Talking Science is a new non-profit that’s dedicated to bringing the latest discoveries, innovations, controversies and cures out of the lab and to the public. It was founded by Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Science Friday. As a part of this effort, Talia Page is one of the bloggers for Science Friday and Talking Science Abroad. Talia came to the Science Blogging Conference as a part of the Science Friday delegation.
Welcome to A Blog Around The Clock. Would you, please, tell my readers a little bit more about yourself? Who are you? What is your scientific background? What is your Real Life job?
Scientific background? Uh, oh. I really don’t have a scientific background, Bora. My formal studies are in French literature and I only recently discovered a passion for science. My interests have always tended to lean heavily towards the arts and it was only last year, thanks to a meeting with Ann Marie Cunningham (the Executive Director of Talking Science), that I realized how much more interesting the arts can be with a dash of science. Now I am working as a Project Manager for Talking Science, so I have the good fortune of talking to scientists and science film makers every day. I had no idea that a real job could be so fascinating …I think I’m pretty lucky.
What do you want to do/be when you grow up?
I would like to be an astronaut and a writer when I grow up. I’m happy to report a good amount of progress: I have one of those “space pens” that can be used to write up-side down and a reservation on the Virgin Galactic, so I feel fairly well prepared.
Something I, unfortunately, learned only after the Conference was over (or I would have asked you in person) – you will be flying to space! How did that happen?
I was boring a friend of mine about a book I am writing about globalization and third world countries. When I asked him if he would read such a book, he was obviously tired of hearing about land mines in Cambodia and said, “You should launch yourself into space–it would be a fascinating chapter for your book. Let me know when you’ve written about that, Space Cadet, then I’ll read your book.” His words rang true, and also cured my writers block. I was having some difficulty deciding how the book would end, and an excursion to look at Earth from above will be a perfect ending.
Did you always dream of going into space?
Tell us more about the trip: when, how long, who else is going? What do you know about the spaceship you will be traveling on?
The first launch will be in late 2009 if everything goes as planned, and the trip will be short and sweet. From start to finish, it’s scheduled to last 2.5 hours, 5 minutes of which will be spent at zero gravity.
The spaceship itself (White Knight Two) features lots of enormous windows, for viewing pleasure of course. There’s room for six passengers, plus two pilots. However, the ship is not made solely with space cadets in mind–the idea is to launch other payloads into space as well. In terms of structure, the White Knight Two will be comprised completely of composite materials and fueled by a hybrid rocket. I’ll write a blog entry soon about Branson’s plans to make the ship as environmentally friendly as possible, so stay tuned…
There are around 200 interesting characters signed up. Here are some highlights: Stephen Hawking, Victoria Principal, Philippe Starck, Professor James Lovelock, and Alan Watts (who bought his ticket by cashing in on two million air miles).
You have just started a blog (Space Cadet ) to cover your preparation for the flight and to tell us your experiences afterwards. Do you think you will be able to push another boundary and be the first person to liveblog the flight from space?
Sure! Why not?
Are you scared?
No, but I probably should be though. Richard Branson said it would be as safe as going on an airplane built in the 1920’s!
When and how did you discover science blogs?
I actually found science blogs through Museum of Life + Sciences on Facebook. Troy Livingston always posts great stuff.
What are some of your favourites?
There are about a dozen that I enjoy browsing on a regular basis. Your blog, The Intersection and OmniBrain are the first ones I check, though.
Have you discovered any new cool science blogs while at the Conference?
There are so many intriguing blogs and bloggers that I came across at the conference, and I hope to follow up with as many as possible. I am particularly interested in Karen’s blog about the Beagle project.
What was your overall impression of the Conference?
The conference was brimming with ideas, encouragement, and good company. I am already looking forward to the next one.
It was so nice meeting you in person and thank you for the interview. I hope you will keep coming back to the Conference and, after the space trip, I hope you will come and tell us everything about your adventure in person.
Related: Watch this video interview (Talia is the one on the right): Scientist and astronauts with blog rolls
Check out all the interviews in this series.
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Why thank you, Talia! …though I do have to correct you on one thing. The Beagle Project blog is written by two people, myself and professional yacht skipper and Beagle Project co-founder Peter McGrath. I can’t help noticing that you are set to go into space around the same time that the new Beagle will launch. And that’s not the only thing the Beagle has in common with space… http://thebeagleproject.blogspot.com/2007/12/pics-in-space.html
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