Thank them! The people behind @scienceblogging

Jan 27, 2008

The second annual North Carolina Science Blogging Conference, held January 18 and 19, 2008, was an unqualified success. Find a comprehensive listing of links (compiled by the tireless Bora) to the many blog entries and video clips posted before, during and after the conference to learn about the conversations and networking at the conference.

Like our inaugural event, this second conference was a collective activity — many, many organizations, companies and individuals pitched in, in ways large and small, to keep this conference free, attendees fed and the discussion lively.

Please join us in thanking them. (We thanked the sponsors of the first event here.)

As before, Bora Zivkovic is the inspiration for the event, and his daily cheerleading in spreading the word was simply awesome. Brian Russell was behind the scenes all year, providing us important support and technical advice. Wayne Sutton, newly appointed to his job as online community organizer for NBC-17, crisscrossed the Triangle, all the while trying out every new online networking tool that came to his attention. Wayne and Brian streamed or recorded many of the conference sessions, broadening the audience of the conference. Tola Oguntoyinbo set up the Conference Commons that aggregated blogs posts, Flickr pics and other content tagged

Paul Jones was our institutional contact, offering support; with his help, UNC-CH School of Journalism and Mass Communication once again provided a home base for our finances and accounting (by Ken Hales), and the UNC Health Sciences Library allowed us the use of its fantastic computer lab for the blogging skills session.

Even before our 2007 event was over, Russ Campbell of Burroughs Wellcome Fund was urging us to think bigger, and helping us win the funds to do so. The substantial grant from Burroughs Wellcome anchored the rest of our fundraising.

Roger Harris, Chris Brodie and Rosalind Reid of Sigma Xi also pledged their support at the first conference, and that led to Sigma Xi offering its beautiful building for the event. Interim Executive Director Linda Meadows gave us a nice welcome (and sent a touching congratulations note). Meg Murphy worked with us over many months to plan the best use of the space, and she calmly took in our mercurial program changes.

JMP Software, was another repeat sponsor and cash donor. New donors this years were the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, The Hamner Institute for Health Sciences, CrossRef and WNCN NBC-17 — their generous gifts allowed us to guarantee an ample supply of coffee, good food throughout the day and travel grants to many of our discussion leaders.

Science lab tours
This year, we introduced pre-conference activities including visits to local science labs. Karl Bates at Duke University (he’s just unveiled a cool new site, Research at Duke) helped to line up three popular lab tours. (Full disclosure: Duke is my employer.) Erin Knight at the Hamner Institutes, Cyndy Yu Robinson of the EPA, and Roy Campbell at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences also set up and facilitated tours of labs at their organizations.

Grab bag of science swag
Once again, we worked hard to put together a grab bag filled with useful, interesting and fun resources — not just stuff, but science-related materials that could inform conference attendees and then be shared with the libraries, schools and newsrooms in the communities of the attendees. The Museum of Life and Science (cool new website) and American Association for the Advancement of Science, at the instigation of Troy Livingston, VP for innovation & learning, stepped up to provide awesome canvas tote bags.

And into those bags we stuffed materials from ACD Labs, American Scientist, The HMS Beagle Project, Campbell-Kibler Associates, Columbia University Press, Coral Reef Alliance, Discover, HarperCollins, Michigan State University, MSNBC, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, National Geographic Society, Nature, OpenHelix, Oregon Public Broadcasting, PLoS-One, Project Exploration, Science News, Scienceblogs, Scientific American, Seed Publishing, Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Project, The Scientist, Wired and Wired Science.

Discussion Leaders
The conference offered 14 sessions in all, and each session was led by one or more individuals. See the program page to see who did what. Special thanks to Adnaan Wasey and Abel Pharmboy for very ably filling in as discussion moderators at the last moment. The rest: Dr.Hemai Parthasarathy, Janet Stemwedel, Adnaan Wasey, Kevin Zelnio, Karen James, Rick MacPherson, Peter Etnoyer, Jason Robertshaw, Vedran Vucic, Suzanne Franks, Karen Ventii, Patricia B. Campbell, ScienceWoman , David Warlick, Martin Rundkvist, Shelley Batts, Sarah Wallace, Anne-Marie Hodge, Anna Kushnir, Brian Switek, Xan Gregg, Jean-Claude Bradley, Tara Smith, Becky Oskin, Dave Munger, Chris Mooney, Jennifer Jacquet, Sheril Kirshenbaum and Jennifer Ouellette.

My mother, Cheryl Zuiker, wanted to see me in action, so she volunteered to work the registration table at the conference. Elle Cayabyab Gitlin and Abel Pharmboy also helped greet people, and Brian Switek and Martin Rundkvist passed out T-shirts and grab bags. Rob Zelt picked up the morning pastries and got them to the hall on time. Rob and Wayne and Brian and Bora assisted during the Friday skills session.

All those heavy grab bags of science swag? It took a crew to pack those: Ernie Hood, John Rees, Wayne Sutton, Bora Zivkovic, Andrea Novicki, Troy Livingston, Brian Russell and Jonathan Tarr.

The Food
Meals were catered or ordered from Fetzko Coffees (Brian and Ruby suggested this), Weaver Street Market, Saladelia Cafe, Locopops and Bullocks Barbecue. The Friday dinner was held at Town Hall Grill.

So, thanks again to all the individuals and organizations supporting our free, public-understanding-of-science conference. If I’ve missed you, please tell me so that I can acknowledge your role in making this event so successful.

Anton Zuiker

© 2000 Zuiker Chronicles Publishing, LLC