November 6, 2010

Grants for singing scientists

Last month's posts on science song trivia were pulled from the archives of a monthly newsletter that I used to write. Some other good tidbits are buried in those archives as well, and I may recycle them from time to time -- like right now, for example.

The May 2004 newsletter included a summary of all of the science song-related grants I was aware of at the time, as follows:

* The Chromatics, an a cappella group from Maryland, were awarded a NASA IDEAS (Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy and Space Science) grant in 1997, which they used to develop a CD of 6 astronomy songs. After the grant money ran out, they continued to write and record additional songs, the end result being a revised-and-expanded CD called AstroCappella 2.0.

* Priscilla Laws, a physics professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, received a small grant from the National Science Foundation in the mid-'90s that she used to finance an album of Physics Pholk Songs compiled and recorded by David and Ginger Hildebrand.

* In 2002, Carl Winter, director of the UC-Davis FoodSafe program, was awarded a 3-year, $418,391 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve food safety education through the use of music-based curricula. This one even spawned a couple of publications in peer-reviewed journals: "Incorporation of music in a food service food safety curriculum for high school students" (S.M. McCurdy et al., Food Protection Trends 28: 107-114, 2008) and "Food Safety Education Using Music Parodies" (C.K. Winter et al., Journal of Food Science Education 8: 62-67, 2009).

Much more recently -- earlier this year, in fact -- Wendy Silk of UC-Davis was given an "incubator" grant from NSF to develop a network of folks interested in science songs. Her proposal was "Undergraduate Biology Education - Songs for Teaching (UBEST)," and this blog is one networking/outreach activity resulting from it.

Perhaps others out there have also secured bits of funding for activities related to science songs. If you know of any, please leave a comment!

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