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Cool Jobs 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Imagine hanging out with some of the world’s kookiest critters in the jungle’s tallest trees, building a robot that does stand-up comedy, inventing a device that propels you into the air like Batman, or traveling back in a DNA time machine to study ancient animals! We met the scientists who make it possible. They included ecologist and explorer Mark Moffett, aka “Dr. Bugs,” roboticist Heather Knight, mechanical engineer and daredevil Nathan Ball, and evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro. We found out what they do, how they do it, and how they got the coolest and weirdest jobs on the planet.

 

Moderator

Baba BrinkmanRap Artist, Writer

Canadian rap artist, writer, and former tree-planter, Baba Brinkman has personally planted more than one million trees in the Rocky Mountains. After graduating with an M.A. in comparative literature in 2003, he began his career as a rap troubadour.

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Participants

Beth ShapiroEvolutionary Paleogeneticist

Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. A pioneer in the young field called “ancient DNA,” Beth travels extensively in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Siberia and Canada collecting bones and other remains of long-dead creatures.

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Heather KnightRoboticist

Heather Knight is an electrical engineer and social roboticist who runs Marilyn Monrobot in New York, where she and her cohort create “charismatic machine performances,” as well as founding the world’s first Robot Film Festival. Knight is currently conducting her doctoral research at the intersection of robotics and entertainment at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute.

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Mark MoffettEcologist, Explorer

Mark Moffett is recognized for his discovery of new species and behavior in remote parts of the world. His latest book, Adventures with the Ants, examines the parallels between human and ant societies based on his travels to the Amazon, Congo, Australia, Iran, Borneo, and elsewhere.

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Nate BallMechanical Engineer

Inventor, entrepreneur, athlete, musician, and TV host Nate Ball draws on his many different pursuits to inspire budding engineers on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel. Ball’s fascination with engineering started early.

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