My panel on “Communicating Science in the 21st Century” was last night at the Quantum to Cosmos Festival at the Perimeter Institute. I haven’t watched the video yet– Canadian telecommunications technology hates me, and I’m lucky to get a wireless connection to stay up for more than ten minutes– but if the video feeds I’ve seen from other talks are an indication, it should be really good.
The panel wound up being primarily about journalism, which is understable given that the other four participants are all very distinguished journalists. I did my best to uphold the honor of the New Media and practicing scientists; somebody else will have to judge whether I succeeded. I did my best to drop names of really good science blogs and bloggers, too, though I’m sure I inadvertently slighted somebody. Sorry if I did, but I was making it up as I went.
The hardest part for me was remebering to speak toward the audience and the cameras, rather than addressing my comments to the person on the panel who spoke last. I think I got better about that toward the end, but I’m not sure. Remembering not to touch my face was a little easier. The headset mike was a little uncomfortable, being made for somebody smaller than me, and a couple of times I got signalled to bend it away from my face. I hope I didn’t make life too difficult for the production crew.
All in all, it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I’d be a couple of hours earlier. Talking to Kathryn O’Hara and Veronique Morin beforehand really helpd settle my mind, and gave me something concrete to be thinking about headed into the discussion. It was only afterwards that I realized I never plugged the book at all.
The video will be used by TV Ontario at some point in the future for their “Big Ideas” program. I also recorded a few answers for the “Ask a Scientist” program they’ve been running at the festival– they had a video booth set up at the Physica Fantastica exhibit where kids could record themselves asking questions, and the TVO producers would find scientists at the festival to record answers. I did three, on 2012, the LHC, and what stars are; the clips will be posted on the TVO website within the next few weeks.
And now, it’s time to pack my stuff up, and get ready to head back to Niskayuna.