A conversation with Moira Gunn about BioTech Nation

I’ve listened to many of Moira Gunn’s Tech Nation podcasts, so it was a treat to turn the tables and interview her for this week’s episode of my show. Recently she’s been devoting a lot of attention to the world of biotechnology. There’s a new show focused exclusively on that subject, BioTech Nation, and in March she published a book about the show: Welcome to BioTech Nation: My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas.

In this conversation we discuss what it’s like for a computer scientist and engineer to venture into the world of biotechnology, why the decade of biotech may finally have arrived, what makes biotech entrepeneurs special, and how we can use Internet media to enlarge the public understanding of science and technology.

On that last point, Moira echoed comments that I’ve also heard recently from Hugh McGuire and Timo Hannay, both of whom told me they listen voraciously to science-oriented podcasts. They all agree that hearing scientists narrate their own work, in their own words, is a wonderful new opportunity, and a great way to promote more and better public understanding.

It’s also interesting to hear Moira’s take on podcasting. Comparing her long experience with large terrestrial and satellite radio audiences to her recent experience with a smaller Internet radio audience, she says: “The quality of the listener you get on the Internet is far better.”

3 Comments

  1. I am a devourer of science related podcasts. FIB, Nature Podcast, Science Friday, NEJM podcast, etc. Scintilla (Nature’s personalized aggregator) also captures a number of podcasts. It would be great to add some interactivity over time. Right now, it’s just too hard

  2. Jon

    By interactivity, I meant the kind of experience that Leo Laporte is experimenting with by having a podcast that is recorded live via Talkshoe, or viewed using Ustream. The ability to potentially chat with users in real time (something that I am trying to do with my own podcast using Kyte.tv).

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