Scitalks is the brainchild of Sam Bogoch. He realized that his wife, Ann Senghas, a psychology professor at Barnard, needed an appropriate place to upload and post lectures on emerging sign languages.
Sam’s one of those people who makes things happen. Scitalks happened.
Scitalks is important and needed. In the general trend toward democratizing education, we hope that it can become an important tool for educators, home schoolers and those who are wanting to educate themselves.
In another context, science’s credibility is at the heart of a conflict where the opponent is well funded and well organized. We’re a society trained to sound-bites. Our critical thinking skills are eroding. Scientific thought is by its very nature complex and challenging to communicate to the general public. Most universities aren’t up to the task and the scientists themselves are involved in a system where the public is at the bottom of the list of the masters they must satisfy if they want to remain in research. They must publish or perish, and peer review is where they publish.
Yet there is no one else who can better convey the necessity, drama and passion of their work than the scientists themselves.
When I was first asked to come on board, I went to the site and saw immediately that if I wasn’t careful, just hanging out on the site would consume all of my time. The Feynman lectures alone are priceless. This is mind-candy at it’s most habit-forming. If your interest is science, raw and authentic, there’s something here for you.
The task ahead of us is, in one sense, curatorial. We are collecting the pearls of our civilization. We encourage universities and scientists to give us their links and videos to catalog and care for. We have dreams for the site, but also know that your dreams and suggestions will likely shape it more than ours from now on. We want to hear from you. We would love your help.
June 9, 2007