9 episodes

This podcast mini-series began as a design research project to explore an approach to science communication that is human-centered ‘science conversation.’ Based on Fred Dust’s book 'Making Conversation', and the principles he describes, we partnered on the live audio platform Clubhouse to record conversations with scientists and the listening audience about their questions, challenges, and achievements. Every conversation can be a remarkable sharing experience – a partnership we design in real-time.

Designing Science Conversations SpacetimeLabs

    • Science

This podcast mini-series began as a design research project to explore an approach to science communication that is human-centered ‘science conversation.’ Based on Fred Dust’s book 'Making Conversation', and the principles he describes, we partnered on the live audio platform Clubhouse to record conversations with scientists and the listening audience about their questions, challenges, and achievements. Every conversation can be a remarkable sharing experience – a partnership we design in real-time.

    Episode 8: Constraints with Dr. Nicolas Bonne

    Episode 8: Constraints with Dr. Nicolas Bonne

    The value of constraints is often overlooked and, today, we delve into the pros and cons with someone who followed his passion for astronomy despite the constraints of his visual impairment. Dr. Nicolas Bonne is an astronomer leading the Tactile Universe Public Engagement Project and is the Public Engagement and Outreach Fellow at the University of Portsmouth in the UK. In this episode, we learn how Dr. Bonne’s route to acquiring his Ph.D. inspired his focus on developing tactile astronomy-related resources to help blind and vision-impaired people engage with current topics. We discuss the translation aspect of communicating science, how visually impaired people learn, and the undeniable benefits of the availability of tactile resources. Tune in for another inspiring science conversation, spanning everything from communicating science through sound to the intrinsic role poetry and beauty play in our understanding of the universe. 


    Key Points From This Episode:
    The pros and cons of constraints.The Tactile Universe project Dr. Nicolas Bonne is currently working on.The defining moment that led Dr. Bonne to pursue astronomy.His journey of getting his astronomy Ph.D. with the constraints of his vision impairment.Examples of how he worked around the constraints.How blind or visually impaired people learn.How he got into the tactile communication of visual ideas.The impact the availability of tactile resources can have on visually impaired people.How Dr. Bonne relearned how to ask for help.The translation aspect of communicating science.How to discern between helpful and hindering constraints.The value of partnership.How Dr. Bonne’s difference affected his engagement with science.The incorporation of sound to communicate the science and detection of gravitational waves.The importance of tweaking analogies for visually impaired people.The role of beauty in science communications.Why poetry is so valuable to science.

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Designing Science Conversation
    Dr. Nicolas Bonne on Twitter
    Tactile Universe
    Falling Walls Foundation
    SpacetimeLabs
    Dust & Company
    Nic DiPalma Creative
    Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication
    Fred Dust on Twitter
    Nic DiPalma on Twitter

    • 37 min
    Episode 7: Create with Bill Diamond

    Episode 7: Create with Bill Diamond

    Arguably humanity’s greatest question in the realms of science, philosophy, and religion, is, “Are we alone in the universe?” Our guest today has committed his life to the investigation of the possibility of life and intelligence beyond Earth. Bill Diamond is the President and CEO of the SETI Institute and, in this episode, he takes us behind the scenes of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. We learn about technological signatures and the definitive sign of life that the discovery of a techno signature would imply. Bill explains the Drake Equation and the way it informs the research conducted by the SETI Institute, and fills us in on the true purpose of the SETI endeavor. We discuss the question of evidence when searching for something that might well be beyond the human imagination, and how AI is being used to detect otherwise undetectable evidence. Tune in for everything from the importance of multidisciplinary science and funding basic research to citizen science programs, UFOs, and more.


    Key Points From This Episode:
    Fred Dust explains the notion of script spotting and the role of patterns in communication.Introducing Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute.A brief history of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) endeavor.The purpose of the SETI Institute and the notion it’s founded on.What the Drake Equation is and why it’s a central part of SETI’s operations.Why the SETI Institute studies life on Earth in its search for extraterrestrial life.The wide range of potentially discoverable techno signatures.The true purpose of the SETI endeavor.The importance of basic scientific research.The origin of Silicon Valley.NASA’s three fundamental science questions.The unlikelihood that we are alone in the universe.The question of evidence in the mission to detect unknown life forms.How AI is being used to detect evidence that might otherwise go undetected.Why and how the SETI Institute embraces multidisciplinary science.Why the institute doesn’t concern itself with unidentified aerial phenomena.SETI’s partnership with the Girl Scouts.Existing and upcoming citizen science programs.

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Designing Science Conversation
    Bill Diamond
    SETI Institute
    SETI Institute on Instagram
    CAMS
    SpacetimeLabs
    Dust & Company
    Nic DiPalma Creative
    Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication
    Fred Dust on Twitter
    Nic DiPalma on Twitter

    • 49 min
    Episode 6: Change with Dr. Grant Warner

    Episode 6: Change with Dr. Grant Warner

    There is nothing as equally unsettling and necessary as change, particularly in the world we live in today. Joining us to discuss the welcome changes in the fields of science and innovation, is the Director of Innovation at Howard University and member of the National Faculty of the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps program, Dr. Grant Warner. Dr. Warner opens up the conversation about failure as a signifier of change and shares his view on the mindset shift required in the academic world regarding failure. He provides insight into the military’s approach to innovation, explaining why it’s important to differentiate experimentation from institution. We touch on everything from helpful critique and human-centered pitches, to why we should be more concerned with the pathway problem, rather than the pipeline problem when it comes to facilitating black and brown scientists. Tune in to discover what it is that prevents us from seeing change and how we can become more astute in recognizing its imminence and significance.


    Key Points From This Episode:
    Why change is the most pivotal piece of a conversation, prior to creation.Dr. Grant Warner’s origin story.How failure signifies change.Dr. Warner’s favorite failure.Helpful ways to give critique.Significant changes in the field of innovation in academia.The mindset shift required in the academic world around failure.The importance of differentiating experimentation from institution.The military’s approach to innovation.What prevents us from seeing change.How to recognize the imminence and significance of change.Customer pitches versus investor pitches.How pitches can change to be more human-centered.The pathway (as opposed to the pipeline) problem for black and brown scientists.The third reconstruction following the dual pandemic.

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Designing Science Conversation
    Dr. Grant Warner
    Dr. Grant Warner on LinkedIn
    NSF’s Innovation Corps
    SpacetimeLabs
    Dust & Company
    Nic DiPalma Creative
    Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication
    Fred Dust on Twitter
    Nic DiPalma on Twitter

    • 34 min
    Episode 5: Context with Dr. Kim Arcand

    Episode 5: Context with Dr. Kim Arcand

    The lens through which we view the objects of our curiosity informs the context, as do the spaces in which we choose to converse. In this episode, we look at the topic of context from various angles, with astronomical insight from the one and only Dr. Kim Arcand, Visualization Scientist and Emerging Tech Lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. We discuss the mnemonic quality of space and the role of context in communication before Kim shares similarities between the micro and the macro, and the comfort she found in shifting from microscope to telescope. Kim’s role as a data visualizer and science communicator involves the consideration of alternative, non-visual ways of representing the universe, making science more accessible to everyone on earth. In our conversation, she fills us in on her incredible data sonification project, as well as the challenges and benefits of mapping astrological data into three dimensions for immersive AR/VR experiences. Join us as we contemplate the equalizing effect of conversing under the stars, the beauty of marrying art and science, and so much more!


    Key Points From This Episode:
    Introducing NASA data visualizer and science communicator, Dr. Kim Arcand. Co-host Fred Dust explains script spotting and the role of context in communication.The mnemonic quality of space and how spaces inform conversations.Kim’s role as a visualization scientist.Considering non-visual ways of representing the universe.Kim recalls the State of Women's Summit and shares her professional history.Her shift from microscope to telescope, and the similarities between the micro and the macro.How changing the lens through which we view something shifts the context.Kim’s most memorable moment under the stars.Her reaction to hearing the sonification of the galactic center for the first time.The importance of alternative, non-visual representations of scientific data.The challenge of mapping astrological data into three dimensions for immersive experiences.The learning potential AR/VR offers.The intention of VR experiences to enrich, rather than replace the planetarium experience.The benefit of exploring immersive, spatially based experiences The story behind Kim’s astronomical parody book, Goodnight Exomoon.The equalizing effect of conversing under the stars.The change required in the scientific field, in terms of inclusivity and diversity.

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Designing Science Conversation
    Dr. Kim Arcand
    Chandra X-Ray Observatory
    Dr. Kim Arcand on LinkedIn
    Dr. Kim Arcand on Twitter
    Dr. Kim Arcand on Instagram
    Magnitude: The Scale of the Universe
    Goodnight Exomoon
    SpacetimeLabs
    Dust & Company
    Nic DiPalma Creative
    Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication
    Fred Dust on Twitter
    Nic DiPalma on Twitter

    • 45 min
    Episode 4: Script Spotting with Dr. Evren Tok

    Episode 4: Script Spotting with Dr. Evren Tok

    Effective communication is challenging within a culture, but what about between cultures? Can we use traditional methods of communication to have the vital conversations needed to drive innovation? These are some of the questions we delve into in today’s conversation with Dr. Evren Tok, as we unpack the concept of script spotting. Dr. Tok is an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Innovation and Community Engagement at Hamad Bin Khalifa University and is also the Lead Project Investigator for Qatar National Research Priorities Program on localizing entrepreneurship education. Dr. Tok has a passion for understanding and designing ways for productive and meaningful conversations between people from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. His work focuses on the communication of ideas in a holistic way, including faith, to create context-driven solutions. He has vast experience in building mechanisms that disrupt traditional approaches to education and how we share ideas. Dr. Tok is renowned for founding the first makerspace in Qatar centered on the green economy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In our conversation, we learn about script spotting, how it is an essential tool to drive innovation on a global scale, and how the standard approaches to education and communication limit positive change. We also discuss the role of formal and informal spaces in driving effective communication, ways to disrupt the status quo of exchanging ideas, and the role of faith and culture in creating holistic solutions to problems. Dr. Tok also explains the concept of makerspaces and tells us about a unique experiment that provided him with profound insights on the subject. Don’t miss out on this fascinating conversation and the opportunity to learn about a progressive approach to effective communication, with Dr. Evren Tok.


    Key Points From This Episode:
    We start by learning what script spotting is and hear some conceptual examples.Dr. Tok talks about script spotting for innovation based on culture.He outlines some of the challenges he experienced regarding a script spotting experiment.Fred explains how creating a rhythm facilitates positive and productive conversation.Ways in which creating a physical space for exchanging ideas can be beneficial. The concept of Majlis for engaging in conversation is explained.Learn how economic behavior is embedded in the social and cultural fabric of people.The role of informal spaces in exchanging ideas and information between people.Hear some examples of where Fred and Dr. Tok have experienced rich conversation.Dr. Tok shares an experience of setting up a unique makerspace. Background about Dr. Tok and his professional career journey. 

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Designing Science Conversation
    Dr. Evren Tok on Google Scholar
    Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar
    Qatar National Vision 2030
    Qatar Red Crescent
    Qatar Red Crescent on Instagram
    Qatar Red Crescent on LinkedIn
    SpacetimeLabs
    Dust & Company
    Nic DiPalma Creative
    Fred Dust on Twitter
    Nic DiPalma on Twitter
    Vaccine Information

    • 40 min
    Episode 3: Clarity with Madeline Ashby

    Episode 3: Clarity with Madeline Ashby

    In this episode of Designing Science Conversations, we are very lucky to welcome science fiction writer, consulting futurist and speaker Madeline Ashby to talk to us about the theme of clarity. Madeline is the co-author the recent How to Future: Leading and Sense-Making in an Age of Hyperchange, and we delve into some of these themes in a fascinating discussion covering ideas about gender, utopia, truth, and vulnerability. Madeline makes some very interesting points about the need for an unflinching view of future possibilities, and how this sort of clarity can allow us to really get to grips with the state of the world moving forward. We also talk about how to go about cultivating a future-facing mindset, and why this requires us to look at things that have not yet been fully examined. One of the questions we had for Madeline was about the role of imagined dystopias in creating a dystopian reality, which led to an interesting exploration of why utopia is always harder to imagine and manifest than something terrible and oppressive. Our guest makes some really thought-provoking points about the role of sacrifice in achieving a greater good, and her hopes for the evolution of the human story. Join us to hear it all!


    Key Points From This Episode:
    Clarity, language, and technical diction; conversational problems we often encounter. Finding and recognizing truth in today's world, and Madeline's thoughts on our possible futures. Cultivating an internal nimbleness that serves your ability to think about the future.   The role of honest and vulnerable conversation in broadening perceptions of possibilities and probabilities.Our conceptions of dystopia, their impact on the reality around us, and the increased demands of utopia. Some powerful ideas on how society can achieve its aims through giving up certain things. Balancing opposing energies and the symbolism of the solar and lunar bodies. Breaking down generational constructs and the hope that we can find in younger people. Pushing the conversation forward in ways that empower people to tell their own future stories. Madeline's current perspective on the reality of being a woman in the sci-fi literary world. 

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
    Designing Science Conversation
    Madeline Ashby 
    How to Future: Leading and Sense-Making in an Age of Hyperchange
    Madeline Ashby on Twitter
    MIT Technology Review 
    ASU Center for Science in the Imagination
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Nevil Shute
    Joanna Russ
    We Have Always Fought
    Kameron Hurley
    SpacetimeLabs
    Dust & Company
    Nic DiPalma Creative
    Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication
    Fred Dust on Twitter
    Nic DiPalma on Twitter

    • 50 min

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