When reading these two articles, I was taken back to the time when I didn’t have an idea of what science was. I asked myself: What were my first memories of science? How was my interest gained? What drew me to science as a child and what does today?
As the daughter of engineers and science lovers, I have a hard time remembering a point where I had no understanding of science. Some of my vivid early experiences were hands-on at children’s and science museums. Being able to touch a Vandergraph generator, see the process of erosion with a huge interactive model, create a tornado in a bottle and walk through the systems of the human body caught my interest so much more than books and course work. These experiences have stuck with me and I still get a lot out of similar hands-on involvement. Though having a physical model can be difficult or impossible in some more abstract areas of science, having a visual or an analogy can really help the information stick with me even today. For example, in my first semester of grad school, my biology professor frequently took a process or technique then made a sometimes unrelated, often crude, but always memorable example. Relating difficult concepts in some way to what we can see and experience makes them more approachable and concrete. This is the challenge for science media design. Being somewhat of an outsider can be an advantage here, since realizing where visualization can be used to fill the gaps in general understanding is very difficult if you are too close and have more complete knowledge.
For me science has always been a story, but one without an end and that is really what still intrigues me. It is like a great fiction series that you can’t put down until the last page, but instead of having a set beginning and end, scientific stories are Choose your own adventures. The open ended stories in science leave so many questions and possibilities to explore.