Countdown to VOICES, presenter profile #13: Jim and Kathy Ocean

This post is the 13th 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.


Jim and Kathy Ocean are a husband-and-wife team who describe themselves as musicians, concert producers, and cultural activists. Their musical repertoire includes many science-related songs, an example of which (“Plastilla”) is shown below. They also host Metaquizzical Cafes, a form of science cafes that blend live music, speaker interviews, science news, and audience Q&A.

Along with NYU neurophysiology professor Joseph LeDoux, Jim and Kathy will be featured in a VOICES session concentrating on the performing side of science songs. Their abstract is as follows.

We live in an increasingly intimidating and overwhelming world. The sheer volume of information, the speed of technological change coupled with swirling world events laid bare under the spotlight of an ever-more-connected world leave many searching for handrails. It’s an even more poignant situation for students coming of age at this moment in time. While science serves as an agent of escalating change, it also contains within itself living seeds of perennial mystery, awe and wonder. Getting in touch with the underlying mystery is revitalizing and has the power to ground us in our humanity and individual/collective human potential. It can awaken a sense of purpose and offer clarity amid the noise and confusion of creative chaos. Educators who use music in their STEM curriculum can STEAM ahead, incorporating Art as an agent to catapult students away from just the rote facts to actually feeling how it involves them now and in the future. Awakening passion and care leads to an engaged citizenry. This presentation will explore ways to utilize STEM songs to not only transmit scientific facts, but to awaken hope, imagination and curiosity in these challenging times.

Jim and Kathy are two 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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