FOJBI Friday: Meet Ian Street, The Plant Whisperer Joe Palca is not the only fan of "Big Ideas" in science. Much of the natural world is noisy, but Ian Street is fascinated by the sophisticated behaviors "stemming" from our quieter cousins.

FOJBI Friday: Meet Ian Street, The Plant Whisperer

FOJBI Ian Street Courtesy of Ian Street hide caption

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Courtesy of Ian Street

FOJBI Ian Street

Courtesy of Ian Street

The "Friends of Joe's Big Idea" is a vibrant community of talented people we think you should meet. FOJBI Friday introduces some of these cool communicators of science, in their own words. This week: Ian Street


Postdoctoral scholar and research associate at Dartmouth College, researching plant hormones' role in primary root development

Telling stories about science

Science communication is what gets scientific thinking to stick with people. Humans are storytelling animals, and a story is what someone takes with them after hearing or reading it. The stories showing the process scientists go through to uncover how nature works are especially important. It's not just the work — the scientists that do the work matter too.

Using different platforms to communicate

The Quiet Branches is my blog dedicated to plant science. The idea behind it is to uncover the quieter part of the natural world — the plants. They are the medium we all exist in and rarely take a moment to think about, intertwined with our existence in so many ways that go beyond the obvious — food, shelter, air, scenery. Plants are in our culture, fossil fuels, medicines — the original solar cells. They also have sophisticated behaviors that are fascinating and largely out of sight. Another fun project I do is a Tumblr, Plant Science Advice, where I think about what advice a plant might give based on its biology.

Future plans

My future plans are to seek a job in the world of science writing or editing — science communication of some kind. Whether at an academic journal, a scientific society, a university communications office or elsewhere, I'll aim to translate science to make it accessible and sticky for as many people as possible. To that end, I'm excited to be attending SciCommCamp in Malibu, Calif., in November.