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I have always wanted to be a scientist in a position to counter the misuse of science or science-like studies. Although I did not know of his work at the time, I wanted to be my version of Clair Patterson (Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey). For me, there were two scientific “misuses” that shaped my desire for a scientific career: The Mismeasure of Man, by Stephen J.

Science Communication: it’s a phrase that has developed into a field and a call to action within communities of science. Yet, many wonder and debate: what is science communication? The answer depends on who you ask and who you play/work with.

Seeking Innovation? Learn to play!

As I prepared my talk for Cracking the Workplace Communication Code with the Massachusetts Association of Women in Science, I came upon a wonderful surprise while looking for an example of small group authored papers from the 60's. The current discussion of "the future of research" calls for a return to a time of small labs and groups—a time when high caliber scientists, inspiring and collaborating with one another, produced exciting scientific breakthroughs.

For this innovative bi-annual conference, we always create an environment that is warm and curious—one that nurtures play and connection. This year, we seemed to create an experience of joy quickly. One participant arrived at the conference doors before they opened, saying, “I’m so excited—I can’t believe I found this.” As each person arrived, there seemed to be an expression of excitement and gratitude for simply being present.

Ilija Dukovski, a physicist turned bioinformatician after years in industry, began his Boston University seminar class with the TED Talk by Benjamin Zander conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Ilija spoke with interest and excitement as he shared collegially with students in the first class. “I don’t want to give you a recipe. I thought we would look at an excellent talk together and say what we think. So you can develop your own talks.”

What do you mean "listen"? It’s a counter intuitive lesson and one that’s been reported to improve how you talk with others. Recently, Alan Alda on the Science Friday podcast, noted that to be a better communicator, you need to listen. He says, “[listen] even better than the person you’re speaking with’.

What is an extraordinary science community? This is one of the questions that I, along with a number of creative educators and researchers, am asking as we create the bi-annual Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research (CESTEMER) conference. The conference theme this year is Cultivating Extraordinary Science Communities: Re-imagining Arts, Humanities and STEM.

My first blog post that introduced the company, improvscience, answered the question: "What do you mean, improvscience?" More people, across the country and the globe, are asking: what does it mean "to improv" science?

Loretta Cheeks attended the CESTEMER conference in 2015 and wrote to reflect on her experience.

This year, Dr. Raquell Holmes and members of the improvscience team will be participating in the student programs at the The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis, better known as SC, in a number of ways.  


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