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New Media at the Museum

Q&As

This Thursday, February 16, scientists, writers, and educators will gather for a panel discussion of how social media change the landscape of science communication. Beyond a Trend: Enhancing Science Communication Through Social Mediawill feature Ruth Cohen, the Museum’s senior director of education strategic initiatives and director of the Center for Lifelong Learning, Carl Zimmer, science journalist and author of Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science ObsessedBen Lillie, co-organizer of The Story Collider, and BBC journalist Matt Danzicoas panelists. Jennifer Kingson, day assignment editor for the Science section of The New York Times, will moderate the discussion. Below, Cohen talks about a few of the Museum’s recent forays into social media.

Tags: Children's Programs, Q&A

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Science Writer Carl Zimmer on Blogs, Books, and Tattoos

Q&As

When science writer Carl Zimmer noticed some scientists sporting serious tattoos, he wondered how many others enjoyed highbrow body art. After posing the question on his blog, Zimmer received a flood of responses and photos, many of which he recently compiled in his book Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed. On Thursday, February 16, Zimmer will be one of four panelists at the Museum’s Beyond a Trend: Enhancing Science Communication Through Social Media, part of Social Media Week NYC. Zimmer recently answered a few questions about how new media are shaping his writing.

What could you do with a blog about science tattoos that you couldn’t do in a book, and vice versa?

Carl Zimmer: Blogs and books are different media, with different strengths and weaknesses. With a blog, you can spontaneously add things and make corrections. And people can make comments. Sometimes, people would point out that the equation in someone’s tattoo had a plus sign instead of a minus, which was probably pretty embarrassing. But since the blog was happening in real time, it was more disorganized. For the book, I was able to create miniature essays for various tattoos and arrange the tattoos in a logical progression from math to physics to chemistry and so on.

Tags: Q&A

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A Historical Tour of Aphrodisiacs with Francine Segan

Q&As

In honor of the approaching Valentine’s Day, the Museum will host food historian Francine Segan on Wednesday, February 8, for Aphrodisiacs: Myth or Reality?, featuring stories and tastings of foods considered to have seductive properties throughout time. Below, Segan unravels the histories behind a few food items thought to have a strong connection to passion.

Why were oysters, scallops, mussels, and other types of seafood hailed as aphrodisiacs?

Francine Segan: Aphrodisiacs were named for Aphrodite, the goddess of love. According to ancient Greek legend, Aphrodite was born from the sea and arrived onshore transported on either an oyster or scallop shell. So oysters and all sorts of shellfish were thought to be aphrodisiacs.

Tags: Food, Q&A

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Dimitar Sasselov on the Exoplanet Revolution

Q&As

In the past year, scientists have discovered an astounding number of planets beyond our solar system. On Monday, February 6, Harvard astronomer Dimitar Sasselov will discuss these “exoplanets” and the possibility of discovering life beyond Earth at February’s Frontiers in Astrophysics lecture. Sasselov recently answered a few questions about the search for other worlds.

Have discoveries of exoplanets within the last few months changed any of our views on the potential for life beyond our solar system?

Tags: Exhibitions, Exoplanets, Q&A

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