Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scientists Peer Into Their Crystal Ball

One of the stories highlighted on the science pages of the New York Times this week is a multimedia piece called Voices: What's Next in Science by Carl Zimmer. I think the piece is interesting to note because it uses audio clips, pictures, and short write ups to give an overview of what scientists in a variety of disciplines predict will be hot topics in their field in the coming year.

The scientific areas featured are Space Science, Conservation Ecology, Ocean Science, Game Design, Climate Change, Genomics, Neuroscience, Engineering, Biotechnology, and Mathematics. I found these choices a little puzzling. What about stem cells, or biomedical research as a whole? The piece includes engineering and mathematics but ignores physics and chemistry, why? Also, while I find science gaming interesting and I think its a great new field for encouraging people to become interested in science, I don't see how it fits in with the other specialities.

I also find it interesting that they use the term conservation ecology, which is specific and scientific, but then they use the term ocean science as a lump term for all the specialities that involve the ocean, and the same for space. It doesn't really seem cohesive for me to flip flop between specific and general.

The audio clips, and the fact that the write ups are so short make this a very accessible article that I think even people who don't typically read science news could be interested in. It is a good example of how to use multimedia, without having to go terribly out of your way as a journalist.

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