UBC student science video hits New York Times

Submitted by Tyee staff, 26 Sep 2012


When Megan Callahan, a UBC master's student, took part in a video production workshop, she probably never imagined her video would end up in a New York Times blog and mentioned in USAToday.

But it has.

That workshop was organized and run by Randy Olson. He is a former scientist, filmmaker and, according to the Times, an evangelist for the clear and simple communication of scientific information. He challenges his workshop participants to create a video in three days that explains a complex scientific principle... simply. In terms we can all understand.

Callahan's video, made with fellow students Martha Essak, Colin Mahoney and Yoshi Watanabe, is called "The Domino Effect in Nature." It tries to illustrate how the extinction of species affects other species and, ultimately, humans.

About Callahan and the video Olson said (as quoted in the Times):

Yet every once in a while a student comes along with that knack, and manages to solve the communication challenge elegantly. Last week with the University of British Columbia’s TerreWeb program we had the best group ever. The student teams produced five excellent videos, and one was, to my mind, the best video ever... It’s nothing too flashy, and again, you have to keep in mind they had no budget, no training, little time. But this group had a director -- graduate student Megan Callahan -- with a clear, simple vision built around a concept that resonates — the “domino theory” — which is often mentioned when people talk about the interconnectedness of species.

Have a look for yourself and see what you think. If you liked that, you might this other Olson recommendation as an example of excellent science/environmental storytelling that's not afraid of humour.

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