Connecting with NOVA Resources
By Tracy Englert, Reference Librarian for Science & Technology and Associate Professor University of Southern Mississippi
When putting together science cafes, personal interests can help when facilitating a café. If you have a passion for a subject, it is infectious and will transfer to your Science Café audience.
I enjoyed the Nova program, Building the Great Cathedrals. When looking at that program on the Nova website, I noticed the interactive slide show of Medieval Stained Glass by Susan K. Lewis. This was a fascinating aspect to the Great Cathedrals program and a personal interest of mine. I was not sure how I would put together a café on medieval stained glass but as serendipity often does, it led the way.
It turns out the chair of my university’s history department is a medievalist, and a very engaging speaker. I also knew the owner of a local stained glass studio who is a very gifted artist. They were both willing to do the café and glad to have the “back-up” of a knowledgeable expert in areas they were not familiar with such as the hands on working with stained glass or medieval aspects of stained glass.
This was my first experience having a team scientist approach for the café and it was a successful trial. Together, the medievalist and the artist put on a very successful and entertaining science café. At the café, I had them team up and take turns reviewing the different stained glass slides on the Nova Science website (11 slides in all). We also watched part of the Nova program, Building the Great Cathedrals. Each took turns answering questions based on subject matter. In attendance, we had a mix of historians, artisans and others interested in stained glass as well as just general interest all around. This made for very interesting dialogue. This café could easily lead to several others since so much interest was evident in medieval warfare, hands on working with stained glass and lots of other neat subjects!
Medieval Stained Glass Science by Susan K. Lewis