The Banff Centre media roomThe Banff Centre media room

Media Release

For immediate release
April 5, 2005

Jay Ingram to chair new Banff Centre program in science and communications

In the age of nanotechnology, genetically modified food, deep space exploration, and wireless communications, it is increasingly common to find complex scientific concepts splashed on our front pages, tucked into our nightly news broadcasts, and woven into our popular culture — yet there are very few dedicated professional development programs for science communicators. To help bridge that gap The Banff Centre has appointed eminent science writer and broadcaster Jay Ingram to chair a new program called Science Communications.

“With this program, we intend to expand and challenge the entire art of science communications,” Ingram says. “In these times, an understanding of science and technology as part of both Canadian culture and Canadian politics is vital, and Banff provides a thrilling place to develop the diverse, talented and adventurous science communicators who will make this happen.”

The Banff Centre is already home to both the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery, and one of Canada’s top professional development programs for creative and non-fiction writers.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for participants to advance high quality, engaging ways of telling science stories and to capitalize on the tremendous volume of discovery and creativity that takes place in Banff,” says Mary Hofstetter, president of The Banff Centre.

A core two-week residency program is proposed that will be aimed at exceptional professionals in science communications nationally and internationally, working in journalism, communications, research, education, or involved in other forms of science outreach. Advisors involved in the creation of the program include Toronto Star reporter Peter Calamai, a founder of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, David Pearson, founding president of Science North, Kathryn O’Hara, CTV Chair in Science Broadcast Journalism at Carleton University, and Penny Park, senior producer of Daily Planet on the Discovery Channel.

A competitive process will select qualified participants based on a statement of interest and portfolio of work. A combination of working and emerging science communicators and scientists will be selected.

The launch of the program is scheduled for late summer 2005, in Banff, which will include an inaugural faculty meeting, special public guest lecture and reception. The first full program will run in August 2006. A science writers-in-residence program is slated to start in 2007. Mary Anne Moser, a science communicator who sparked the idea for this program, will act as director.

— 30 —

Jay Ingram — Program Chair

Writer and broadcaster Jay Ingram has a master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Toronto, and has had a distinguished career in a variety of media, including freelance broadcast work for CBC’s Morningside, popular host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks for 12 years, and host of two CBC radio documentary series. Ingram helped design and has hosted the daily prime-time hour-long science program on Discovery Channel now called Daily Planet, which has been on the air for 10 years. As a writer, he was contributing editor to Owl magazine for five years and had a regular column in Equinox magazine. His weekly science column in the Toronto Star is now in its eleventh year, and he has written eight books (three for children) and has a ninth out next year, and his journal has been a regular feature on the Discovery Channel website for the past two years. Ingram’s contributions to the popularization of science have been recognized by the media (ACTRA and Canadian Science Writers’ Awards), scientific organizations (NSERC, Royal Society, and the Royal Canadian Institute) and universities (honorary doctorates from McGill, Carleton, and McMaster).

Mary Anne Moser — Program Director

Mary Anne Moser has worked as a journalist, book editor, and graphic designer and has a particular interest in the intersection of art, culture, and science. She is co-editor of Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual Environments, published by MIT Press, and was the founding editor of the Banff Centre Press. She holds a BSc in zoology, an MA in communications, and an interdisciplinary PhD concerning the application of technology in everyday life. She currently works as a communications director for several public sector science and technology organizations.

Media Contact
Jill Sawyer
Media and Communications Officer, The Banff Centre