Information theory is a field all about information, of course. But it’s also about communication. Here at The Informaticists, we believe that the more avenues we have for communicating science, the better! In addition to producing a blog and podcast, we recently added science outreach to our repertoire of communication modes.
Why science outreach? Well, like any professor, Tsachy Weissman is constantly confronted with some of the most challenging questions in the world. Problems about image compression, denoising, communication channels—when it comes to information theory, he’s seen it all! But nothing prepared him for the most dumbfounding question yet:
“What exactly is it that dad does, anyway?”
The question, posed by his young daughter, got Professor Weissman thinking, and he decided to answer it with the help of his EE 376A class. Under the direction of event organizer extraordinaire (and EE 376A student!) Sofía Dudas, we held our first outreach event at the Lucille M. Nixon Elementary school. There, our EE 376A class set up over 50 different activities centered around various aspects of information at the first ever Information Science and Engineering Night.
So what did the activities cover? Everything from communication in the animal kingdom, to the basics of how DNA carries genetic information, to the fundamentals of coding, and even picture books–all geared towards a K-5 audience! You can learn more about the event (and even see a short performance by student Chelsea Sidrane!) at this video.
Thanks again to all the hardworking students from EE 376A, their hardworking project mentors (members of the Weissman group at Stanford), the Nixon PTA, the patient and enthusiastic students at Nixon Elementary, and especially Ms. Dudas for making all of this possible.