Countdown to VOICES, presenter profile #6: Eva Amsen

This post is the 6th in a series of brief profiles of people who will be presenting their work at VOICES, a first-of-its-kind online conference on using music to teach STEM, on Sept. 27-28, 2017.


Eva Amsen is a writer and science communicator, focused on the common ground between science and the arts. She runs a quarterly newsletter highlighting collaborations and overlap between scientists and musicians. Eva has written about science in culture and society for Nautilus, The Scientist, Spacing Magazine and other places — including the science blog she has maintained since her days as a PhD student in Toronto. Eva also works in the area of scientific community management and engagement. After six years at publishing companies, she is now Scientific Engagement Manager for the Transforming Genetic Medicine Initiative, based at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

The title and abstract of Eva’s VOICES presentation are as follows:

Why do people sing about science? Science songs can be used as educational tool, but sometimes a science song has a different purpose. Singing about science can generate a sense of community, to build a connection with other scientists and science fans. In 2011, scientists widely shared a YouTube video of the Zheng lab at Baylor College of Medicine performing a science-themed parody of a Lady Gaga song. It was popular not just for the impressive performance and the well-known melody, but because it described familiar situations for anyone working in a biomedical lab. This sense of community building through STEM music is a bit like “filk” – a style of music originating at science fiction conventions, where fans create songs about their favourite sci-fi and fantasy universes. To what extent science songs and filk music overlap is a matter of debate, but comparing the filk and science songs communities may give us a better sense of the cultural role of science music.

Eva is one of over 40 people who will present their ideas, insights, and investigations at VOICES. To have full access to all presenters and their presentations, please register for the conference. It’s only $10!

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