World's Fair


continued from part I

BRC: I saw a guy wearing a fedora the other day. I think he was serious. Anyway, I’m a conflicted soul always, almost by design, I’m starting to think. But not in a bad way. Which means with the whole “hats” thing, I too am involved in an array of topics. My degree is interdisciplinary, so there’s that, first off. It already contains about 4 or 5 disciplines in it. I was also a chemical engineer for a time, working in polymer processing research. I have a degree in History too. Maybe not surprisingly then, given my various backgrounds, when I ditched corporate dismality (I just made that word up, and Word’s squiggle-red nix on the spell check is only confirming it for me) to head to grad school, I did a whole masters thesis on the science-humanities two cultures issues that came up with C.P. Snow in the late 1950s, comparing that whole debate to another pseudo-debate that popped up in the ’90s, called the Science Wars. All of this is to say, I’m very fascinated by the rise of science and engineering education – technical education, maybe – but also the more basic matter of ways of knowing the world. And all of that is to say that I’m far more interested in knowing where molecular genetics came from and why we do it than necessarily how it operates on a daily basis. As if it’s an it.

DN: That’s cool. Because, I think I would on the other end of the spectrum. Very much brought up in the physical sciences, still currently in the cutting edge side of things, in a field that is also very much cutting from a variety of angles. And (get this), I happen to be in a somewhat unique academic position where I can explore elements that are less “scientific” in nature, dabble in things that are otherwise scary and surreal to me like history, philosophy, literature, all in an effort to become a better science communicator. Ben, it’s almost like we’re Yin and Yang, Donnie and Marie…

BRC: Billy and Budd…tooth and nail…shock and awe…

DN: … or how’s about Jake and Elwood? (maybe, we should get Fedoras after all). You know, we do both dabble in the science writing game.

(to be continued)