Finding rhythms of time - with some fun, too

CorrespondentJune 7, 2010 

Bora Zivkovic, 44, authors A Blog Around the Clock ( and also blogs at Science in the Triangle ( Zivkovic is one of the main organizers of ScienceOnline, an annual N.C. conference on science and the Internet. He tweets as @BoraZ. Questions and answers have been edited.

Q: You edit "Open Laboratory," a self-published annual compilation of the "best" crowd-sourced science blog posts. Where did you get the idea to produce this book?

That was a suggestion came up with for sponsoring our first ScienceOnline in 2007. While that scheme did not work out, I decided to do it on my own. The enthusiastic reception made it obvious that this needed to become an annual anthology, so we have published four to date and are busy preparing the fifth, with a different guest editor each year.

Q: Your scientific specialty is chronobiology, or the study of biological rhythms like sleep, but you post about many other fields. What most often catches your interest?

I am fascinated by animal behavior as well as physiological adaptations to extreme environments. Both are also closely related to the study of evolution and ecology. Often these topics intersect in some way with my field of circadian and annual rhythms, so a new study can motivate me to write a post that shows how those different lines of research relate and intersect.

Q: You often post about science journalism and science education. What role do you see science blogs playing in both today?

Many professional journalists use blogs as writing labs to get feedback from the readers who may have greater expertise on the topic. Nonjournalist scientists use blogs to explain research from a point of true expertise, help young scientists navigate the wild world of the academia, and, perhaps most importantly, educate journalists by being constant gadflies: fact-checking and critiquing their work.

Q: Following the chronobiology theme, you've posted 1,244 quotes about clocks. Where do you find so many clock quotes?

There are several online databases of quotes. I searched them for wise or pithy statements that contains words like "clock," "time," "sleep," "quotidian," "season," and just semi-automatically post one every day at 4 a.m.

T. DeLene Beeland:

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