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Comments on talk today by Ari Daniel Shapiro

elovejoy's picture

Ari Daniel Shapiro- "From recording whales to recording people"

his website/blog

    As part of the summer research program, students are required to attend weekly talks.  This week, Ari Daniel Shapiro gave a lecture on the path he took to get where he is now, and his exploration in the the fields of marine biology, science journalism, and working in radio.  I found his talk to be very engaging.  He kept the audience 's attention by making the talk interactive by fielding questions and comments from many students.  It was refreshing to hear a talk where the speaker didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, and it was a nice reminder to students that it is okay to be unsure of your future.  His talk was also appropriate for the students in his audience because he gave a few points of advice relating to graduate work.  One thing that he stressed was finding a good advisor for a PhD program, and how the advisor is almost more important than the project you are working on.


     Another part of his talk focused on the question, why are stories important?  He answered that it is important to learn about new advances in science, and in his profession, it is their job to make the information more accessible to the public.  When interviewing people for his stories, he talked of having to be a friend, a therapist, and an antagonist.  He takes on these various roles so that he can get the information he needs to be able to tell a story in a way that is inviting to its listeners.  He provided a few examples of his work, and they were interesting and somewhat strange.  They definitely caught the audience's attention.  One of these was a piece that he produced after interviewing Hazel Sive, a biologist at MIT.  It was one of only a few of productions he has done using video.  The video can be seen on Youtube here.  In his production, Sive connects music to early fish embryo division.  Relating Pink Floyd to science is not something I think many students have done, and you could feel the skepticism in the audience through their chuckles and their glances around the room.  I am glad I attended the talk and got to hear about a career in science journalism and radio, which are two professions that I know little about.