Monthly Archives: July 2010

Everybody’s blogging about blogging

…and I’m not blogging at all, it seems!
I’m busy. Really busy.
On Friday I’m flying to San Francisco for SciFoo. There I have already agreed to take part in several sessions. I committed to a five minute talk about a topic I still need to interview two or three people for between now and tomorrow afternoon, and then spend the rest of Thursday at the computer to work it all out. I also co-proposed a session about blogging networks together with bloggers from ScienceBlogs and Discover, to talk about ch-ch-ch-changes.
Changes at Nature Network are afoot: Heather quit blogging. Cath left NN. Ian and Richard are rebelling. I thought I was fine here, but will I be fine if all my friends leave?
So I have that to think about, and the rest of SciFoo, and the Science/Music project, and I’m also blogging at work and recruiting people to blog and yesterday I spent all day e-mailing.
Three days after SciFoo, I’ll be multitasking at a developmental biology conference where I’m meeting people in almost every break in between (tough) sessions to talk about the Node.
In between, I’m on a mini vacation.
Staying in a house made out of garbage in New Mexico.
About which I somehow agreed to write an article for WorldChanging Canada.
Two days after I get back from the last conference, my parents are coming over from Holland to bring my cat to England. They’re staying for five days, after which I immediately get visitors from Canada.
So if the blog here seems a little dead, don’t worry – I haven’t left, I’ve just gone insane.

Interview with Stuart Clark

Stuart Clark is a science writer by day and guitarist by night. I saw him play at Geek Pop, as “Dr Stu” of “Dr Stu and the Neutron Stars“, and last week interviewed him by Skype. This is a fragment of the interview, in which he talks about writing, playing guitar, and having lunch with Buzz Aldrin on a cruise ship.

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And here is a video of Dr Stu and the Neutron Stars from the GeekPop channel:

Einstein’s Universe

Last week, James Dacey let me know about an interview he did for PhysicsWorld: In the first video, particle physicist Brian Foster and violinist Jack Liebeck talk about Einstein’s musical career and about a show they do together called “Einstein’s Universe”, which is a lecture interspersed with music. In the second video, both men play a duet together.

In the video of the interview, James asks Jack about the link between science and music, and the violinist answers: “A lot of physicists, and generally scientists and mathematicians love playing music. It’s difficult to put your finger on what the exact link is, but I should think there is some kind of link in the discipline of reading a code on a page and turning it into music, and in the day to day life of trying to work out what’s going on in their particular discipline through looking at the codes that come out and deciphering how things are put together.”

Interview with Kat Arney

Kat Arney has a blog called “You Do Too Much“, and that sums it up pretty well. In the first part of this interview she lists all the things she does, from playing various instruments with Sunday Driver and The Shadow Orchestra to science writing for Cancer Research UK, and doing podcasts for The Naked Scientists. We also talked about the role of creativity in science, so have a listen:

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Ed Fischer – interview on Lindau site

Ed Fischer won the 1992 Nobel Prize for the biochemically important discovery of protein regulation by phosphorylation. He also plays piano, and here are two quotes from a recent interview with him on the Lindau Nobel site:

“I was happy to retire, because I played the piano and I would have like to spend two hours a day on the piano. I simply can’t do that because I am too busy: I give talks, I come to meetings, I am on juries that give prizes, etc. These are very nice things, but they take time.”

“I never had the virtuosity that you need to be a real pianist. Piano is like tennis, you have to be a Boris Becker at age 15 or 16, I never had the capabilities of becoming a pianist. I like music, but the idea of making a living out of music seemed funny to me. I loved to be at the conservatory, I was what you call in French class libre – free class, which was not on the professional track where you have to play the piano five hours a day. I couldn’t do that.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

Interview with Princess Ojiaku

A friend of mine once formulated (in a late night MSN session) the theory that there are two types of ideas: original ideas and good ideas. Original ideas are never good ideas, and good ideas are never original. So when I found out several months ago that someone else was also interviewing people about their combined science/music life, that only confirmed that it is indeed a good idea!

Princess Ojiaku has been interviewing scientist-musicians in the Research Triangle area in North Carolina. She’s also a musician and scientist herself: neuroscience grad student by day, and bassist in a band by night. She plays in the band Pink Flag, where she’s known as Dork Flag. (I found the adorkable photo on their myspace page.) I asked her about science, music, and her own interview series.

Here is part of the interview:

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The gig at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham (part of a science of beer event, mentioned in the interview) is on September 16