Skip to main content

Month: May 2011

Science Olympiad 2011: New Horizons of Discovery

It might be summer break, but exciting things are still happening at UW Madison.

Just after the end of the semester, the university is pleased to welcome over 7,000 middle and high school students for the annual Science Olympiad Tournament from May 18-21.

Students will compete in a number of science-related competitions, including vehicle and robot design, anatomy and other subject-specific tests, tower design, substance identification, and more. Click here for a full list of Science Olympiad competitions. Competitors will also have the opportunity to experience tours, workshops, and more at a variety of campus locations.

This year’s theme is “New Horizons of Discovery,” and UW Madison is a great location for such an event. As the welcome to Science Olympiad competitors states, “In 2009, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UW-Madison third nationally in the number of university-generated patents. ranked Madison the third best city for science and technology jobs. And The Princeton Review named UW-Madison one of the top 25 entrepreneurial campuses in the nation.”

Go Big Read joins the rest of the university in welcoming and congratulating Science Olympiad Students on their exciting scientific accomplishments!

A Little More About Community Reads

Go Big Read is still fairly new to UW Madison, but community reads, book clubs, and book groups have been popular across the globe for centuries.

Here’s just a few examples of how book groups and community reads- like Go Big Read- have become popular in America:

Ben Franklin first started an organized literary society in the United States as early as 1715. In the 1920s, many Americans lacked access to bookstores, and the “Book of the Month Club” was started to fill this gap. For an annual fee, members received one book a month in the mail. This made books much more accessible to the general public, and at the same time giving a symbolic “badge of intelligence” to members.

The Association of Book Group Reacers and Leaders founder, Rachel Jacobsohn, estimates that there may be 250,000 reading groups in America today. These usually fall into one of three categories: leadered groups, which are led by an individual or organization, bookstore or library groups, and “living room groups.”

With so many options, it’s no wonder that despite technological change, community reads are as popular as ever- in the public as well as in universities. Most Americans have heard of Oprah’s Book Club, which hugely affected the reading habits of many Americans (Check out this video for more!) . Just look at Go Big Read- in the last year 40,000 copies of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks were dispersed on campus!

Thanks for being a part of UW Madison’s community read program and helping to support Go Big Read!

Community Reads Across the Country

Other universities are getting involved in community reads, too. If you’re looking for a post-finals book to read, these are some great options!

Maryville University of St. Louis, Missouri, spent the past year reading Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun.

Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI, read The Lazarus Project by Aleksander Heman.

Ohio State University read Outcasts United by Warren St. John.

Indiana University read John Stuart Mills’ On Liberty.

Grand Valley State University, located in Allendale, MI, also read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2011. Not a bad pick!

New students at Cornell University read Homer & Langely by E.L. Doctorow.

In the past two years, the community at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has read Michael Pollen’s In Defense of Food, and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, with our third year of the program just around the corner. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have!

New Interview With Rebecca Skloot

A new interview with Rebecca Skloot was posted this week in “Simply Stated,” the blog for Real Simple magazine. Skloot extensively answers questions from readers of Real Simple, giving further book information and hints at what she’s up to next.

One topic that Skloot touches on relates to her role in the book. Although Skloot is a major character in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, she admits that for some time, she had no intention of being a character at all, saying that “I don’t belong in this story—it’s the Lacks family’s story, not mine.” It was only through the urging of others, including Deborah Lacks, that her interactions with the family became such a crucial part of the story.

Skloot also talks about her current and future plans. Currently, she is working on a young reader’s edition of Henrietta Lacks. She and the Lacks family are also consultants on an upcoming HBO movie based on the book. Skloot even hints at her next book topic, which has “something to do with animals,” but no further information is being released just yet!

Click here to read the full “Simply Stated” article.