Science Britannica ‘Clear Blue Skies’ screening Nov. 22

Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology will present a screening of an episode of the Science Britannica show “Clear Blue Skies,” whichaired on the BBC earlier this year. This episode discusses the importance of funding for basic and translational research.

Brian Cox is the host of Clear Blue Skies on the BBC.

Brian Cox is the host of Clear Blue Skies on the BBC.

The video (about 50 mins long) is hosted by Brian Cox, a physicist from the University of Manchester, who describes the history of funding for scientific research and highlights some key discoveries from Britain. Since it is incumbent on the scientific community to ensure that the general public and politicians understand the importance of science funding, this video provides an important perspective on this topic.

The screening will be Friday, November 22 at 5 p.m. in Shaffer 3 on the Homewood Campus. This screening is free and open to the entire Johns Hopkins Community, but seating is limited. Afterward, there will be an informal discussion about the importance of science funding with INBT director Peter Searson, professor of materials science and engineering at JHU.

Nano-bio film students in crunch mode for film fest

Every summer I teach Communication for Scientists and Engineers (EN 670.609) to the students in the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology graduate training programs. The course is a crash course in how to present science to non-technical audiences in an engaging way, that is, as film. We have just a few class sessions and then several weeks of out of class for filming and editing.

Each time I teach the course I change it a little. The first year, it was all writing. The next year I switched to video, and the students made videos about their own research. We did that for a couple more years. This year, however, I changed it again, and two teams are working on videos with slightly broader scope. One film will explain what nanotechnology is and the other will discuss regenerative medicine.

Team 1 working on "what is nanobiotechnology.

Team 1 working on “what is nanobiotechnology?”.

Today, the teams are in crunch mode to get their films done. They will probably be a little longer than the ones classes have made in the past, but hopefully they will be packed with interesting content. I invite you to come see what they have created at the INBT Film Festival on Wednesday, July 24 at 10:45 a.m. in 101 Remsen Hall on the Homewood campus. No RSVP is required. This event is open to the entire Hopkins community, including visitors.

During the premiere, the students will discuss some of the challenges they had in constructing their film and share what they learned during the process. I don’t expect the students to come out as filmmakers, although some have had the opportunity to make research-related videos later on in their graduate student careers. What I do hope, is that they understand how challenging it can be to explain a complex topic to people who don’t know much about science or engineering.

After the premiere, the videos will be uploaded to the INBT YouTube page, which you can find here.

This year’s students included:

Team 2 working on "what is regenerative medicine."

Team 2 working on “what is regenerative medicine?”.

Team 1 – John-michael Williford, Gregory Wiedman, Gregg Duncan and Nuala Del Piccolo

Team 2 – Herdeline Ardoña, Jason Lee, Jennifer Poitras and Charles Hu.