JASON SNYDER, Principal Investigator
JS: Before we get started here is there anything you want to share, put in a plug for your new book, anything like that?
JS: Well, I kinda hate self promotion but since you asked I could use this space to mention that I have a life outside of science which revolves around taking pictures of all the interesting people and everyday happenings that occur in this world: jasonsynder.com. You could call it street photography I suppose. It might relate to my tendency as a scientist to do descriptive characterization work, to document the basics and provide a framework for others in the future, whatever their needs may be. Likewise, on the street there are so many fascinating and beautiful people, and transient occurrences, that I cannot seem to stop documenting them. What’s the point, I’m not sure, but it is information that documents the age we live in, and if it ever opens anyone’s eye to something they might not have otherwise noticed, or made them think, then I am happy…
JS: Okay, let’s warm up with something easy. Or pretend we’re warming up because you’ve clearly warmed up after blabbing so much in response to the first question. Coffee or a cold apple: which keeps you going?
JS: When I’m feeling “low energy” I usually just close my eyes and imagine eating a cold (organic) apple and that’s sufficient. Actually, I just started roasting my own coffee a couple weeks ago.
JS: And how do you like Vancouver? Where did you live before coming to Vancouver? Vancouver’s better, right? KIDDING! There are no wrong answers here! Please, go ahead.
JS: I used to roll my eyes at the “Best place in the world” license plates, well, actually I still do. But I’m kinda starting to believe it. I grew up in Nova Scotia so got my dose of fog and ocean as a child. Now, as I ride my bike to work in the winter, sometimes in shorts and a t-shirt, and there’s sun and fog and tankers and snow capped mountains…I mean, holy crap. I love it. I was in Toronto for a long time too and loved it there, particularly 554 Queen St W. And Washington DC will always have a special place in my heart too.
JS: Standard interview question, sorry: What’s your worst feature and how can you spin it to make you sound amazing?
JS: This is terrible – how can you ask people this? Umm, I have a disorder where I cannot resist adding additional groups and factors to my experiments. If wanting to understand everything is a bad feature then SO BE IT!
JS: Tell me about your first experiment. Not from your first lab experience, school etc, but your REAL FIRST experiment. If you have amnesia or if your first official experiment in a lab is particularly memorable, that’ll work too.
JS: I remember playing in dirt, back when I lived in Texas, on my birthday. It was before the party and I remember an older kid telling me that even though my party hadn’t occurred yet, it was still my birthday and I was officially X years old. That was a big learning experience. But that’s not the experiment. I was probably 5 or something and I was mixing dark dirt and light dirt to make an intermediate-coloured dirt. Basically I established my first protocol. Wish I still had my lab book.
JS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How about 50 years? 400 years? I’m talking at a basic level about where do you think you’ll be at but, also, what do you hope to have contributed to planet earth?
JS: (coffee break)
JS: What are you up to when you’re not in the lab? WHAT? YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS IN THE LAB? Just kidding, do tell!
JS: (coffee break #2)
JS: Standard interview question #2, really sorry: Tell me about a challenge you faced (and totally overcame).
JS: (coffee break #3)
JS: If you were to come into the lab one morning (it’s ok to leave the lab to sleep at night, sometimes) and find that someone had brought in your favourite edible treat to share with the lab, what would that favourite edible treat be?
JS: That’s disgusting.
JS: You’re disgusting.