Health and Science News for Parents

Where have I been? ScienceOnline!

written by Tara Haelle

You may have noticed I haven’t written much in the past two weeks. That’s because I was away at – and then recovering from – an amazing 4-day science conference called ScienceOnline in Raleigh, NC. “SciO13” was a meetings of some of the most active science bloggers, science journalists and science journalists in the English-speaking world (mostly from the U.S., but also with overseas luminaries like Englishman Ed Yong), and it was a fantastic opportunity to learn what others are doing and writing about in science and learn how I can be a better science communicator.

The DoubleXScience editors at ScienceOnline in Raleigh, NC, from left to right: Jeffrey Perkel, Jeanne Garbarino, Chris Gunter, yours truly Tara Haelle, Emily Willingham, Adrienne Roehrich and Matthew Francis. Photo by Kate Clancy.

I hope to write a little about the things I learned while there in the coming weeks that I think parents may be especially interested in, such as the excellent session we had on “chemophobia,” ie, the irrational fear of big, bad “chemicals” when, in fact, chemicals are everything our world (and ourselves!) are composed of. (There is actually a fantastic and highly-recommended-for-everyone Slate piece about chemophobia, inspired in part by a NYT Magazine article and perhaps in part from SciO13 since the author, Michelle Francl, was there.)

I also learned about the incredibly fun site Kitchen Pantry Scientist, run by mom Liz Heinecke, who teaches science through fun at-home experiments you can do with your kids. (Her excellent iPhone app Kidscience is worth a download too.) I also learned about the incredible Google Hangout virtual “star parties” held by some truly phenomenal astronomers at CosmoQuest (and I can’t wait to watch the live broadcast of my first one tonight!).

Most of all, I developed friendships and helpful professional relationships with a network of science communicators across the U.S. that will help me be a better blogger, journalist and communicator – which will hopefully (ideally!) benefit my readers too. Among those I got to meet in person were my fellow members of the DoubleXScience team. I became health editor at DoubleXScience a few months ago, and I’m excited about working with such awesome fellow journalists to provide a forum of science news aimed at women who typically don’t get much science news in women’s magazines (especially not science journalism that doesn’t talk down to them or water down the information). Definitely take a moment to check out the DXS site, and follow each of the editors on Twitter: editor in chief Emily Willingham, biology editor Jeanne Garbarino, tech editor Jeffrey Perkel, chemistry editor Adrienne Roehrich, physics editor Matthew Francis, science education editor Chris Gunter, and myself.

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