Intro from Jay Allison: Participants come to the Transom Story Workshop with the intention of creating change in their own lives. That makes it exciting for everyone. The class of Spring 2012 came from all over the country and Canada to spend two months here in Woods Hole. They were led by their gifted teacher, Rob Rosenthal, and dedicated teaching associate, Sarah Reynolds, along with a roster of visitors from This American Life, Studio 360, PRX, The Kitchen Sisters, and other Transom friends and staff. Most of the nine students had never made a radio story before. When they left, they had made stories as good or better than those you hear every day on nationally-distributed public radio programs. If you don’t believe me, listen to their work.
About “The Cell’s Mystery”
From searching for a story to the final touches on “The Cell’s Mystery”, the process was a roller coaster that I didn’t fully anticipate. I thought once you discover a great story… one with tales of war, pioneering discovery, and universal truths that of course a radio story would naturally flow forth, but that is not the case. Making a radio story – especially a science story – requires much more than just a cool idea. You need great interviewees, sounds to give a sense of place, writing to carry the listener along, a tight structure to emphasize the important point, and editing, lots and lots of editing. Rob, Sarah, and the whole Transom Workshop crew helped me understand how to take an idea and bring it to life through radio.
In the end, “The Cell’s Mystery” is about how science isn’t sterile. Behind scientific discovery there are people, there is history, and always more complicated questions. Dividing cells are what make up all life. The idea of cell division was first published in 1855, but for nearly a century scientists debated, “How?” There were theories but researchers struggled to prove what force caused division. It took a dedicated scientist and the microscope he invented to uncover the mystery. This is his story.
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