Saturday, May 7, 2016

What if Rosalind Franklin Used a Laptop with Powerpoint?

I have been watching a Broad Institute set of talks on CRISPR. For the most part they are superb but there was a thought that arose.

Back in the early 50's and thru probably;y the early 90's at least we used transparencies or 35 mm slides in presentations. They were both time consuming to produce, expensive, and were cumbersome. Half the time people put the 35 mm backwards/up side down or mixed them up.

Now with your laptop and PowerPoint you can make real time changes and you can click through hundreds of content dense slides in a femto second.

Then I thought of Rosalind Franklin and Jim Watson and the famous X Ray diffraction pattern. What if she had this on a PowerPoint slide presentation and just flipped through it at the speed of light while walking about as if in some TED Talk! Would "Jim" have taken poorer notes, would they have forever messed up the double helix, would Pauling had seen his mistake and published?

Sometimes technology may not be beneficial. Talks with infinite data packed on uncountable slides and spoken as if one is in some evangelical group meeting may not get the point across. Oftentimes great ideas occur in a pause, a new idea presented, then a slight respite, and connections occur.

Not that I am against PowerPoint slides, I am a big abuser of them, always have been, but simplicity and clarity are critical. One does not have to tell the audience every fact you gathered, just the important ones. And also, keep the preaching to the Church! Oh yes, and take the mike off before you start commenting.....