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Join in with SA Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and Nobel laureate in chemistry Harry Kroto -- a highly entertaining and affable chemist. Co-discoverer of C-60, aka buckminsterfullerene.
Créativité Sans Frontières (Creativity Without Borders)

Nobel prize-winning chemist Sir Harold Kroto explores the fundamental aspects of creativity, and shows that key factors in the creative process are much the same across all areas. Often a search for elegant patterns, symmetries - or sometimes dis-symmetries - provide inspiration whether the creator is an artist or a scientist.

"Sir Harry" will be interviewed by Mariette DiChristina, editor-in-chief of Scientific American. Come find out how to spark your own creativity as you explore your scientific interests.

9:00AM PT / 11:00AM CT / 12:00PM ET / 1600 GMT

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Sad news for us at Scientific American today. We just learned about the death of Sergey Kapitsa, 84. Professor Kapitsa was the longtime editor behind Scientific American's edition in Russia, which was begun in 1982, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. A physicist and demographer, Professor Kapitsa was a tireless popularizer of science in Russia and elsewhere, whose Russian Television show, Evident but Incredible, started in 1973, won a UNESCO prize. Professor Kapitsa and I would see each other at the meetings of Scientific American's international editions. I always found him a gracious and thoughtful colleague, and greatly enjoyed our conversations. In 2011, he was our genial host when the entire Scientific American family met in Moscow for the first time in many years. Here is a photo of the two of us at dinner, taken by my friend Richard Zinken of the German edition of Scientific American. At this dinner, Professor Kapitsa regaled me with stories of his science career and his many exploits. I think you can see the boyish look on his face--his enthusiasm was so wonderful.

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*Science communication is hard *

This article has been shared by a bunch of folks, +Bora Zivkovic, +Adrienne Roehrich, and +Dave Cole to name a few. After reading it, I felt that I agreed with the general message, but there was still something that struck a wrong chord. I couldn't figure it out until I looked at my own, poor, efforts at science communication.  It was this line that I kept coming back to:

And publicizing your work doesn’t have to be particularly time-consuming.

Ultimately, what I realized is this, *science communication is hard. * There are a lot of scientific topics that I personally find interesting, properties of receptive fields in area MT, for instance, that I would like to talk about, but does that make a good story? There's a lot of science that isn't interesting to the general public and things should be culled. That is an advantage of having an awesome public information officer (like +Molly McElroy!) , as the author suggests.

Now, even if it did make a good story, it would take a lot of time for me to write something that is accessible, interesting, and accurate. The ability to translate your work into something that people can relate to isn't something that people are born with. People like +Liz Neeley, +Joanne Manaster, +Emily Willingham,  and even +Ed Yong have worked for years perfecting their craft.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that even though I'm new to this whole science communication thing, I recognize that it is time intensive, difficult work.  It takes time to decide what is post-worthy and even more time to evaluate the information and then write, write, write.

I think all scientists should try their hand at science communication, I really do. It's eye opening and they'll derive a lot of insight from it. I think they should just come to it fully knowing that it isn't easy and it is time consuming.

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Here is a reprise of "What is pi, and how did it originate?" which originally appeared in 1999 (but pi hasn't changed much since then). And stay tuned for a very discounted subscription offer tomorrow in observance of Pi Day (3.14).

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Happy Birthday, Ernst Haeckel! German biologist and artist, Haeckel (1834-1919) left his mark in thousands of beautiful, accurate and intricate drawings of life forms at a time before microscopes could take pictures. Did you know that he coined many terms that we take for granted today including ecology , phylum , stem cell and Protista? He is even credited for the first use of the phrase "First World War" to describe the "Great European War" in 1914.

Flamboyant and passionate, Haeckel was both spectacularly right and completely wrong! He sent his students to Indonesia to look for the remains of ancient humans, resulting in the first human fossil of Pithecanthropus (Homo erectus). He also believed that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny: that embryos go through stages in development where they resemble lower orders of life. Although junior looked a bit like a fish at one time, but not literally, right? ;)

Read more about this fascinating scientist:
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Starting with January's "The Real Sexual Revolution" and ending with December's "World Changing Ideas," which of Scientific American's 2011 covers do you find most compelling? What specifically do you like about it?

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Take our poll on robotic space probes versus human spaceflight. And check out our in-depth report on deep-space exploration:

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Can't get enough faster-than-light neutrinos news? Check out this story by +Davide Castelvecchi from SciAm's December issue, which went online this week:
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