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My Past Events

2017

Science talk to students at the Fairfield Country Day School. On "Three Simple Facts that Determine the Weather," in connection with the school's ongoing student science projects and the celebration of Earth Day. Fairfield, CT. April 13, 2017.

PSP Pre-Conference on Accessibility Is the New Innovation: From Compliance to New Opportunities. Accessibility tools in the publishing world have often been an afterthought or secondary consideration; something required by law but not often enforced. But features that make content and information accessible to disabled people are increasingly favored and used by the rest of the population. Witness the popularity of closed captioning, audio transcription, audio-syncing, voice search and navigation, and cognitive assistants. This seminar examined how best to leverage technologies originally developed for audiences with disabilities, and how to create content that can expand the reach of scholarly publishing beyond the page and the screen. As co-chairs of the Committee for Digital Innovation in the Professional & Scholarly Publishing (PSP) division of the Association of American Publishers, Darrell Gunter of the Gunter Media Group and I hosted and moderated the day's discussions. Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C. Feb. 1, 2017.

2016

The Golden Age of Immunization. This event, organized by Scientific American Custom Media and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, celebrated the opening of GSK's new vaccine research facility in Rockville, MD. I served as moderator for all three sections of the program:

  • A panel discussion on "Vaccines: Past, Present and Future," with David M. Morens, senior adviser to the director, NIAID;
    Myron Levine, associate dean for Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine; and Rino Rappuoli, chief scientific officer, GSK.
  • A fireside chat with Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, and Moncef Slaoui, chairman of vaccines, GSK.
  • A panel discussion on "The New Ecosystem of Innovation," with Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH; Chris Wilson, biomedical R&D consultant, formerly of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Emmanuel Hanon, senior vice president of Vaccines R&D, GSK; and H. Keipp Talbot, associate professor of medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Rockville, MD. Dec. 13, 2016.

Jasper Dark Sky Festival 2016. Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, is one of the world's largest accessible Dark Sky preserves, and this annual festival celebrates its status with a nine-day tribute to observational astronomy, space science and culture. As part of the Big Bang Expo, I gave a talk on "This Lucky Moment in the Light," about how fortunate we are to be alive in this particular era of the universe. Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Oct. 22, 2016.

Beakerhead Science Communications Program. A four-day intensive workshop in science communication, held in conjunction with the amazing Jasper Dark Sky Festival. Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Oct. 19-22, 2016.

Science talk to students at the Alexander Robertson School. New York City. April 22, 2016.

Lost in Translation: Is Science Explained Fairly in the Media? This event organized by Scientific American Custom Media was sponsored by GMO Answers and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. I moderated this program, which explored the problems of communicating science, inspiring and earning trust on contentious subjects, combatting misinformation and misunderstanding, and the ways in which journalists, scientists, companies and other parties sometimes undermined their own messages. The focus was not specifically on biotechnology or genetically modified organisms, but given the sponsorship and participants, those areas offered abundant object examples for the discussion. Sections of the agenda with which I was involved were:

  • A panel discussion on How Scientists, the Media, and the Public Grapple with Problems of Understanding, Attention, and Credibility. With Julia Belluz, health reporter for Vox.com; David Brancaccio, host and senior editor of the Marketplace Morning Report on American Public Media; Tamar Haspel, columnist for the Washington Post; Keith Kloor, science reporter and instructor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University; and Dr. Donna Nelson, the president of the American Chemical Society, professor chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, and science advisor to AMC’s Emmy Award-winning TV show Breaking Bad.
  • A Q&A with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIAID, about the challenges in informing the public about Zika virus, which was a breaking story at that time.
  • A panel discussion on What Scientists Learned While Discussing the Hottest Science Topics of the Day. With Dr. Nina V. Federoff, emeritus professor of biology at Penn State University; Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the Climate Science Awareness and Solutions Program, Earth Institute, Columbia University; and Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Among the many points that the journalists involved in the program emphasized was that sponsored events like this one, however well intended, were not always helpful in reducing public suspicions. The National Press Club, Washington, D.C. March 31, 2016.

TRTWorld's The NewsMAKERS program segment on "The Singularity." The NewsMAKERS news magazine program appears on Turkish television's TRTWorld, hosted by Imran Garda. The producers invited me and Nikola Danalov, host of the Singularity Weblog, to discuss the rise of artificial intelligence and whether or not that poses a threat to the human race. You can watch the video hereRecorded in New York City. March 16, 2016.

PSP Pre-Conference on Big Data, Discovery, and Visualization. A twofold challenge for today’s scholars is finding the most relevant papers in the vast landscape of published works and then finding the relevant meaning within that often overwhelming yield. Scholarly publishers can help them with information tools that improve discovery and present data more powerfully, and by developing strategies that anticipate scholars’ expressed and unexpressed needs. As co-chairs of the Committee for Digital Innovation in the Professional & Scholarly Publishing (PSP) division of the Association of American Publishers, Darrell Gunter of the Gunter Media Group and I hosted and moderated the day's discussions. Fairmont Hotel, Washington, D.C. Feb. 3, 2016.

My Review of the Year in Science and Technology. I gave this speech at a private dinner to benefit LI-CON, the East Coast's newest convention of science fact, science fiction, fantasy and anime. Levittown, NY. Jan. 26, 2016.


2015

LI-CON 2 science and technology panels. At this convention for fans of science fact, science fiction, gaming, and other genre entertainment, I participated in panels about alien biology, our favorite transformative technologies, frightening ideas in science, and martial arts for the convention-goer. Ronkonkoma, NY. Aug. 16, 2015.

Banff Science Communications Program. A two-week intensive workshop in the ways of science communication. The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. July 26-Aug. 8, 2015.

"Books on the Brain" session at the Science and Story Café of the World Science Festival. I moderated this discussion with neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, and philosopher Albert Mele, author of Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will. New York University. May 30, 2015.

"Electric Medicine and the Brain" panel for the World Science Festival. This salon-style discussion concerned transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques that show promise for treating depression and other neurological mental health conditions. I moderated this panel, which included the researchers Marom Bikson, Richard Haier, Alayar Kangarlu, Leah Moran, Tarique Perera, and Michael Weisend. New York University. May 28, 2015.

Media roundtable at BASF Creator Space tour in New York City. I moderated this closed session where a small number of the press met with BASF executives and associated researchers to discuss BASF's Creator Space Summit on urban living, which focused on challenges to habitat, citizenship, and resilience in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. Location 05, New York City. May 26, 2015.

The Story Collider 5th Anniversary Show. An evening of true stories about how science has influenced people's lives. With noted storyteller and writer Carter Edwards (who told The Story Collider's first story), physicist-turned-Story Collider co-founder Brian Wecht, science writer/producer Rose Eveleth, and dolphin behaviorist Diana Reiss. Littlefield in Brooklyn, NY. May 6, 2015 at 8 p.m. 

Science talk to students at the Alexander Robertson School. New York City. April 17, 2015.

"Viewing Futurism Skeptically" workshop at the 2015 Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS). I discussed the importance of listening critically to predictions and forecasts from futurists, scientists, reporters, and others. Much depends on context, and sometimes it can be surprisingly hard to figure out whether a prediction came true or not.... New York City. April 9, 2015.

"The Everyday Importance of STEM" panel at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting. At this meeting of the American Library Association, I led a panel discussion about the use of Makerspaces and curiosity-driven learning to improve science education with Claire Moore of the Darien Library (Darien, CT) and Amy Koester of the Skokie Public Library (Skokie, IL). Chicago. Jan. 31, 2015.

My Review of the Year in Science and Technology. I gave this speech at a private dinner to benefit LI-CON, the East Coast's newest convention of science fact, science fiction, fantasy and anime. Levittown, NY. Jan. 22, 2015.


2014

Keynote address at the Charleston Conference. This annual conference for librarians, publishers, and other interested parties gives them an opportunity to discuss issues of importance in serial and book acquisition. My talk on "Science Education Gone Wilde: Creating science references that work" was part of the conference's "The Importance of Being Earnest" theme. Charleston, SCNov. 6, 2014.

Life Is Beautiful festival, "Weird Science" panel. A fascinating discussion of synthetic biology, 3D-printed organs, and open source cancer treatments and weather control I was privileged to have with Gabor Forgacs of Organovo, Inc., and Modern Meadow, Inc., and Andrew Hessel of Autodesk Research. Las Vegas. Oct. 25, 2014.

The Travel Channel's Mysteries at the Museum (Season 7, Episode 5). In the "Medical Machine Hoax" segment, I'm interviewed about the strange history of the Electronic Reactions of Abrams, the Dynamizer and the Oscilloclast—one of the most successful and bizarre medical scams of the early 20th century. Debuts Oct. 17, 2014.

"Meet the Makers" panel discussion at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. With Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, Phylis Klein, co-founder of FabLab D.C., and Nick Kerelchuk, manager of the digital commons of the D.C. Public Library. Washington, D.C. Oct. 20, 2014.

The Story Collider at Brooklyn Brain Jam. A collaborative event with talent from Nerd Nite, The Big Quiz Thing, Kevin Geeks Out, and The Story Collider, featuring stories from Brooke Borel, Saad Sarwana, Matt Mercier and me. This was where I first told my story "Crazy Mail." The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY . Sept. 7, 2014.

LI-CON 1 panel on "Science & Medicine." At this convention for fans of science fact, science fiction, gaming, and other genre entertainment, I participated in a panel about the future of medicine. Long Island, NY. Aug. 16, 2014.

Banff Science Communications Program. A two-week intensive workshop in the ways of science communication. The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. July 27-Aug. 10, 2014.

"The Everyday Importance of STEM" panel at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. At this meeting of the American Library Association, I had the pleasure of leading this panel discussion about the use of Makerspaces and curiosity-driven learning to improve science education with Mark Hatch, the CEO and founder of TechShop, and Linda W. Braun of the Seattle Public Library. Las VegasJune 29, 2014.

Science talk to students at the Alexander Robertson School. New York City. April 24, 2014.


2013

NPR's Ask Me Another. This trivia-and-brainteaser radio quiz show took the inspiration for its "Solve for X" episode from the 2013 World Science Festival, pulling together a contestant panel of science writers, with me among them. Did I win or lose? Why does Matt Dillon's name move me to tears? Audio of the show is available at the link. Recorded at The Bell House in Brooklyn on May 30. Broadcast on Aug. 2, 2013.

Banff Science Communications Program. A two-week intensive workshop in the ways of science communication. The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. July 21-Aug. 3, 2013.

 The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, podcast episode #418. Recorded before the mainstage audience at The Amaz!ng Meeting the week before in Las Vegas. Audio is available at the link. Released July 20, 2013.

JREF's The Amaz!ng Meeting. The theme for this year's big Las Vegas event from the James Randi Educational Foundation was "Fighting the Fakes: Putting Quacks, Scams & Shams on the Ropes." I appeared as part of the workshop panel on "Skeptics in the Dojo: Taking on the Martial Arts" with MMA fighter Brent Weedman, Hiyaaah! podcaster and martial artist David Jones, science writer and jujitsu black belt Jennifer Ouellette, Sifu S. F. Zeigler, and Evan Bernstein of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Then I moderated a main-stage panel on "Woo in Martial Arts" with Evan, Brent, David, and Reed Kuhn of "Fightnomics," and served as guest rogue during a live recording of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe episode. Southpoint Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. July 11-14, 2013.

The Story Collider 3-year Anniversary Show. An evening of true stories about how science has influenced people's lives. With comedian Dave Hill, psychologist Esther Perel, ecologist Carl Safina, and actor/writer Mara Wilson. The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY. May 14, 2013 at 8 p.m.

The Truth About Twisters special. An offshoot of the Hacking The Planet series, produced by Castle Pictures, airing as part of The Weather Channel's Tornado Week. With my co-hosts Brian Malow and Cara Santa Maria. The Weather Channel, May 1, 2013, 9 p.m. ET. (See local listings for channel and repeat airings.)

Lund University 2013 Vega Fellows Science Communications Workshop. Organized by COMPASS. With Nancy Baron (COMPASS director of science outreach) and Meghan Miner (COMPASS science outreach specialist), and journalists Lisa Johnson (CBC), Alok Jha (The Guardian and BBC), and Karin Bojs (Dagens Nyheter). A Storify recap of the proceedings can be found hereKristineberg Marine Research Station, Kristineberg 566, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden. April 23-26, 2013.

Science talk to students at the Alexander Robertson School. New York City. April 19, 2013.

Communications for Public Audiences session of the Stem Cell Network's Soft Skills Workshop. A recap of the event is available hereToronto, Canada. March 20, 2013.

Hacking the Planet TV series. Produced by Castle Pictures for The Weather Channel. A series I created and hosted, about what science might do to help us control, predict, or better protect ourselves against dangerous forces of nature. With co-hosts Brian Malow and Cara Santa Maria. The Weather Channel. Debuted February 28, 2013, 8 p.m. ET. (See local listings for channel and repeat airings.)

SpotOn NYC: Telling Stories with Scientists panel event. A panel discussion of the challenges that scientists face in communicating with the public, hosted by SpotOn NYC and the American Museum of Natural History. Organized and moderated by Ben Lillie of The Story Collider, with Meehan Crist, Carter Emmart, Amy Harmon, and Jer Thorp. My "Gleaming Retort" blog post and Storify about the event, with links to other accounts of it, can be found hereAmerican Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY. February 20, 2013, 6:30 p.m.


2012

Cyber Summit 2012: Leading the Way on Big Data. Sponsored by Cybera. An evening hosted by Jay Ingram; I appeared in three prerecorded video segments about big data. The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. Oct. 2, 2012.

Banff Science Communications Program. A two-week intensive workshop in the ways of science communication. The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. Aug. 11-25, 2012.

New America NYC: From Science to Obsession. Sponsored by New America Foundation and The Atavist. I moderated this panel discussion on excesses in the human impulse to discover, with Amy Harmon, Jay Kirk, and Joe Kloc. New America NYC, New York, NY. March 19, 2012.

NPR's Ask Me Another. This trivia-and-brainteaser radio quiz show took the inspiration for its "Solve for X" episode from the 2013 World Science Festival, pulling together a contestant panel of science writers, with me among them. Did I win or lose? Why does Matt Dillon's name move me to tears? Audio of the show is available at the link. Recorded at The Bell House in Brooklyn on May 30. Broadcast on Aug. 2, 2013.

Banff Science Communications Program. A two-week intensive workshop in the ways of science communication. The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. July 21-Aug. 3, 2013.

 The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, podcast episode #418. Recorded before the mainstage audience at The Amaz!ng Meeting the week before in Las Vegas. Audio is available at the link. Released July 20, 2013.

JREF's The Amaz!ng Meeting. The theme for this year's big Las Vegas event from the James Randi Educational Foundation was "Fighting the Fakes: Putting Quacks, Scams & Shams on the Ropes." I appeared as part of the workshop panel on "Skeptics in the Dojo: Taking on the Martial Arts" with MMA fighter Brent Weedman, Hiyaaah! podcaster and martial artist David Jones, science writer and jujitsu black belt Jennifer Ouellette, Sifu S. F. Zeigler, and Evan Bernstein of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Then I moderated a main-stage panel on "Woo in Martial Arts" with Evan, Brent, David, and Reed Kuhn of "Fightnomics," and served as guest rogue during a live recording of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe episode. Southpoint Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. July 11-14, 2013.

The Story Collider 3rd Anniversary Show. An evening of true stories about how science has influenced people's lives. With comedian Dave Hill, psychologist Esther Perel, ecologist Carl Safina, and actor/writer Mara Wilson. The Bell House, in Brooklyn, NY. May 14, 2013 at 8 p.m.

The Truth About Twisters special. An offshoot of the Hacking The Planet series, produced by Castle Pictures, airing as part of The Weather Channel's Tornado Week. With my co-hosts Brian Malow and Cara Santa Maria. The Weather Channel, May 1, 2013, 9 p.m. ET. (See local listings for channel and repeat airings.)

Lund University 2013 Vega Fellows Science Communications Workshop. Organized by COMPASS. With Nancy Baron (COMPASS director of science outreach) and Meghan Miner (COMPASS science outreach specialist), and journalists Lisa Johnson (CBC), Alok Jha (The Guardian and BBC), and Karin Bojs (Dagens Nyheter). A Storify recap of the proceedings can be found hereKristineberg Marine Research Station, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden. April 23-26, 2013.

Science talk to students at the Alexander Robertson School. New York City. April 19, 2013.

Communications for Public Audiences session of the Stem Cell Network's Soft Skills Workshop. A recap of the event is available hereToronto, Canada. March 20, 2013.

New America NYC: From Science to Obsession. Sponsored by New America Foundation and The Atavist. I moderated this panel discussion on excesses in the human impulse to discover, with Amy Harmon, Jay Kirk, and Joe Kloc. New America NYC, New York, NY. March 19, 2012.

Hacking the Planet TV series. Produced by Castle Pictures for The Weather Channel. A series I created and hosted, about what science might do to help us control, predict, or better protect ourselves against dangerous forces of nature. With co-hosts Brian Malow and Cara Santa Maria. The Weather Channel. Debuted February 28, 2013, 8 p.m. ET. (See local listings for channel and repeat airings.)

SpotOn NYC: Telling Stories with Scientists panel event. A panel discussion of the challenges that scientists face in communicating with the public, hosted by SpotOn NYC and the American Museum of Natural History. Organized and moderated by Ben Lillie of The Story Collider, with Meehan Crist, Carter Emmart, Amy Harmon, and Jer Thorp. My "Gleaming Retort" blog post and Storify about the event, with links to other accounts of it, can be found hereAmerican Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY. February 20, 2013, 6:30 p.m.