Figure One

Science. Communication. Community.

Dispatch from ScienceOnline2013

Good afternoon!

I’m in Raleigh, North Carolina, this week for the 7th Annual ScienceOnline Un-conference. Yesterday wasn’t the best day for travel, since a large swath of the Midwest and Southeast was under a barrage of red, orange, yellow and green, but for the most part, my fellow attendees have arrived and are settling in for a day of well-planned, but casual conferencing.

If you haven’t heard of ScienceOnline before, many great explainers have already been written. If you have a thing for science and communication and the internet, join us next year.

Yesterday, I trekked over to the Hunt Library on NC State’s Centennial Campus with Matt Shipman and others to peruse the stacks in a whole new way. The James B. Hunt, Jr. Library, which officially opened earlier this month, has a BookBot that fetches books for patrons from steel bins in less than 5 minutes.

Rather than organized by subject or author or some other traditional method, the books are tagged and hand-sorted into bins based on their physical dimensions. If the library’s collection were on traditional shelves, they would take up nine times as much space. Students and others can use their smartphones to request books that the BookBot then retrieves.

Check out this post from Scott Huler to see the BookBot in action. Below you’ll also find a few photos from the beautiful new library and creative space.




Highlights from the first 24 hours:

Opening night at the Museum of Natural Sciences with commentary from science comedian and curator of the museum’s Daily Planet, Brian Malow.

Yoga on Thursday morning with fellow scientists and writers.

Mars Curiosity is a GIRL! …and three ladies from JPL provide her bravado.

David Dobbs says there are four types of story: narrative, argument, explanation and kittens.

If you want to see what’s next, here’s the schedule.


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This entry was posted on January 31, 2013 by in Science Journalism.
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