UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater – September 7, 2020

UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater

Sept 7 – September 13, 2020

September 9, 2020

 Hi Everyone,

It’s been an astonishing month, a surprising week, an incredible day, in too many ways to easily recount.  

A week into the academic year (UW-Madison), or two days (Madison public schools), those of us in science outreach are rolling with the rogue waves that can come zooming in from any direction. 

The first glints of re-opening the campus to the public, and of re-affirming our historic hospitality to the co-owners and co-funders of our land-grant research & extension university, have been smothered for the time being by the resurgence of the coronavirus.  The Chazen has closed again for the next two weeks, and both Memorial Union and Union South have been made off-limits to all but current UW employees and students.  

Meanwhile, in other news, some politicians are petitioning the Big 10 to re-establish a football season this fall.  

While it’s true that the covid virus doesn’t have the capacity to care about such things, we do.  It’s heartening to see the growing numbers of live, online science outreach programs available from our UW-Madison community of researchers and outreachers.  

Such programs for youth were curtailed over the summer by provost policy announced back on April 7, but now we can move ahead this fall with greater confidence and growing skill.  Many of us who in any other autumn might drive a state car to visit classrooms around Wisconsin will instead be beaming in by modem to schools and afterschools and 4H groups and such, hoping that the Transporter won’t scatter our atoms across the galaxy, or at least that the wi-fi won’t melt down.   As AT&T’s ads in the ‘70s claimed for long-distance phone calls, today it’s videoconferencing that’s The Next Best Thing to Being There.  Plus, we can compile an online archive and build our collection of resources available to anyone anytime.   

At our weekly Science Alliance meetings we’ll be sharing ideas and insights on how to jump over or walk around these hurdles, how to craft collaborations to speed our work on campus and in communities, and how to sustain our mission of sharing science with Wisconsin.   I hope you can join us Monday mornings at 10:00.   And I look forward to a fall of programs and partnerships with the public that will put a new burnish on the good ol’ Wisconsin Idea.  


Tom Zinnen

Note: please visit https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/ for the updater archive.

 Notable This Week

After taking the Labor Day holiday off, Science Alliance resumes our weekly meetings by Webex at 10:00 am Monday, September 14. Email Liz Jesse ejesse2@wisc.edu to receive the link. The meetings are also be recorded and (will be) archived on https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/.

The draft agenda for September 14 at 10am includes:

    • Welcome
    • Updates from science outreach programs
    • Status of public visitors on campus, and maintaining access for all ages, by zoom or in person
    • Wisconsin Science Festival
    • UW Science Expeditions in April:  parallel planning for online, hybrid, and in person
    • Other announcements or topics

Please add your upcoming online programs or resources with learners of any ages to the list at http://science.wisc.edu/ and be sure to include program events in the calendar at http://today.wisc.edu and tag them with “Science” and any other appropriate tag.

Programming Events coming this week and soon

The PLATO Frontiers in Life Sciences Seminar will be firing up again this fall for online presentations to a group of 20-25 active retires.  If you’re a researcher or outreacher looking for a venue to hone your skills in sharing your science with an appreciative, affirmative audience, please contact Tom Zinnen at zinnen@biotech.wisc.edu and let’s find a Wednesday at 1 pm that’s good for you.

Some splendid resources for science teachers were posted today at the link to the Wisconsin DPI Science Digest for September 9 from Kevin J.B. Anderson  DPI Science Consultant:  https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/science/WI-Science-Matters-9-9-20.pdf