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Tag: scicomm

First Official Member’s Meeting

First Official Member’s Meeting

  • Thurs., Feb. 7, 2019
  • Location: GasPedal Ranch in NE Austin (10300 Springdale Rd, Austin, TX 78754)
  • 6–8 pm; official meeting starts at 6:30 pm to better accommodate those coming from across town. We will also consider moving the meeting around town.
  • Bring an old or new science book to exchange!

 

Now that you’ve gotten to know us and the others around Central Texas, let make this official! ATXSciWri’s first official member’s meeting will take place on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 at GasPedal Ranch in northeast Austin. ATXSciWri members and those potentially interested in joining, or just plain curious, are welcome to join. If you’ve been thinking about and just haven’t gotten around to it, please become a member today and help turn Texas into a hub for science literacy. To the many of you that have–thank you.

This meeting will be about planning but it won’t be just a boring administrative meeting. Afterwards, we’ll exchange our most beloved or willing-to-depart-with science nonfiction books, and remind ourselves of our personal and professional goals of this year (New Year’s resolutions don’t end in January!) We’ll also be introducing, welcoming ideas and feedback, as well as opportunities to help lead for this year’s programming, including things like accountability partnering, workshop break-outs, science-brews field trips, K-12 literacy programming, and more. Been looking for something new to add to your resume this year?

If you’re interested in getting involved on the board or within a committee, this is your chance to hear about it before we have official nominations and voting.

General plan
6–6:30 meet and greet;
6:30–7:15 talk about direction and ways to get involved, including at the upcoming March workshop;
Fun activities to follow like book exchange, goal setting, and drinks

We hope to see you there!
ATXSciWri Board
ATXSciRead: Science & Nature Book Club

ATXSciRead: Science & Nature Book Club

Austin Texas Science Writers (ATXSciWri) launched a science + nature writing book club in collaboration with BookPeople, ATXSciRead.  In theme with Valentine’s Day, in February we’ll discuss Christopher Ryan’s SEX AT DAWN: HOW WE MATE, WHY WE STRAY, AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR MODERN RELATIONSHIPS. Head to BookPeople for 10% off if you mention the club or order online through the link. Save the date: Sunday, 2/3 at 4 pm on the third floor of BookPeople (use the back elevators).

We’ll revisit the classics and explore cutting-edge titles, from neuroscience to natural history, astrophysics to animal behavior. ATXSciRead meets the first Sunday of every month at 4 pm.

Upcoming meetings and titles (determined by book club members via ranked choice voting):

 

FEBRUARY

Sunday, 2/3 at 4pm: Christopher Ryan’s SEX AT DAWN: HOW WE MATE, WHY WE STRAY, AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR MODERN RELATIONSHIPS

 

MARCH

Sunday, 3/3 at 4pm: Alice Flaherty’s THE MIDNIGHT DISEASE: THE DRIVE TO WRITE, WRITER’S BLOCK, AND THE CREATIVE BRAIN

ATXSciRead: Science & Nature Book Club

ATXSciRead: Science & Nature Book Club

Austin Texas Science Writers (ATXSciWri) launched a science + nature writing book club in collaboration with BookPeople, ATXSciRead. For the January book club, we’ll read David Quammen’s “The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life”–a book delving into the history of molecular genetics and how it’s revolutionized how we think about the tree of life. If you’re interested in horizontal gene transfer, or how–for example–roughly eight percent of the human genome is a result of viral infection, then come discuss with us!  Head to BookPeople for 10% off if you mention the club or order online through the link. Save the date: Sunday, 1/6 at 4 pm on the third floor of BookPeople (use the back elevators).

We’ll revisit the classics and explore cutting-edge titles, from neuroscience to natural history, astrophysics to animal behavior. ATXSciRead meets the first Sunday of every month at 4 pm.

Upcoming meetings and titles (determined by book club members via ranked choice voting):

JANUARY

Sunday, 1/6 at 4pm: David Quammen’s THE TANGLED TREE

FEBRUARY

Sunday, 2/3 at 4pm: Christopher Ryan’s SEX AT DAWN: HOW WE MATE, WHY WE STRAY, AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR MODERN RELATIONSHIPS

MARCH

Sunday, 3/3 at 4pm: Alice Flaherty’s THE MIDNIGHT DISEASE: THE DRIVE TO WRITE, WRITER’S BLOCK, AND THE CREATIVE BRAIN

Can You Predict a Classic Read?

Can You Predict a Classic Read?

Written by BookPeople discussion facilitator of ATXSciRead, Christine Havens

 

The world of fiction has its canon, those books agreed upon by old white men sitting in closed rooms, though PBS’ The Great American Read recently and publicly gave more voice to “everyday” readers, thus opening up the list of novels considered classics. Each fiction genre has its own canon, too. But what about the non-fiction realm, specifically the genre of science? Which books are the standards, the classics, the ones that a person studying science would be shame-faced to admit he, she, or they haven’t read?

That’s a question that has come up in the first two ATXSciRead book group gatherings. Our first meeting, in October, was a discussion of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring; we read Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t (2012) for November’s gathering. While the group readily agreed that Carson’s book is a classic because of her impassioned, eloquent writing and her topic, the consensus was that Silver’s book might not become part of the canon of science writing. Both books have been groundbreaking, or at least, Silver’s work has been groundbreaking, however, members felt that The Signal and The Noise lacked a certain resonance that marks a classic.

That doesn’t mean the group didn’t enjoy the book. Each person related more strongly to certain sections than others. Not all could relate to Silver’s discussion about baseball stats, but did find his discussion of hurricane prediction relevant, though he misses some things about climate change. Election prediction and just the ideas of prediction, statistics, and the human desire to look for patterns formed a large part of our conversation. Silver’s challenge to readers about whether they were hedgehogs or foxes garnered laughter as we each considered our responses.

While not every book that the group reads must be a classic, or have the potential of becoming one, the question makes for thoughtful conversation, especially since a few folks are also science writers who look to the books being read as examples for themselves. And even for those who are not hoping to become accomplished authors in the genre, the question sparks thoughts of future generations of readers. It’s not easy to predict a classic, or is it?

For example, our December read is Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach, who is herself becoming a classic, or at least a standard, of science writing. Roach’s books and articles are easily accessible for the layperson, on subjects that often involve the quirks surrounding our physical bodies and our humanity. Her style is light, humorous, informative, and relevant. They’re always on the Indie Next and NYT bestseller lists. Will her works stand the test of time?

Join us on December 2, at 4:00 pm, on BookPeople’s third floor for what’s sure to be a lively discussion about that question, as well as ones about your “ick factor,” your favorite smell, and more. Here is an article Roach wrote for Smithsonian magazine about the science behind hot peppers: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/the-gut-wrenching-science-behind-the-worlds-hottest-peppers-73108111/.

Gulp, and the other upcoming titles will be available to purchase at BookPeople for a 10% discount.

ATX Sci Read is the brainchild of Austin Texas Science Writers, a local non-profit devoted to science communication. You can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for updates about our upcoming book-club reads.

In January, we’ll discuss the The Tangled Tree by David Quammen.

 

August ATXSciWri Happy Hour

August ATXSciWri Happy Hour

Join ATXSciWri for its second happy hour to chat about science communication. Stop by Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches in East Austin on Thursday August 16 from 6:00 to 7:30 and learn about plans for our fall workshop, book club, field trips, and co-work hours. Become a stakeholder in your local scicomm community and help us ramp up science communication in Central Texas! More info at www.atxsciwri.org.

Batch is on Manor, a block East of Airport Blvd on Austin’s East side. The cafe has craft beer and cider on tap, wine, and an espresso bar, in addition to a few hundred bottled beers in their cooler. Before 7:00, the corkage fee for those bottled beers is waived (it’s usually $2). For snacks, they have kolaches and salads. And on Thursday nights, Batch has a jazz band starting at 8:00, if you want to hang around after the ATXSciWri meet-up for live music.

 

See other interested attendees on our Facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2160836984199201/