Science in Our Lives
November 18, 2011
University of Maryland
College Park, MD
This program explored the movement of information generated in realms of scientific expertise across not only disciplinary lines but into the realms of personal life and public policy, where specialized knowledge can have enormous impact in such areas as health literacy, communication, food safety, and the environment. What are the challenges in translation from one information culture to another? Where are the opportunities?
This two-hour program featured a panel of distinguished U.Md. faculty members noted both for their expertise in these areas and for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration. Joining in a discussion with them were our “Visiting Future-ists” — leading innovators from Google, Microsoft and Twitter — with an eye to identifying both the challenges and transdisciplinary research opportunities that lie ahead at the intersection of science and daily life.
The faculty panelists were:
- Linda Aldoory, Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health, and Director of the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy;
- Robert Buchanan, Professor, Nutrition and Food Science, and Director of the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems;
- Carol Espy-Wilson, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Director of the Speech Communication Lab;
- Margaret Palmer, Professor, Entomology, and Executive Director of the National Socio‐Environmental Synthesis Center.
The “Visiting Future-ists” were:
- Dan Russell, Google’s “director of user happiness,” who leads efforts to improve the effectiveness of web searching;
- Mary Czerwinski, who manages the research on human-computer interaction at Microsoft and focuses on information visualization, group awareness and lifelogging;
- Abdur Chowdhury, former chief scientist at Twitter, who has been working toward improving the ability to separate “signal” from “noise” in the explosion of information on the Web.
Lawrence Sita, Professor of Chemistry, served as the panel’s moderator.
This program was open to University of Maryland faculty, staff and students, who were encouraged to ask questions, offer ideas, and take part in brainstorming around the challenges raised by the panel and the “Visiting Future-ists.”