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TALKFEST - Sounds of science

TALKFEST - Sounds of science

Wednesday 29 February 2012
18:30 - 20:30
Charles Darwin House, London


This Talkfest event celebrated the aural qualities of science. A rich and lively discussion ensued, from the innovative storytelling of science on mainstream radio to niche podcasting, from science-inspired music to sharing sound-clips of scientific life.



Topics discussed included:

The importance of sound in science

The evocative power of audio for communicating the emotion of science, and whether sound quality actually matters

Whether audio could be as interactive and sharable as video and text

Why we should all be uploading Boos

If 'ultimedia' will ever be a reality

Why the BMJ started to do podcasts

We also discovered that Lord Kelvin struggled with the pronounciation of 'electron'.


After the event:

A podcast is available here; our gratitude to panelist Martin Austwick for recording the event.


You can also search Twitter for the #talkfest hashtag for some interesting discussion from before, during and after the event, as well as some additional links. Here are some of the sounds that were presented on the night:

Discovery LAUNCHING! (presented by Kate Arkless Gray, recording her experience watching the launch of Discovery at the Kennedy Space Centre in 2011)

Sounds of... Tottenham Court Road (Martin Austwick senses the city)

A selection of sounds from the Oral History of Science Project (Tom Lean)

How to Write An Instruction Manual (as produced by Michelle Martin, presented by Mark Miodownik)


Blog posts:

Podcasting (Thom Hoffman)

Sounds of science: using audio to bring science podcasting to life (Melanie Hall)


You can also read Alice Bell's pre-event blog on the sounds of science and watch science communication going viral.


Chair and panellists:


Chair - Dr Alice Bell
Chair - Dr Alice Bell

Alice Bell is Senior Teaching Fellow in Science Communication at Imperial College London. She has worked widely in public engagement and science education and has a PhD on children's science books. She has worked in online science writing since 2001, and has a research interest in scientist bloggers. You can follow Alice on Twitter.

Kate Arkless Gray
Kate Arkless Gray
Kate describes herself as "a freelancing radio-producer/broadcast journalist type thing" who fell in love with doing radio at university. She currently works as an Editor at AudioBoo. You can follow Kate on Twitter.

Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick
Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick

Martin Zaltz Austwick is a lecturer in spatial analysis and visualisation at UCL-CASA, a Sony-Award Winning podcaster, and a singer-songwriter who records and performs songs about science (and other topics). His favourite note is C above middle C. You can follow Martin on Twitter.

Thom Hoffman
Thom Hoffman

Thom has worked as a Multimedia Producer at the British Medical Journal for over 2 years making podcasts, videos, animations and bits of internet. His work has covered swine flu, radiation health, suicide prevention and paediatric palliative care. In his spare time he makes short films and whatnot and blogs about culture. You can follow Thom on Twitter.

Dr Thomas Lean
Dr Thomas Lean

Tom Lean is an Oral Historian of Science with a PhD in the history of computing and a wide interest in vintage geekery. He works for the British Library on An Oral History of British Science, interviewing retired applied scientists and engineers about their careers.

Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin

Michelle Martin is a senior producer at the BBC's Science Radio Unit, making documentaries, magazine shows and short packages for Radio 4 and World Service. Her favourite sound is the Colossus computer at Bletchley Park and her least favourite is the alarm clock. You can follow Michelle on Twitter.