World's Fair

Well, I’m on vacation as of today and thought now was as good a time as any to show off my primary online love affair. That is, the Science Creative Quarterly of which I am the editor. For the next week or so, I’ve chosen a piece on the SCQ that I think fits well with a particular blog on the scienceblog consortium. Overall, that means 43 pieces for 43 different blogs presented over the next seven days. Look out for the duck.

In the meantime, here is a general description of the Science Creative Quarterly.

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- A WORTHY CAUSE INDEED -

Dear Reader,

On most mornings, somewhere in the landscape of children’s television, you can hear Taj Mahal singing and Joan Cusack narrating – not about sharing, or taking turns, or telling the truth, or even potty training for that matter, but actually on (of all things) science. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, I’m referring to a program called “Peep and the Big Wide World,” a quaint animated offering which follows the adventures of Peep, Quack, and Chirp (a chick, a duck, and a robin), as they explore and discover all the things that “go” in their little world.

I know about this show because I happen to be a scientist with a vested interest in acts of science education. And I also know about this show because I happen to have two young children, who find it both amusing and engaging enough to sit still for its entirety.

Of course, my children don’t give a rat’s ass about it being science and all. And they certainly wouldn’t even begin to understand the irony of using characters that, in my circle of colleagues, currently represent reservoirs for both the Avian Flu Virus and the West Nile Virus (the duck, of course, has the funniest lines, possibly because he knows that he alone is the asymptomatic carrier).

But at the end of the day, I think that this is all really beside the point.

And that’s because the point is this: we should be impressed because the show succeeds in talking effectively to the general public about science. And it does this by being different, creative, charming and yet informative – which believe me is no easy task.

In no small way, we are hoping to do the same here. What you are reading is an experiment of sorts, a web publication that will attempt to be, well… different, creative, charming and yet informative. We’re hoping to provide an online (and future print) platform that will accept all types of scientific writing. This will include those that plough through material in a journalistic or review style, or those that skip daintily, poignantly, humorously, or even angrily into creative writing. I suppose our own little holy grail would be to present an assortment of well written science literature in all of its possible connotations.

To express this somewhat esoteric flavor, we have decided to name this project The Science Creative Quarterly. A name that word for word, represents the following: “The” because we do want to engage people who enjoy good writing and, of course, understand the use of words and grammar; “Science” because we are about expanding the science knowledge in the public consciousness; “Creative” because we are interested in exploring the unconventional and literary realms that this project seeks; and “Quarterly” because, well, we really liked the word “Quarterly.”

So, if you’re willing, I ask that you please give us a minute of your time and take a deeper look. Let us know what you like and what you don’t like. Better yet, submit something and allow us the privilege of being impressed and excited with your work. And if you think we need a duck that says funny lines to succeed, please let us know. We are, in reality, pretty clueless about the best way to do this, and it’s always good to know these sorts of things sooner rather than later.

(April 2005)