USC Science Film Competition 2013 – Results!

There’s a news article out about the results of the USC Science Film Competition that you might like to read. It is by Susan Bell and it is in USC Dornsife News here. In there, you’ll find interviews with one of the winning teams of students, as well as with me. I talk about my reasons for running this competition each year and what I hope to achieve. (Photo courtesy of USC Dornsife.)

The showcase and awards ceremony, held on January 23rd, was a success, and it was a pleasure to meet with many of the students who participated, and feel the buzz of excitement in the room. Thanks everyone who participated, including the panel of judges for their hard work. Once again, the Anton Burg Foundation supported the competition (funding things like the large prizes I had the pleasure of giving away) and we’re all very grateful for that.

Ok, well of course you want to know the outcome, right? Well, here goes. I’ve included the titles and membership of the interdisciplinary teams below, along with […] Click to continue reading this post


Well that was fun! I’m sitting on the bus on the way home [editorial note: I wrote most of this on Thursday afternoon], with the memory of the College Commons event that I just went to still fresh in my mind. (That and the tasty food at the end of the event.)


This event (“Discovering the World: Collections, Curiosity and Evolution”) was all about collecting and collections, from the institutional collections we have in our society today such as museums and libraries, through the “cabinets of curiosity” of earlier centuries, to the sort of obsessive collections of random stuff that sort of becomes a disease (I mentally glance over at the shelves, piles, and boxes of old New Yorkers in my house; I’ve not been able to throw away a single one since I started subscribing in the early 90s. Yes, I know, I know… I know.)

So many of these types of collections (and the resulting books and compendia which they themselves become the objects of collections and subjects of books and so on and so forth) formed the foundations of the culture, the raw material for scientific study, the inspiration for more collections and for more study, and so on…. So the event used that as a basis and dug out some wonderful articles for us to look and marvel at. The digging was done at USC’s own splendid Doheny library (original Audubon volumes, Cook’s journals, etc) the Huntington library (several illustrated tomes of natural history and an actual plate used long ago for printing Audubon illustrations which were then later hand-coloured by artists) and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum across the street. A number of my colleagues who are scholars in areas that these objects pertain to gave short, informative and […] Click to continue reading this post

So Have You Been There Yet?

I’ve mentioned it twice (here and here) in other posts, but I think it is worth a post of its own.

Have you been yet? I’m looking at you, USC-area person. There’s a fantastic new wine-bar in the neighbourhood, a relatively short walk north of campus at Union and Hoover. I’m so pleased to see it, and it is extremely welcome as far as I’m concerned. It is called Bacaro, and I’ve been there a lot already with several different groups of friends and colleagues.

   bacaro interior   bacaro interior

Why? Well, the wine is just great (various Italian wines) and the menu is fantastic too […] Click to continue reading this post

Up for Air

early spring fig tree growthMorning cup of tea, and short reflection – coming up for air before diving back in…

It’s a bit of a mess here, time-wise. Just not enough hours in the day. Everything totally fragmented. Yesterday was grueling… here’s some of it:

Up at 5:30am, finding that I’m immediately thinking about a physics project for a bit (I fell asleep doing so, having been the whole evening in the Casbah drinking coffee and doing the same) before having to break off to get ready, get to office early to start an insanely busy day. Answer a ton of email, and deal with other online stuff, planning to ignore it for the whole rest of morning. Note that flimmaker/journalist friend B has sent me an email with a list of comments and suggested changes to my script for the Video. Got to discuss it with A, my collaborator in Chemistry on this. Whenever are we going to meet in the next few days? Sigh. (Must remember to do blog post about this new project, and how I ended up involved with the Chemistry department!)

After some dithering, decided to drive in, since the plan was to stay super-late and probably involve driving someone home.

Cold as I walk to the office from where I parked on the street. Mostly in my mind, and […] Click to continue reading this post