It grows in a Petri dish

Apr 30, 2013

Most days, after I get home from work and prepare dinner for the family or clean the kitchen, then go through the bedtime routines with the children, I sit down to the glass desk in our front office at about this time (8:17 p.m. as I write this). I go through the day’s snail mail, paying the bills and tossing the crap that the banks relentlessly send, and clean a space on the desk for my laptop. But before I open that, log on and spend the next few hours reading and writing and surfing the web, I pick up this amazing gift that Josh Witten gave me at ScienceOnline2013 back in January:

Petri dish

Josh gave me that glass dish — it’s a work of art by science artist Michele Banks (@artologica) — to thank me for helping bootstrap the ScienceOnline community that inspired him to build his science blog into a mini network. Check it out: The Finch and Pea. I was stunned when Josh handed this to me. I’ve never had my own Petri dish, and I love to pick it up and gently cradle it. What a thoughtful and creative and memorable gift.

Some nights, I also make a pot of tea, often from a bag of green tea that Adrienne Roehrich gave me at #scio13. And there were others who bestowed kindnesses on me at the conference: Michael Lombardi gave me chocolate, Karyn Traphagen a nice bottle of wine, Marianne Alleyne brought roasted breadfruit all the way from Jamaica, Rachel Feltman found my favorite pens in NYC and brought them to me, and Mindy Weisberger made a darling mini scio13 sweater, which Anna and Oliver used to dress a Barbie one day.

Another ScienceOnline2013 watch party

I mentioned some of these kindnesses (and there were so many more, from kind words to warm embraces to hearty handshakes and countless smiles of attendees enjoying the event) in my remarks at ScienceOnline2013:

And, even now, months after the conference, I find threads back to that event. This community. These friends.

Which leads me to think that this ScienceOnline Petri dish is an apt metaphor for what, together, we have cultivated over the years. Brilliant, Josh, brilliant.

Anton Zuiker

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