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Expanding the general public’s interest, understanding and acceptance of scientific knowledge is a perpetual challenge. The gap is considered bridgeable through multidisciplinary approaches. Arts and humanities is one such approach as evidenced by its combination with biotechnology, i.e. the “Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology: Shaping Our Genetic Futures.”
While visual and representative art coupled with laboratory science are this exhibition’s major approach other forms of creativity are available. The communication of science via poetry combines the two worlds of C.P. Snow. “The Two Rita’s” a poem, celebrates two highly-honored contributors to their fields, Pulitzer Prize recipient poet Rita Dove and former National Science Foundation director and American Association for the Advancement of Science president microbiologist Rita Colwell. It provides a keen example of the possibilities and opportunities for science communication through combining their significance in poetry that poses that there is no difference between the inherent creativity of the arts and sciences.
Darrell Stover is a cultural historian, science communicator and performance poet. His career life has always been an intersection of science and art sifted through history with an emphasis on community and individual empowerment through the same. He is on the faculty at NC State University where he teaches “Black Popular Culture: From the Blues to Afrofuturism” and “Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society.” He studied microbiology and American Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park and acquired his Master of Arts degree in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University.
While in the Washington, DC area he worked at the National Cancer Institute as research assistant in support of the isolation and examination of retroviruses via cell culture, molecular biology, monoclonal antibodies, and electron microscopy. He moved into the private sector to Cambridge Scientific Abstracts as Senior Microbiology Editor developing content, coverage, and codification of published research for online databases in microbiology and biotechnology. Upon arrival in the Triangle he worked as science writer at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and was Science Writing Fellow at Virginia Tech University. His more recent public programs have been the performance/lecture “The Natural History of Afrofuturia” and the curation of a series on the cultural significance of the “Black Panther” film featuring a panel discussion on the science and technology represented on screen. The presentation of “Dream STEAM: Afrofuturist Dances with the Sciences” at the “Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurities” conference held at UNC-Chapel Hill expounded on the representation of biological sciences in African diasporic speculative fiction. He is a member of the 2019-2020 Southeast cohort of science impactors.