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Unseen Oceans
 Figure 1. Top: a still frame from the virtual video of the Scientist at Work media installation used during the planning stages shows the model of the underwater robot used. Bottom: video shows the author narrating the video.
A few months later, Joann contacted me with a pitch about including my work as part of the exhibit. I asked a lot of questions! It was clearly going to be a significant time com- mitment, but the artists, educators, and exhibit specialists at the museum were engaging and creative. The team was working with much longer deadlines than any I had expe- rienced in doing press or other outreach, and the scale of the potential audience was compelling. I couldn’t say no. I was quickly set up with a team of storytellers including an exhibit writer, a documentary filmmaker, and an installation artist. They interviewed me several times by phone, each time getting deeper into the science, the technology, and the stories behind the data. Slowly, from these conversa- tions came a compelling story about my work in midwater, acoustics, the technologies our team has been developing with collaborators, and my path in science. The communica- tion team passed the storyboard and bullet points around, including me in the process of refining and framing until everyone was excited about it. Then, using fragments of the interviews they had recorded, they brought it to life in a
mock-up video that provided a visitor’s eye perspective of the installation (Figure 1). After getting the sign-off from everyone, the team transformed this vision into reality.
In February 2018, a year into this effort, I spent an evening at the AMNH with other scientists who had contributed to the exhibit, the famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle, an artist, musicians, and dancers at a public event where we each shared our passion for the sea. As part of this celebra- tion of the impending opening of the exhibit, our group of enthusiastic science nerds had the chance to walk through the nearly complete exhibit together (Figure 2). I was awed to see how the stories I knew, and many that I didn’t, were pieced together into a journey through the ocean. There were opportunities for those at every level, literally and figuratively, to play and experience the ocean (Figure 3). Throughout, the process of discovery was woven into the stories of what we know, new technologies were on display, and a diverse range of scientists were profiled to help people imagine themselves in that role.
My part of the exhibit is fairly early in the journey through the “ocean.” Connecting the shallow waters where plank- ton live to the deep sea is a layer of midwater animals that effectively scatters sound from sonars. These so-called “deep scattering layers” are extensive, covering the mesopelagic or
Figure 2. Speakers at the Ocean Luminaries event at the American Museum of Natural History hamming it up in the exhibit just before its opening. Front row, left to right: Wallace Nichols, Kakani Katija, Kelly Benoit-Bird, and Tierney Thys; back row: John Sparks and Rashid Sumaila.
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