Jean Cocteau once said that the art is science made clear, but what he didn’t indicate is that the science is creating different forms of art including the art of connecting people and communicating science. Bora Zivkovic is a unique, energetic, technologically-savvy, and multidisciplinary scientist, connector, and blogger. I met Bora twice: during the Science Online 2009 and Science Online 2010 conference in Raleigh NC, USA, and on many other occasions online, and he would always motivate me with incredible energy and passion for science and people. I would say that Bora is the real science connector, not only communicating and articulating science in its many forms but also connecting people, networks, and the scientific communities world wide.
Born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Bora’s studies of veterinary medicine were interrupted by the 1990s war in the Balkans, when he arrived in the USA. He went to graduate school at North Carolina State University where he studied how bird brains measure time of day (circadian rhythms) and time of year (photoperiodism). He started A Blog Around the Clock in 2004 as a prolific science blogger. He was the online Community Manager for the open access journal PLoS ONE. He is now the editor of Scientific American’s blog network, organizes the annual ScienceOnline conference, and is the editor of The Open Laboratory, an annual collection of the best writing from science blogs.
He even interviewed me once, as a host of a series of interviews with various scientists, bloggers, educators, and journalists; and now is my turn to ask Bora questions I always wanted to ask him. I had an opportunity to interview him and here are the questions and perceptive, knowledgeable, and fun responses.
Recently the Science Online 2012, #scio12 has finished, and impressions are still spreading online among scientists, bloggers, journalists by sharing blog posts, videos, tweets. How do you feel after this year’s conference? Do you think that some things and social dynamics during this conference have changed comparing to previous conferences? I’ve seen familiar names tweeting online, people I met in person in 2009 and 2010. What has changed in the conference dynamics since then?
We were very aware that growing a meeting by 50% can change the dynamics. We spent the entire year discussing strategies for ensuring that the intimate atmosphere of the meeting does not vanish. I wrote quite a lot about this in my long blog post after the event, especially about the need to make sure that so many new people feel welcome and instantly included into the community – including all the fun parts of the event. We completely changed the daily schedule in order to foster more informal interractions, we (really, Karyn Traphagen) designed the Cafe Room with this in mind, and we put quite a lot of effort in our communications on the blogs (including my post which was recommended to all to read beforehand), emails and social media, to prepare everybody for the unconference format and for the unique blend of serious discussions and crazy fun of ScienceOnline. For the most part, judging from what people are saying on their blogs and in our feedback forms, we were successful. Continue reading “Interview / Bora Zivkovic”