Q&A with Brian David Johnson

June 26th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Dimensions magazine.

The child running around your exhibit floor may someday become a driving force for forward-thinking. That was the course for Brian David Johnson, futurist at Intel, whose job entails envisioning what’s next for science and technology. To gear up for the near future—when he will deliver the opening keynote address at the 2012 ASTC Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio, in October—Johnson talked with Dimensions about getting rid of technological “boogeymen” and how our imaginations are the most critical tools of all.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

On Screen, On Air, Online: Science Centers and Media

May 30th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

May/June 2012

The field of media is rapidly changing along with new technologies and ever-evolving audience expectations. Many science centers and museums are at the forefront of these changes, whether they are partnering with local public broadcasting stations or producing their own media offerings in house. In this issue, we examine how science centers and museums are using media (including TV, radio, planetarium shows, and internet platforms) to increase science literacy, deepen engagement, and empower their communities.


• Supporting Innovation in a Changing Media Landscape, by Marti Louw
• Partners on a Science QUEST, by Sue Ellen McCann
• Influencing Change: Community Initiatives Are not Museum Projects, by Ayesha Rowe and Hooley McLaughlin
• Science Centers as Science Media Centers, by Morten Busch
“Ideas Worth Spreading”: TEDxColumbus at COSI, by Andy Aichele
• Engaging Latino Families in Informal Science, by Lisa Chappa, Melissa R. Cigarroa, Jennifer Correa, Derlly González, Lisa Regalla, and Alicia Santiago
• The Worldviews Network: Planetariums for Ecological Literacy, by Ka Chun Yu, Healy Hamilton, Rachel Connolly, David McConville, and Ned Gardiner

Download the full issue.

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“Ideas Worth Spreading”: TEDxColumbus at COSI

May 30th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

By Andy Aichele
From Dimensions
May/June 2012

Last November, hundreds of people attended two TEDx events at COSI in Columbus, Ohio. They listened to and engaged with speakers exploring topics ranging from modern urban violence to the future of architecture, from hospice care in South Africa to the habits of wasps in California. And with provocative titles like “Eat the Eyeball,” the topics were definitely engaging! The audiences were also treated to dynamic performances by dancers, poets, and a band offering up “musical gumbo.” They even experienced COSI’s own demonstration of exploding hydrogen balloons, synchronized to the cannon fire of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

TEDx events are independently organized by communities, organizations, and individuals to stimulate dialogue at the local level. These events are licensed by TED, whose conferences highlight presenters from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED talks feature “ideas worth spreading” and are widely watched around the world through online broadcasts. (more…)

No Bad Questions

May 29th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

“There are no bad questions, only bad answers.”

Implicit in this well-worn expression is the purity of inquiry, the virtue of asking, and the excitement of self-initiated discovery.

The adage comes to mind as I reflect on an interesting workshop on inquiry-based learning (IBL) that convened just prior to the start of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, held in February in Vancouver, Canada. My thanks to AAAS and to Science World British Columbia, TELUS World of Science (our ASTC-member science center in Vancouver) for organizing and hosting this workshop. (more…)

Do you think science centers and museums should advocate for particular positions on controversial issues?

April 23rd, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, Viewpoints by Emily Schuster

This is an extended discussion of the question that appeared in the Viewpoints department of the May/June 2012 issue of Dimensions magazine.

There are more ways in which a science center can be seen to be advocating a position than by just saying it outright. If you call yourself a science center, for example, your audience is likely to draw a conclusion as to where you stand in the evolution/creationism debate. The International Centre for Life leases space to a cutting-edge stem cell research lab, and however much we may hold debates on the ethics of stem cell research, by doing this we are clearly implicit supporters of the research

Ian Simmons, science communication director, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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