Danielle Parsons, Filming a Miniature Cast of Characters


If you think peering into a microscope is the very essence of science nerdity, what about someone who peers into microscopes, shoots long videos of what she sees, and then shares them through an app and website called WonderScience? Undisputed ruler of Dork Mountain?


While Danielle Parsons might embrace that title, once you see her work, you’ll have to admit she is also one of the coolest people—not only in all of dorkdom, but anywhere. Her videos of tiny organisms in pondwater, gemstones, liquid crystals and nanostructures are beautiful, lyrical, mesmerizing—and even stadium-rocking: Metallica invited her to help produce the visuals for their historic performance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, to open the new Chase Center arena in San Francisco in September.


Danielle has been passionate about tiny things since she was a kid making up stories about a garden gnome named Eugene who lived in a matchbox. At Harvard, she studied with world famous ant researcher E.O. Wilson, and then was drawn even deeper into the world of the tiny after attending a Cal Tech lecture on the community of bacteria that live in termite guts, enabling them to digest wood. If there are even tinier creatures living inside those bacteria, Danielle will sleuth them out, blow them up, and bring them to the (relatively) big screen.


In this podcast, Danielle talks about her path to becoming a videomicroscopist, what she finds so cool about it, and offers some tips on how you can try videomicroscopy for yourself.

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