Science Savvy for Badger Talks Live, noon Tuesday; Chancellor Blank on “The UW Now” 7pm Tues

April 20, 2020

Please share this update with your friends & neighbors.

Hi WN@TL Fans,

As Don McLean almost sang:

“A long, long time ago, I can still remember when the science used to make me smile.”

For me, that time was at a teacher training session at a hotel in Washington & hosted by the Smithsonian.  The presenter noted how kitchen chemistry could connect kids to science.  For example, she asked, if you take a small, 4 ounce Tupperware container, fill it half full with heavy whipping cream, snap the lid on it and shake it for a few minutes, what do you get?

Yes, a sore arm.

But you also get butter. And, she asked, is this not hands-on? Interactive? Concrete? Experiential?  And have you not done an experiment? And have you not proven that shaking is essential in turning cream into butter?

When she answered “Yes” to all six questions, and when it seemed everyone else in the room nodded in agreement, I smiled — I smiled because I knew I had a job for life.  As I murmured to the person next to me, “How does she know it wasn’t the plastic?  Or the heat from her hand?”

My Catholic parents didn’t name me Thomas for nuthin—and I was named for Thomas the Apostle, the Doubter—not that ‘Tantum ergo’ Aquinas guy.

I didn’t take Latin in high school, nor did Latin take me;  but I had heard of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” in high school, and then again in grad school when I read “Arrowsmith” by Sinclair Lewis.  And I had drunk deeply of Arrowsmith’s affection for asking, “But where is your control?  How did you test it wasn’t something else?”

Again, ~ McLean:

“And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people entranced

And maybe they’d be savvy for a while…”

The folks at “Badger Talks,” UW-Madison’s speakers bureau, are launching online presentations called “Badger Talks Live.”

I’m giving the presentation Tuesday April 21 at noon.  I hope you can tune in. It’ll be about Science Savvy with Food, but it’s also about science savvy in the time of covid quarantines.  Or as I wrote to my 4H colleagues:

I’ve copied the lineup below. Here’s the link to watch online:


Also, Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Greg Gard, coach of the men’s basketball team, will be featured during the next “The UW Now” online, Tuesday April 21 at 7pm CDT.

The Chancellor will be talking about the university’s responses to the corona virus pandemic.

With the announcement by President Trump tonight that he is temporarily ending all immigration into the US, the federal pandemic policy has thrown a whole nuther curveball at leading US universities that recruit & seek to hire the finest scholars from around the world.

For information on how to watch the live stream, please see


Hope to see you sometime soon once we can resume Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H



UW-Madison:  5.8 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university.

Visit UW-Madison’s science outreach portal at for information on the people, places & programs on campus that welcome you to come experience science as exploring the unknown, all year round.

Here are the components of the WN@TL User’s Guide:

1. The live WN@TL seminar, every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT (on hiatus as of March 11, 2020)

2. The live web stream at (also on hiatus)

3. The WN@TL YouTube channel

4. WN@TL on the University Place broadcast channel of PBS Wisconsin

5. WN@TL on the University Place website

To invite your friends to subscribe to the WN@TL listserve, ask them to send an email to

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