January 30, 2016
"Picture the flag on a pirate ship. What do you see?" This question opens the second episode of Bone Lab Radio, the new podcast co-founded by ComSciCon15 alumna Jenny Qi, a Graduate Student in Biomedical Sciences at UC San Francisco. Like every episode of the Bone Lab, this hook thrusts the reader into a fascinating story of the life and death of organisms, the remains they leave behind, and how scientists use these remains to study the past.
The podcast narrator continues, "A grinning skull and bones crossed in an ominous 'X.' Those bones are always gleaming white. But have you ever thought about how they got that way? ...This episode tells the story of how a living, breathing organism turns into a pile of bones."
Episode 2 of The Bone Lab, "Bones Don't Lie," is doubly special for ComSciCon because it's interview subject is Myeashea Alexander, a Graduate Student in Biological Anthropology at CUNY Hunter College and author of the Rockstar Anthropologist blog. Jenny and Myeashea met at ComSciCon15.
Jenny explains, "Beyond our interest in the science and stories of bones, we are also interested in the stories of the fascinating people who study them. As four female scientists with diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, we are making a conscious effort to include and promote the voices of women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in STEM."
"We started brainstorming ideas for the project just before I attended ComSciCon," Jenny says. "At the time, I was interested in trying out a multimedia approach to communication but only had previous experience with written journalism. ComSciCon gave me an excellent introduction to the wide range of possible ways to tell stories about science and the amazing people who do it."
In addition to exposing her to new ideas about using multimedia to communicate science, Jenny was united with potential collaborators among ComSciCon's graduate student attendees and influenced by ComSciCon's expert speakers. "Importantly, ComSciCon bought me into contact with so many interesting and passionate young scientists and like minds, such as Myeashea. For this particular project, it was really helpful to listen to Ari Daniel talk about his experience and offer suggestions," Jenny reports.
The Bone Lab is sponsored by the American Association of Anatomists. In the words of its founders:
The Bone Lab was founded by a group of scientists and friends in San Francisco. We are academic researchers, science communicators, and bone enthusiasts who believe that bones have qualities that capture the imagination. Whether fossilized, x-rayed, cataloged in a museum, or moving us through our daily lives, bones have stories to tell.
You can follow the Bone Lab, listen to their podcast, and learn more about their work here: