My name is Danbee (단비), which in Korean means (literally) “sweet rain” and (idiomatically) “the first rain after a drought”. I’m a field neuroscientist and comic book author who spends a lot of time thinking about creative learning experiences, decolonisation, capoeira, circus, and cuttlefish. I love being in the wilderness, especially in the mountains and by the sea.
I believe art has an important role in organising and building knowledge, as a tool for helping experts across specialities collaborate and share insights. I got hooked on the neuroscience of storytelling while co-writing and choreographing an original musical called Hack, Punt, Tool (you can watch the 2017 production on YouTube). Since then I’ve written and performed a set of original “science songs”, created an interactive aquarium exhibit that collected neuroscience data from over 20,000 participants, and wrote and published a science fiction graphic novel called The First VIRS. My dream future is to train and play as a musician, capoeirista, and VIRS (vigilante intergalactic roustabout scholar).
My doctoral research with Adam Kampff (Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behavior) developed a framework for precisely observing nervous systems in increasingly natural environments and contexts. Referred to as “field neuroscience”, I developed this framework from traditional laboratory neuroscience using two strategies for balancing the controlled experiment approach with the ethological approach (a.k.a. the empirical method of observing freely behaving animals in their ecological niche, or “natural setting”):
- increase the environments available to use in the lab with the controlled experiment approach; and
- modify experimental designs to conduct them in “natural settings”.
I will continue to develop and teach Field Neuroscience with the UK-based company NeuroGears, focusing on building collaborative projects that use storytelling and interactive experiences to help people apply scientific methods of understanding to their daily lives. I currently organize and teach for the Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning, a summer enrichment camp for rising 3rd through 12th graders, and Neuronautas, a summer intensive field neuroscience program for teenagers.
If you would like to get in touch, please tweet @taunbot or email me at danbee[at]danbeekim[dot]org.