Autumnal Equinox Roundup 2012

Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, marking the first push down the slippery slope into a cold, dark winter. As the days get noticeably shorter in Edmonton, I wanted to take a minute to look back on a busy but fun Boundary Vision summer. While I haven’t been that active here, the spirit of blog has been a part of several summer projects. A big highlight for me has been that chance to go a lot further in exploring connections between science and popular music.

Here at Boundary Vision, a virtuoso of funk bassist, Victor Wooten, got me thinking about some new metaphors for science education.

Over at the Finch & Pea, my DJ duties gave me some great opportunities. I got to meet and chat with Halifax-based folk singer-songwriter Nick Everett about how becoming a musician might actually be a lot like learning science in Nick Everett and the Zone of Proximal Development.

At a great new summer festival in Edmonton, Interstellar Rodeo, I saw the most energetic afternoon set I’ve ever seen from Australian band Wagons and wondered how science teachers might take a lesson from their hard-working lead singer: Could Aussie band Wagons help new science teachers?

Certainly, though, the highlight was a lovely and deep conversation I had with Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland of the duo Whitehorse. What started out as a quick chat about one of their tracks for a Song of Week, turned into something much richer when I found out how passionate they are about science. The result of that conversation was an article published on the Scientific American Guest Blog this week: There’s another passion behind the music of Whitehorse: The sound of scientific thinking.

There is definitely more to come in this direction as some interesting collaborations are coming together. I hope to have more to say about that soon!
Other summer highlights included a rare chance to use some of my engineering background in an interview with science writer Scott Huler about his infrastructure book On the Grid: “A love letter to engineers and taxes”: Interviewing Scott Huler & Tim DeChant about all things infrastructure. (My husband and in-laws were also incredibly sweet in taking time to help me get just the right photo of GPS-planted potato fields for the post. Highway stops and walks through the ditch were no obstacle!)
And it’s hard to call this level of frustration a highlight, but interesting and helpful discussions have come out of following and writing about the lack of coverage of scientific issues in Canada (Where are the Canadian media in analyzing the Death of Evidence protest). I’m very excited to be moderating a session at ScienceOnline 2013 in January with Canadian science journalist Colin Schultz on science communication in places without a well-developed science media system.
As the frost starts to settle in, I’ll be warmed by remembering another terrific summer of writing about boundary spaces between science and culture.
(Actually, I love to ski so I’m probably over-playing the dread of winter a bit too much, but it really does get pretty dark here.)


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