Announcing Science Online NYC! (SoNYC)

(Cross-posted from Of Schemes and Memes)

We’re delighted to be able to share some details of a new monthly event for anyone based in New York who’s interested in how science is carried out and communicated online., in collaboration with co-organisers Jeanne Garbarino at Rockefeller University, "John Timmer ":!/j_timmer at Ars Technica and Joe Bonner from Rockefeller and SWINY, will be hosting a monthly discussion series consisting of a panel debate followed by audience Q&A and post-debate networking. We’d love you to come along!

The first SoNYC event will take place on Wednesday 20th April from 7pm at Rockefeller University (Caspary 1A/B – location 5 on this map), later adjourning to the Faculty and Students Club on-campus bar. The topic for discussion is:

Courting Controversy: how to successfully engage an online audience with complex or controversial topics.

Climate change. Nuclear safety. Vaccination. These are topics where scientific and medical experts are nearly unanimous when it comes to the basics. But the public has remained uncertain and sometimes hostile to the scientific understanding, in part because of the efforts of vocal and well organized groups that argue against the consensus position. In other cases, like the recent events in Japan, expert opinions have been drowned out by rumors and a rush to provide coverage.

Join us to discuss how science communicators can help ensure that accurate information rises above the noise, and the challenges faced by experts who attempt to reach the public directly. Our panel includes researchers who have engaged the press and the public about climate change, vaccines, and the perception of risk.

Ken Bromberg is the director of the Vaccine Research Center at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, and has made frequent appearances in the media to discuss vaccine safety.

David Ropeik is a former journalist who now lectures and consults on risk perception. In recent entries at his blog, On Risk, he has tackled vaccines and nuclear safety.

Gavin Schmidt is a climate researcher at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and a driving force behind the RealClimate blog. His public outreach efforts have included an appearance on the Letterman Show.

The aim is to make these meet-ups as interactive as possible; please bring your ideas, your experiences and your enthusiasm for a lively debate and chance to meet other like-minded NYC sci comm. folks. Once we’ve held the first event, we’ll be asking for your feedback and suggestions for the next one so that this becomes an regular, inclusive opportunity for the discussion of all things related to how science is carried out and communicated online.

You can find us online at the following places:

Twitter: @S_O_NYC hashtag: #sonyc

Facebook: SoNYC page

Please let us know if you’re planning to come by signing up on Eventbrite as it helps to ensure we have the right sized room and enough for everyone to drink. Feel free to invite your colleagues and friends too. If you have any questions, do send Lou an email (

Hope to see you in April!

Introducing the Nature Network NYC Hub Leaders

Chris Wiggins is an associate professor of applied mathematics at Columbia. His research is in applications of machine learning and statistical inference in biology, including expression data, image data, biophysical time series data, and biological networks. He started the ‘Nature Network NYC Group’ (now the NYC Hub) in March 2007 in disbelief that Nature didn’t recognize that NYC was already a hub.


Jeffrey Lancaster is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the chemistry department at Columbia University. His research focuses on the intersection between photochemistry, polymer chemistry, and surface chemistry, and he specifically is interested in universal methods for surface functionalization. Jeffrey became involved with the NYC hub after a chance encounter with Nature Network’s Lou Woodley on a train in Austria on their way to the 60th meeting of Nobel Laureates and Graduate Students in Lindau, Germany. He is also a freelance web designer, maintains an interest in the history of science, is relatively new to the blogosphere, and tends to overuse ellipses…


Jonathan Zwart (@brideyrevisited) is an observational cosmologist at Columbia, from where, via a telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile, he stares at the cosmic microwave background – the now-faint radiation produced when ions in the early Universe became cool enough to combine with electrons – in order to understand the early Universe. Before that Jon was fortunate enough to spend all of his noughties in (the old) Cambridge, where he was a co-founder and later editor of the science magazine BlueSci. Don’t tell his boss, but in his spare time he’s been updating a best-selling popular astronomy book, of which more in due course he’s sure.

Meanwhile, Jon’s exploring this awesome City and speaking fondly of Blighty. He is fascinated by the interaction of science and faith. He also loves learning about, and evangelizing about, science in all its forms – do let him know if you spot a good talk coming up. Or, if you can give him a job from next June, he’d be wrapped to hear from you, too.

#NYCscitweetup tonight!

Those of you on Twitter may have noticed that I’m back in New York this week and keen to meet any local scientists or sci-comm folk. As Scientific American’s new Blogs Editor, Bora Zivkovic is also in town we thought it was a good excuse for a #NYCscitweetup.

Please join us from 7pm tonight in the "Kilarney Rose. ": We’ve reserved a space upstairs – ask for John or Noel if you have any problems finding us.

Hope to see you there!

Nature Network New York pub night – 28th July 2010

Can we buy you a drink?

Join NatureJobs at the Nature Network New York Pub Night and explore local educational and career opportunities in style!

Location: Klimat Bar and Restaurant 77 E 7th St (Between 2nd and 1st Avenue)

Date: Wednesday July 28th 2010

Time: 7pm – 9.30pm

Details: Explore local education and career opportunities at the Nature Network New York Pub Night – co-sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Center for Biotechnology’s Fundamentals of the Bioscience Industry Program. Hear from working scientists, hiring managers and other professionals on taking those critical steps in your life sciences careers. Expect an informative evening where undergraduates, graduates, postdocs and science professionals can ask questions and get first-hand accounts of how to advance their careers. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and give advice on taking those next crucial steps.

Space is limited so don’t miss out – RSVP for Nature Network New York Pub Night today! We’ll see you there.

Register here