Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Advertise Science: Gold, Cat Pee, and Einstein's Happy Thoughts

Yes, that's really 2 oz. of gold.

This series of billboards (and other outdoor advertisements) put around Vancouver by the Vancouver Science Center shows that a clever marketing campaign is a lot like good teaching.

My favorite's either the Cat Pee one or the Gold one. I guess the gold one's classier but the cat pee one cracks me up. It's also the biochemistry one and a reason to carry around a UV light on your keychain (well, I do, in fact, why do you ask?).

Hopefully in my biochem lectures I can capture this spirit sometimes. This is what science teaching is about.

Oh, and thanks to my fellow physics prof that I co-teach a science seminar with, I now know that this particular advertisement ...

... has a unique place in science history, because it is this thought in 1907 led Einstein to the theory of relativity (his "happiest thought" of his life). It's an amazing world if a scale in an elevator can lead, through the right train of thoughts, to predictions of black holes and gravity warping space itself.


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