Beakerhead is a self-described “smash up of art, science and engineering” at the “intersection where ingenuity lives”. Quest recently hosted one of Beakerhead’s signature offerings, a four-day intensive Science Communications course taught by Jay Ingram, one of Canada’s most well-known science broadcasters, and expert guest faculty. The goal of the immersive program was for participants to begin with a rough draft of a science-communication project and emerge with a piece or script ready to pitch. Participants ranged from graduate students to established academics hailing from five Canadian provinces. The first day involved art work, improv, and personal story sharing to help loosen any inhibitions and get the creative juices flowing. Sessions on crafting the pitch and understanding the structure of different forms of scientific writing provided conceptual frameworks, and participants refined their pieces through intensive one-on-one writing and editing sessions with faculty. The final presentations were an energetic and entertaining demonstration of the power of creativity unleashed. Physical Sciences tutor Dr. Steve Quane presented his video script, and Mathematics tutor Dr. Richard Hoshinopresented a final draft of an op-ed piece that he successfully published the following week. One of the highlights of the course was the keynote presentation, where Jay Ingram spoke about his 30 years in science communication across radio, television, and print. The talk was attended by approximately 50 members of the Quest community.
President and CEO Mary Anne Moser co-founded Beakerhead with Jay Ingram, beginning with a two-week immersive Science Communication Program at the Banff Center. With its vibrant integration of arts and sciences, it is no coincidence that founding Life Sciences tutor Dr. Annie Prud’homme-Genereux, and current tutors Dr. Negar Elmieh, Dr. Marjorie Wonham, and Dr. Richard Hoshino, are alumni of that program.