Botanist to Speak at Scientific Illustration Conference
In her talk, UC Riverside’s Jodie Holt will attempt to raise plant awareness through art, science, and technology
“Jodie S. Holt, a professor of plant physiology at the University of California, Riverside and the botanical consultant for the blockbuster film Avatar, is a featured speaker at the conference this year of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, a professional organization of science communicators specializing in visualizations.
To be held in Savannah, Ga., from July 8 to July 14, the theme of the conference is “New Frontiers for Scientific Illustration: Looking at technology and its applications for the field of scientific illustration.”
“As a scientist I feel an obligation to contribute to science literacy and understanding, and art and technology are two excellent media for communicating science broadly to non-science audiences,” she said.Holt’s talk, scheduled for July 9, is titled “Do You ‘See’ Plants? Raising Plant Awareness through Art, Science, and Technology.” Using principles of plant form and function, she will explain why plants look the way they do and enhance the audience’s ability to ‘see’ plants.
Using a slide presentation of images from her work on Avatar and the many years she has studied and taught botany, she will share her experiences in working on the film, her perspectives on the development of the imaginary ecosystem and her thoughts on how that work connects to the work she does for her own research.
For Avatar, Holt informed the characterization of the botanist played by Sigourney Weaver. Holt’s expertise in invasive species was used in other aspects of the film, especially in the development of content for books and game designs related to the movie.
The other featured speakers at the conference are the artist/animator Chuck Carter, concept artist Terryl Whitlatch, and design editor Oliver Uberti.”