Poetry and Science – another Baikal inspiration!

I know that Lake Baikal has inspired a great deal of art (for reasons that seem abundantly self-evident to this team of Baikal researchers!) but I just found out about one that surprised me!

Lyubov Izmest’eva and grandfather Mikhail Kozhov, featured in New York Times article 6 May 2008. Photo shared by L.R. Izmest’eva.

My colleague here at NCEAS, Dr. Kim Selkoe, just told me that her friend wrote a poem that was inspired by reading the New York Times article about our Lake Baikal research in 2008. The poem is titled “Dr. Izmesteva Has Now Analyzed the Data” and it’s in Elizabeth Marie Young’s 2009 prize-winning book of poetry.

Now before you scientists start geeking out too much on the idea that this poem is actually about Lake Baikal and our Russian colleagues’ excellent work there (!), I should remind you that the poet was inspired by reading about the research but the prose is really its own thing, beautiful to read but not so much about the science or the lake…

How many times has a song inspired me to work harder late at night in the lab or at my computer (check out my pick for best late night programming music), without the science itself being about the song? I think I get it. Inspiration works in many ways.

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