After hosting blogs for four years, it’s about time I started my own. So, welcome!
Let me begin with a bit about me and what I believe.
I believe that science has the unique potential to improve the state of the world. I think this potential is being hindered today by a lack of science literacy around the world and by the largely closed and restricted nature of the world’s scientific information. Two connected topics (ie. Science Literacy and Open Science) that I care passionately about and will delve deep into on this blog. I also believe that science can be more than a subject; it can be a lens through which to look at the world — a lens that is desperately needed in these times — and a way of life through which to change it.
I’m a scientist at heart. I learned about science when I was five or six from my backyard neighbor growing up in Montreal, Dr. Laszlo Kato. Dr. Kato was an eminent microbiologist who taught me about science with a piano and a gardening spade. His science was a way of life, not just what he did from 9 to 5. And ever since, science has meant the same for me.
I was a science fair nerd (I think probably many of us on SB were! Maybe we’ll share stories one day). I did my first science fair project on paper airplanes when I was 13, and my last on cell adhesion when I was 17. That last project, entitled The Molecular Zipper: Fusion of E-Cadherin cDNA to Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), landed me the Grand Prize in Biochemistry at the Intel International Science and Engineering Festival and a bench at the Biotechnology Research Institute of the National Research Council of Canada where I was a Guest Researcher working on the relationship between cadherins, cell surface receptors, and cancer cell metastasis. I skipped class to be in my lab and I loved everything about it — from the smell of agar in the morning to the thrill of finishing up an immunofluorescence experiment at 2am and sitting alone at the confocal… I do miss the lab — and have been trying to find a way to run gels again.
These days, I spend a lot of time talking with scientists, governments and NGOs about how to advance science towards the betterment of society — how we fix the research web, science education, and the public’s engagement with science. Last week, I had the chance to go home to Montreal to talk to 400 science teachers (including the one who inspired me to pursue science in high school, Yofi Sadaka) about science literacy and learn about the challenges to science education in Canada.
I’ve had the honor of being invited to speak at the National Academy of Science, the Royal Society, and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. I sit on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Economic Forum along with several people whom I highly respect including Susan Hockfield, Francis Collins, and Shirley Ann Jackson. Last year I got to work with some amazing designers and architects on MoMA’s first exhibition about science, and I’ve spent the last 100? weekends editing my first book, called Science is Culture, that will be published this fall by HarperCollins.
That’s enough about me. More than anything, I’m looking forward to personally joining the conversation on SB as a fellow blogger. I start each day reading ScienceBlogs, as I know so do many of you.
I want this blog to be a place where we can have a thoughtful conversation about the future of ScienceBlogs. I’ll offer some thoughts on what’s happened over the last few days (I’m reading through hundreds of comments) and ask for your feedback on ideas we’re incubating. We’ll obviously begin with a discussion about the place of industry in science and ‘advertorials’ on SB while my colleagues over on 3.14 will be hosting discussions about science journalism, including the issue of conflicts of interest. And we’ll go from there…
Welcome! And thanks for reading…
UPDATE: I figured out how to disable comment moderation with a little help from Mike and Bora. Like on other blogs around these parts, all comments will be published so long as they are not anonymous, ie. the commenter either includes their URL or affiliation.