Daan Du Toit: talking science diplomacy in South Africa

Science Soapbox just went global, virtually traveling to South Africa to take a deep dive into the latest science and technology developments in the nation with Daan du Doit, Deputy Director General of International Cooperation and Resources at the South African Department of Science and Technology. In this episode, we chat about South African resources, the delicate balance between diplomatic scientific cooperation and competition, and even Trevor Noah.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

  • Learn more about South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology by traveling to their official page
  • Pan African University is training a new generation of leaders in STEM to “constitute the bedrock for an African pool of higher education and research.” For more about their mission and programs, visit here
  • South Africa is a world leader in astronomy and will be host to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world’s largest telescope, along with Australia. Read more on SPACE.com
  • The Next Einstein Forum was held earlier this month bringing together 700 scientists, mathematicians and technologists from 80 African countries to share ideas about how to foster innovation in Africa and bring them to fruition
  • The Next Einstein Initiative is the brainchild of 2008 TED Prize winner Neil Turok, whose vision and TED talk you can find here

This episode was recorded on February 29, 2016 in Rockefeller University’s Science Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Lynn Cominsky: on black holes, gravitational waves, and the frontiers of education

Last month, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory — better known as LIGO — announced the first direct spotting of gravitational waves, the ripples in spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. The discovery instantly made waves, eliciting a direct Tweet from the @POTUS himself. In honor of this historic discovery, we lent our soapbox to Dr. Lynn Cominsky, physicist with the LIGO collaboration and Director of the Education and Public Outreach group at Sonoma State University.

In addition to leading the way in educational programming around the LIGO project, Dr. Cominsky develops innovative educational materials, integrating everything from rocketry to computer science for grades 5-14. With a background in astrophysics, her journey into education began in 1999 when she founded the Education and Public Outreach group at Sonoma State University, and has taken off from there. The Science Soapbox team was pleased as punch to chat with her about colliding black holes and the frontiers of STEM education in our latest interview.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on March 2, 2016 in Rockefeller University’s Science Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Brian Nosek: on the nature of capital-T Truth (and Transparency) in science

How can we make the scientific endeavor more open and transparent? Dr. Brian Nosek is taking on that very question as the executive director of the Center for Open Science, a non-profit technology company developing software that stands to revolutionize the practice of science.

During our recent trip to the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, the Science Soapbox team chatted with Dr. Nosek about the nature of scientific capital-T Truth, the dawn of the “Science Internet,” and why the graduate students of the future should be so jazzed about his Open Science Framework.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on February 13, 2016 at the 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting. Special thanks to Visager for music.