Thursday, August 13, 2009

Science Behind-the-Scenes

I know this blog is about urban ecology and wildlife, but it’s also about science. I realize that very few people know what all it takes to do and produce scientific information and share it with the world. Far fewer people know a scientist. I share what I do because, well – I ain’t shy about talking and being in front of people, and because I really enjoy what I do, even if some parts of it can be hectic. Science is a verb! It’s what I do. Science is also a process and one of the things outreach scientists, like myself and other science bloggers and informal science educators, lament about is how we can help the general public better understand what science is and what scientists do.

Most of the time, I use this blog to show young people how fun science can be. And it is. I have a blast. I can’t believe I get paid (well, sometimes I get paid) to do this. I go outside and observe plants, animals, and people, I collect plants and animals, I take care of animals (never leave a house plant in my care), and I do experiments, I write up my results and I get to travel to all kinds of places and share pictures and stories of what I’ve done. But, other than the therapy of pouring out my highs and lows with you, I also think sharing this behind-the-scenes view of science – writing the dissertation, attending meetings, interviewing other scientists, etc. – is also my responsibility.
So here I go. This time next week, I’ll be all groggy eyed and tired from my overnight flight and walking on European soil for the first time in my life. I’ll actually be presenting the main chapter of my dissertation at the science conference in Rennes, France. Science conference are like the big trailer of all of the upcoming scientific discoveries and controversies that might eventually be featured in a science textbook, medical news coverage, NPR Science Friday or Discovery/Animal Planet/ National Geographic Channel show near you. So the presentation I’ll give and my dissertation progress are all wrapped up together. What makes this meeting and presentation so special, compared to all of the other meetings and presentations, is that I’ve been invited to speak on this topic – as an up-and-coming authority on the subject of Animal Personality. And I emphasize up-and-coming. The persons speaking before me and after me are university professors and actually I quote them quite a bit in my own papers. It is an honor to hold the stage with them. Plus, I’ll be giving a preview of my dissertation defense at this meeting. I present August 21st. When I am done I’ll post my presentation on this blog via SlideShare. So that way you all can check it out, too.

Related to this, I’m thinking about live streaming my dissertation defense online. The defense is a public which means any and everyone can come. Plus, I have several friends and family who may not be able to make it. I was wondering, would you –my blog readers and internet friends be interested watching my dissertation defense and seeing how a real live scientist becomes a Ph.D.? Let me know; I would love some feedback on this.

2 comments: said...

vooooooooting fa the bestest!! sings: baby youda best, baby youda best, baby youda best!!

DNLee said...

you so funny, Teddy!

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