Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

by Meenakshi Prabhune

Hello Science fans,

Hope you all are having a great summer. If you run out of ideas for things to do in the Bay area, here’s some help. By the way, in case you are finding it hard to keep in touch with science between vacations, I do have some innovative ideas. I am sure you have heard of the Skype a Scientist initiative wherein scientists talk to a classroom of students. Recently, I came across another idea along the same line that connects students with scientists. Both students and scientists can register on this platform called Letters to a Pre-Scientist and write letters to one other. It is almost like individual mentoring, but the goal is that scientists provide inspiration to the students rather than actual help in the work. Plus, I think letters have that personal touch that will help students realize that scientists are just like other humans without stereotypes.

Let’s get to the title of this Schmooze, because I am sure you have been wondering what that is all about. In the past one month, I have had the chance of interviewing two very cool science-related celebrities and I wanted to share my experience and their wisdom with you all.

The first one was a shark specialist, Dr. Toby Daly-Engel from the Florida Institute of Technology. She had her own show, Great White Shark Babies, during Shark Week, which is a weeklong marathon of shark related shows on Discovery every year. I was introduced to her when I was looking around for shark experts to interview for a Shark Week special article. What I loved during our interaction was that she spoke to me with such enthusiasm about her work, explaining in detail her research and why sharks are so amazing, despite her super hectic schedule. I felt like she deserves a shout out for being an inspiring woman researcher and science communicator. Read her interview where she spoke about lots of other great topics including representation of women in science and misconceptions about researchers.

The second celebrity that I interviewed was someone that has been an inspiration for a lot of science writers, including myself! Carl Zimmer is a New York Times columnist, well known for his science journalism over the last two decades. I reached out to Zimmer for an interview about his latest book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh as I was reviewing it (read review &interview here). The book itself is great, covering the vast topic of heredity in detail, bringing to our attention how little we understand about it. The interview overall was a very special experience and we discussed lots of great topics. An interesting point that especially struck true was when he mentioned how science writers bear the burden to ensure that ideas percolating from scientists to public are neither diluted too much nor too spiced up. It is indeed a great responsibility for writers to maintain this balance; even with the Schmooze we research every week to make sure that we put forth accurate science facts before our readers.

On that thought, here are my picks for the upcoming week.

  1. Permanently Temporary: Living with Rising Seas Wed 6:00 PM San Francisco
  2. Pairings: Smoked Foods @ After Dark Thu 6:00 PM San Francisco
  3. Shark Day Sat 10:00 AM Redwood City

Have a great week and stay curious!

Science writer and journalist


Upcoming Events:
Click to see the  next two weeks of events in your browser.

Comments are closed here.