Meet your Hero 2 weeks from today

I have a pretty cool job, at a pretty cool place.  and that’s good enough for me.  But sometimes something really cool happens at my job that makes me giddy.  It just so happens that one of these things has happened!

Alan Alda is coming into my office in a few weeks and I’m totally stoked.   You’re all asking: are you a really be fan of M*A*S*H?  No, I’m not, but I was a somewhat regular viewer of the PBS show Scientific American Frontiers when I was growing up.  Something that I’ve always admired about Alan Alda is that he’s an artist (an actor) that spends a lot of time explaining and promoting science.  I actually once read him referred to as “actor and science communicator” because that’s what he does. He himself isn’t really a scientist, he just communicates the science, and makes it interesting and digest-able to laypeople.

Sometime this last year I decided that this exact activity, interpreting science for people using art and media, was just about my favorite thing in the world.  It happened when I got obsessed with NPR’s RadioLab and then I realized that my ideal job in life would be to host science documentaries.  My mind raced: who are my heroes in this field?  I came up with two answers:  1) Bill Nye the Science Guy.  I follow him on twitter, but unfortunately many people have told me he’s a jerk… or was it that his stand-up is really dirty? (or was that Bob Saget?)

2)  Alan Alda. Because He’s so genuinely fascinated by the science and I gotta love him.

Did I get to the point yet?  He wrote a book about Marie Currie and I work for the company that’s publishing it. And in a few weeks he’ll actually be coming into the office to meet everyone.  I have friends who claim they’re used the secret to make things happen. Perhaps this is my own version of that.

Touch at a Distance

I’m listening to Radio Lab while at work and they are conducting sort of a meta show where they discuss how they use sound and music in their editing process. For a long time I have been fascinated by this broadcast because of their savvy, imaginative productions. Jad is interview one of his personal heroes, Walter Merch, who edited such films as the Godfather, cold mountain, etc. Mr. Merch explained that the oldest senses creatures have according to the evolutionary progress is Touch, or smell. Hearing, by contrast is the last sense to truly develop. because what is hearing but an extremely sophisticated sense of touch at a distance?

Interestingly, the sense of hearing is the first sense to develop in unborn children during gestation. With the barrier of the mother’s body the child cannot see, touch, smell or taste the outside world… but they can hear it. Hearing is the only sense that travels through matter.

There needs to be a new word to describe the type of joy I feel when I learn about the world from programs like this. It’s fascination at the topic. It’s inspiration derived from the skill of the teachers. It’s hopeful. It’s joy. — j