During my week of curation (February 9th-16th), I was fortunate to engage the community around @WeTheHumanities in a broad ranging conversation about science communication. We talked about human brain imaging, the depiction of science in comic books, my experience as a scientist working in a library, and talking science with non-expert audiences. Near the end of the week, I inquired about the community’s knowledge of what scientists spend their days doing. At the time, I had an inkling of doing a podcast about the secret lives of scientists- who they are and what they spend their days doing. In the months since, this idea has germinated into Bold Signals, a podcast where I talk to anyone who produces, consumes, or applies science.
Bold Signals reflects my interest in exploring the human side of science. When I interview scientists for the podcast, my only rule is that we don’t delve too deeply into research-related technical minutiae. Instead of discussing the results of scientific studies, we discuss the lived experience of working in science. In the episodes I’ve recorded so far, I’ve talked to scientists about topics including teacher training (or the lack thereof) in higher education, the changing perceptions of science, dealing with the anxieties of lab work, and leaving the lab to pursue other ventures. In future episodes, I hope to talk not just to students, postdocs, and professors, but also to lab administrators, research assistants, staff scientists, and people involved in science publishing- all with the hope of demystifying the structure and process of science.
In its current form, Bold Signals is intended not just to introduce non-scientists to the human side of science but, more generally, to help bridge the gap between between the two groups. The stereotypical image of scientists as lone geniuses toiling away with unkempt hair and wrinkled lab coats is, at least in my experience, often counterbalanced by an equally stereotypical notion that non-scientists harbor ambivalent, ignorant, or outright hostile feelings towards science. Both of these stereotypes are, of course, ridiculous. And in an effort to chip away at the latter, I’ve decided that Bold Signals will also include interviews with people with little to no science training or lab experience, just a significant interest in science. In these episodes, I hope to discuss topics including the the role of science in everyday life, the perception of science in popular culture, and how non-scientists perceive structure and process of science.
From students, teachers, and professors of science, to technicians, administrators, and research assistants, to science researchers, communicators, and educators, to people who produce, consume, or apply science outside the laboratory- Bold Signals features interviews with the people involved in this wonderful, messy, awe-inspiring thing we call science.
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