DN: Hey, my name is Dave Ng.
BRC: I’m Benjamin Cohen. Dave, what’s your story? You’re Canadian right? So that’s this whole other thing, I take it.
DN: Yes, I am Canadian, living in Vancouver actually and based at the University of British Columbia. I was born in England though, which you can sometimes hear when I talk (especially when I say the words water and four). I guess that makes me a chimera of sorts, which kind of works because I’m essentially a Faculty member who knows a thing or two about molecular genetics. You’re at the University of Virginia right? Do folks call you Benjamin or Ben?
BRC: In fact they call me Ben, but they always write Benjamin. So I don’t know what we would do in the blog world. And it’s true, I’m at UVA. I’m calling myself an STS Environmental Historian. Have one of those Science and Technology Studies PhDs, and I’m a professor at UVA in the Science, Technology, and Society Department. Slight change in naming convention, but STS either way. My primary interest is environmental studies — history, literature, philosophy, ethics, etc. I’ll leave it there for the moment, knowing full well that such an explanation explains little. But not in the way that saying “molecular genetics” explains little. People might not know how to do it, but they know basically at least what molecular genetics *is*. The caliper measurement of genes in moles. But defining STS and also saying how to do it? We’ll let that linger for a bit.
DN: You know, it’s interesting, but I actually find that most folk think they know what molecular genetics is, or at the very least have a pretty ardent opinion about it. It’s not like talking about dinosaurs or the latest iPod. It’s kind of why science education is another one of my current hats.
DN: Of course. Never really got the hat thing myself. I gather that’s a historical connotation… I look terrible in hats.