Blogs, Social Network Services, Podcasting, Social Bookmarks -- these types of social media have become influential sources of information. Some might say that they have as much influential power as the conventional media. Scientists working on the International Linear Collider are catching on too and realise that podcasting is another way to promote the proposed project to a non-scientific audience.
Taisei Tanaka, a young entrepreneur with a background in law who runs a company that commercialises R&D from Tokyo University, was one of the first people in Japan to hit on the idea of podcasting the ILC. “I think people tend to think of scientists as non-friendly, square people who wear lab coats,” said Tanaka. “I had never heard about the ILC until I worked with Dr. Yamashita. It was such fun talking to him, and it gave me the idea of podcasting the ILC. I want to share my experience.” Tanaka also runs a web related company and is knowledgeable about the podcasting movement in Japan. A popular podcasting programme called "Cyber Space Cowboys" that broadcasts very technical topics gave him the first hint. “The contents are very technical, almost 'geek speak.' But people love it because of the contrast between its expertise and laid-back style. This is what people want to listen to now,” said Tanaka. "Cyber Space Cowboys," which started in 2005, has a total of over 100 million listeners now, maintaining its position in the top-ten rating survey. The programme even released a music album that is sold in the iTunes store.
After listening to "Cyber Space Cowboys," Tanaka arranged a recording session with Satoru Yamashita, an associate professor of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics, University of Tokyo and Erika Yamada, a sophomore at Waseda University who is majoring in Japanese literature. “I am supposed to represent the Japanese people at large, since I don't know anything about ILC,” said Yamada with a smile and confessed that she did not like to study mathematics in high school. “So, it was natural for me to avoid studying physics. It was difficult, complicated and boring,” she added. When Yamada started recording, she thought that it was very strange for her to be talking about physics. “But after the a couple of recordings, I realised that I am living in the physics world,” she said. After the recording was complete, she even wrote on her blog about the podcast: ”Listening to this podcasting, you may not only receive information regarding the ILC, but also a new way of thinking about the philosophy of life. This programme can be a chance for you to meet your new personality.”
Tanaka is planning to start ILC videocasts in the near future. “It might be difficult since you cannot actually see the particles on the video,” he said. “But I think that seeing the scientists explain the physics makes a big difference.” Thus, the community who invented the World Wide Web shall continue to utilise it to its maximum.Linearcollider Podcast
-- Rika Takahashi
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