Please welcome Nate from “The Candid Scientist” blog as my new Featured Blogger this week. What I really liked about his blog is his way of making science sound like fun. He also got a brownie point for literally taking me to Mars which is actually not far at all if you click here http://www.distancetomars.com/. But before your first trip in space, I would like to share with you my little interview with him that he kindly accepted to submit to.
LaChouett – When I read the word “Science” I tend to switch off knowing right away I am unlikely to understand the content, but your site is really inviting. How did you come up with the concept?
The Candid Scientist – The initial concept for my blog was similar to that of many other science blogs: to fix the broken system of science journalism. I was going to find science news articles and explain what the author got right, what the author got wrong, and any points that the author may have missed entirely. I wanted to present science news in an honest, candid way. Then I realized there’s more to reporting science news than simply just reporting it. There’s also the aspect of making sure your reader understands the story, which is really tough.
I think part of what makes my blog so accessible is that I try to present science in a fun, casual way. Most scientists sound like textbooks when they try to explain science to you. This is what makes the word “science” sound scarier than it should. However, when you break down that aura of formality surrounding science, you’d be surprised at how much science the average person can truly understand.
LaChouett – In your opinion, what could be done to make the understanding of sciences more accessible to all?
The Candid Scientist – Treat people with respect. What I mean is that when talking about science, don’t treat non-scientists like they’re a child, but don’t overwhelm them with a bunch of big words all at once either. The problem is most scientists either dumb things down too much, or don’t dumb them down at all. What I try to do is to inject small snippets of fundamental science into my stories, helping to bring the reader’s knowledge base up to speed. By reading my stories you actually gain knowledge about science while reading the latest science news. I try to treat you as an adult who is fully capable of understanding science when taught the right way. This is also why I’ve started writing a mini-series called “Science 101” that consists of several brief, supplemental lessons that really break down the basics of science. I hope that this series will help those with absolutely no background in science to better understand what they’re reading.
LaChouett – What science experiment left you with a memory you cherish?
The Candid Scientist – When I was younger, there was a stupid little experiment my mom wouldn’t let me do. We had an argument over it, and I never did get to do it, but I still cherish the memory nonetheless. The experiment goes like this: You take an empty can of soda and fill it with about a tablespoon of water. Then (using tongs), heat the water in the can to boiling on your stove and keep it there for a minute. Last but not least, quickly flip the can upside down and plunge it into a bowl of ice water. The idea is that the can instantly implodes with a loud bang, because of the loss of air pressure. This happens because when you boil the water, its volume expands as it turns into steam. As a result, the steam begins to exert pressure upon the inside wall of the can. When you suddenly dunk the can in ice-cold water, the steam gets turned immediately back into water, meaning there is no longer any pressure pressing up against the inside of the can. Therefore, the can implodes as the air pressure outside the can (which pushes inward) greatly exceeds the air pressure that’s pushing outwards on the inside walls of the can.
LaChouett – One word to sum you up? Oh and you cannot choose “scientist”.
The Candid Scientist – Curious!
LaChouett – Is there a book that influence your choice of career when you were a child?
The Candid Scientist – I can’t say there any books that influenced my career choice when I was a child (although I did really enjoy the Magic School Bus series).
That being said, there was one textbook in high school which really did the trick for me, and convinced me that science is what I wanted to do. That book was Campbell BIOLOGY. The textbook is really well-written, and I always found myself reading more than what was assigned for homework. Honestly, if you want to learn more about biology, that is a good place to start for a non-scientist.
Thank you Nate
The “The Candid Scientist” blog will feature on Chouett to the end of the week