Tools for Exploration

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An example of a discovered pattern: This ordinary metal grate transforms the point source of a street light into an arc of reflected light.  Why such beautiful arcs?

An example of a discovered pattern: This ordinary metal grate transforms the point source of a street light into an arc of reflected light. Why such beautiful arcs?

I am interested in exploring how e-books can connect with the world beyond the screen, the physical world around us. I love the power of the digital world to capture a viewer’s attention and convey information using a variety of media. But I distrust the tendency of the digital media to narrow a reader’s focus to what’s on a screen, available through Google, tweeted, or blogged.

For 20-plus years, I worked as a science writer at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception. At the Exploratorium, I learned to pay attention to the world, noticing things that most people overlook—the color of shadows, the branching patterns of rivers and roads, the patterns of light beneath a tree. I learned to question the world, to search for patterns, and to experiment to discover my own answers.

I would like to consider how e-books can encourage this sort of exploration and experimentation. On the fictional side, I am interested in geographical storytelling where the environment, the reader, and the book combine to make a new experience. On the nonfiction side, I would like to explore how e-books can invite exploration of the environment and provide new avenues for sharing discoveries and experiences.

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