Author Archives: Josh Witten

In Memory of Helen

We received the tragic news that we lost Helen Chappell today. You can read about Helen in her own words here.

Helen was an invaluable member of the science communication community and the human community. I first met in person at ScienceOnline. Every experience I had with Helen was delightful and, she was always very positive about what we are doing here at The Finch & Pea.

Helen, Eric & Ursula

We are left to support her partner Eric and their infant daughter, Ursula. Friends have established a fund to help support her family and offset the costs of her medical care. If you have anything to spare, please consider helping to support her family in this time of need.

WiFi + Fire + Happy Red Jellybean by Helen Chappell

Feminalist Science Posters

by Hydrogene (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Hyrdogene generally creates minimalist posters around science-y themes. The set of six she created celebrating women who made a big impact on science and the world is particularly compelling. According to the FAQs, an online store selling the posters will be opening up this summer, hopefully in time for my birthday.

Running Low – Science for The People

#259 - News from the Dark

#260 - Running Low

This week, Science for The People looks across the Periodic Table and assesses the scarcity of modern society’s essential elements. They’re joined by Dr. Thomas Graedel, Director of the Center for Industrial Ecology at Yale University, to talk about the rare metals that play a role in our electronic devices. They’ll also speak to physics Professor Dr. Moses Hung-Wai Chan about our dwindling supply of helium. And they’ll talk about the phosphorous that plays a critical role in modern agriculture, with ecology professor Dr. James Elser, co-organizer of the Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative at Arizona State University.

The Extreme Life of the Sea

The Extreme Life of the Sea by father-son team Stephen R Palumbi (marine biologist) and Anthony R Palumbi (science writer & novelist) was, to me, like a grown-up version of some of my favorite childhood books – books of interesting animal facts, like how high a mountain lion can jump or how fast a house fly can fly.

The Extreme Life of the Sea is less narrative and more an enthusiastic sharing of cool things in the sea, which are loosely tied together in thematic sections. It is not, however, just a collection of “gee whiz” facts. The compelling vignettes help to convey broader concepts of science and nature with excitement and enthusiasm.

Most of all, the Palumbis remind the reader that science and nature are not just important, they are fun. Continue reading

News from the Dark – Science for The People

#259 - News from the Dark

#259 – News from the Dark

This week, Science for The People is peering out into the black to learn about deepest space, and our own night sky. They talk to Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, about recent measurements of gravity waves, and what they tell us about the birth of the Universe. They also speak to journalist and essayist Paul Bogard about his book “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.” And Noisy Astronomer Nicole Gugliucci tells them about a project using citizen science to map the surface of the moon.