« Back to Stories Archive

WID Adds CBS and WPR Distinguished Scholars to Collaborative Environment

What can scientists, communicators and the public learn from one another? Through a new program called Distinguished Scholars at Discovery, WID is uniting experts and the campus community.

Discovery building cafe by Ballinger

When WID Director David Krakauer arrived on campus, he envisioned creating a place where leading-edge science effortlessly flowed beyond the walls of the Discovery Building and the university.

He wanted to connect ideas and people of all walks of life.

“If you believe in diversity and interaction, then what’s not in the recipe at WID?” asks Krakauer. “It’s the communicators, film directors, musicians, artists — the people outside of the sciences — that are missing.”

That’s why WID developed Distinguished Scholars at Discovery, a program that invites experts in the professional world to explore meaningful connections and collaborations at the Institute. Krakauer says it’s a part of WID’s transdisciplinary approach to push beyond the lab bench to form hyper-connected communities and discuss big ideas from several vantage points.

For the 2012-13 year, the Institute welcomes Emmy award-winning CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg, co-founder and interviewer for Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK) Anne Strainchamps and executive producer and interviewer with TTBOOK Steve Paulson.

They will focus on public-oriented ways to communicate science, culture and ideas. In future years, the scholars may focus on other areas such as film, music or art.

Anne Strainchamps says the partnership makes her work more dynamic.

“The idea of trying to take some of the best of what TTBOOK does out of the airwaves and make it real on the ground — that’s exhilarating,” she says. “Creative insight doesn’t happen in planned institutional frameworks. It’s a much more chaotic and complex process that happens when people unexpectedly encounter ideas outside their own intellectual homes.”

It was similar inspiration that drove Peter Greenberg to return to Madison for visits throughout the year.

“It’s all about connecting unsuspecting and nontraditional dots,” says Greenberg, who notes that some of the most impactful experiences he had at UW–Madison as a student occurred outside of the classroom.

Whether it’s chatting over coffee with researchers or giving public talks, moderating panels and teaching classes,the scholars are teaming up with WID to more deeply engage with the campus community.

Steve Paulson, also with the nationally syndicated radio show TTBOOK, says the chance to partner with WID and UW–Madison can help address communication gaps, especially for translating the university’s research findings to the public.

“Working with WID, we can make these discussions more personal and provocative and raise big questions,” Paulson says. “We work in the realm of ideas, not just information. I’m more interested in asking what things mean and why people should care.”

Marianne Spoon

Press Contact:

WID Media

More articles in Archive:

badgerloop vr

Virtual Reality Goes Hyper-speed with Badgerloop

Two students from WID’s Living Environments Laboratory are a part of the Badgerloop team that recently won an innovation award at the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, thanks in part to their work on Badgerloop VR.

Caption This Cartoon

High-tech humor

UW program powers New Yorker contest featuring Rob Nowak and NEXT software

Jo Handelsman at WID

Handelsman Brings Expansive Vision to WID’s Future

Jo Handelsman began her tenure as Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on February 1. Shortly before her start date, we sat down with her to talk about the future of WID and the course she intends to set.