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#444 UBC students create clever metaphor for species extinction


Clip from UBC students’ video below

Translating scientific concepts into ordinary language is enough of a challenge. Making them so compelling people actually pay attention is about as easy as jumping across the Grand Canyon. But that’s what Megan Callahan, Martha Essak, Colin Mahony and Yoshi Watanabe did with their video, “Species Extinction: The Domino Effect”.

The University of British Columbia science graduate students created the video as part of the TerreWEB Video Production Workshop, September 14-16, 2012. (You can see all five of the videos here.)

Randy Olson, who taught the workshop, says the students had no previous experience with cameras and editing. They made the no-budget film in just two days.

Olson has been offering 3 Day Intensive Videomaking Workshops since 2005. He writes on his blog (The Benshi: Essays from Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson) that “Species Extinction” just might be the best of the 65 videos his students have produced. Watch it, and you will see why. These young people nailed a complex concept in a simple, dramatic way.

At the very end of the video, I gasped. These students – and Randy Olson – give me hope that a new generation of scientists will be better at telling the science stories it is so important for us to understand.

My thanks to Cathy for telling me about this gem.



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Simonne Macklem - October 3, 2012

Cathryn, thank you so much for sharing this! I am always a bit skeptical when I go to watch short videos that supposedly are designed to make us think and act. Most don’t. This one is amazing. At the end of it I gasped, with a lump caught in my throat. It is brilliant and had exactly the effect on me I suspect they were going for! I am so excited to see that these young people have grasped the concept of interconnectedness and are sharing it in such an effective way. Kudos to them! Is there a way to tell them this directly?



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