Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Science Blogging Conference Update

NCSBClogo175.pngThe conference is only 19 days from today! It's getting really exciting!

The program is shaping really well:

On Thursday (January 18th) we will have a teach-in session. About 20 people have signed up so far. We'll use Wordpress to help them start their own blogs, so I'll have to make one of my own in advance and play around to figure out the platform before I teach others.

On Friday (January 19th), we'll have dinner and all the bloggers present will read their posts. We have not decided on the place yet, but perhaps a site that has wifi, or a screen and a projector would be good as the posts can be seen as well as heard.

On Saturday (January 20th), we'll have a busy program. We have two speakers: a scientist - Hunt Willard (director of the Duke Insitute for Genome Sciences & Policy) and a science blogger - Janet Stemwedel (Adventures in Ethics And Science).

Then, we'll have four (or five) break-out sessions in an Unconference format - the participants take the lead and the leaders guide and moderate.

We decided not to have these sessions cover different areas of science, but different ways blogs, podcasts and other internet technologies can be used: a) research (e.g., using a blog as a public lab-notebook, online publishing), b) teaching (using the online technologies in the classroom), c) popularization of science (how to blog well, including the importance of visual props - illustration) and d) informing the public (e.g., public health, medicine, countering un-scientific forces in the society, etc. perhaps broken into wo sessions: one on science, one on medicine and public health). We have lined up four excellent people to moderate these sessions (not everything is on the wiki-page yet but will be soon).

Afterwards, we will go to dinner. If you have registered already, or plan to register soon, please do not forget to sign up for one of the dinners. Just edit the wiki and enter your name where you want.

At this moment we have 109 people registered for the conference. Some locals will probably sign up at the last minute. Some of the people coming from very far away may still be waiting for good deals on plane tickets before they sign up. If you are considering this, it would be good if you could sign up as soon as possible so we have a good idea how many people to plan for in terms of space, food, swag, etc.

If you browse through the list of registrants, you will see what a great diversity of people there will be, a potential for cross-fertilization leading to high hybrid vigor! There are people from four continents coming to Chapel Hill in January to meet with us, as well as people from a number of States. There are science, medical and technology bloggers, web-designers, research scientists working in academia, government and industry, physicians, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, even high school students. There will be editors of science and medical journals and magazines, journalism professors and students, local journalists, and science writers. There will be science teachers at all levels - elementary, middle, high school and college. There will be local elected officials, and staff of state departments. And, I hope, you will be there as well!

We have attracted quite a lot of cool sponsors for the conference, so you can excpect some really good stuff in your swag bags! Still, both Anton and I are quite bad at begging for money. We do need a little bit more - can you or your organization be a sponsor, or donor, or host? If so, let Anton know as soon as possible.

And we may just be able to pull it off to have the Anthology ready to be distributed at the conference.

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