant and possibly slightly inviting. Her hair and make-up are achingly, perfectly fabulous. She probably smells great, too.

And if all of the imagined characteristics of this woman weren't incredible enough, consider that this woman could tap into time travel in order to work alongside and converse with scientists from the past and discover intimate, little known details about them.  Who would be in her "little black book"?

So that's where I am at. I will pick a few from "my" book, highlighting my "treasured ones": their discoveries and personality traits and a scientific truth that each one embodies. (It's ok if your experiment does not find what you were looking for initially!). And, no cowards, cads, liars, rascals or egomaniacs need apply! (well, maybe a little rascally will be ok).

OK, let's raise the bar on this presentation a little. I am very privileged (honored, overjoyed, etc.) to have the assistance of Matthew Cokeley with my powerpoint graphics. He's the art director for Popular Science magazine and for Theo Gray's books (Mad Science and The Elements) as well as game show contestant (choose Melissa vs. Matthew). Matt proclaims of himself "I make science sexy!" And since I've on occasion been accused of the very same, audience members could well be in for one very hot "Ignite" talk! That much passion?! Any more than five minutes would be too much to handle!

How does one get to see this? Unfortunately (for you) the conference is all full. However, I believe there will be video, which I will post. Now you need to just wait two months.

I'll discuss my other demonstration for SciOnline 2010 later, after I find myself a good video editor (which may be me after all is said and done).I'd like to leave you now with a very cool young lady, Caroline Moore, who is the youngest person ever (at age 14) to discover a supernova. I love that she is articulate, smart, and delightful and I'm glad that she is pursuing many different options for her future!

Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

Mon, November 16, 2009 | link 

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