5 Qs with Erika Siren

Erika is Anthropomania’s favourite Millennial and the co-host who keeps us in stitches.

Where’d you get your love of science and science communication? 

My love of science was nurtured at a very early stage in part, by my Dad who is a former scientist himself. I remember him telling me stories of the science behind everyday things: why cut apples turn brown, why scabs form after I skinned my knee, why cats always land on their feet. 

My interest in science communication didn’t come about until I became a scientist myself and realized that if you want your science to have impact, you better make it accessible!I’m often motivated by the quote from Ian Bogost’s article The Myth of ‘Dumbing Down. In it, he says that “everyone is capable of deep understanding”. Dumbing something down is a disservice to not only the scientists behind the discovery, but also the person who is giving you some of their valuable time to learn something new. When science is communicated well, we all benefit.

How’s your ficus doing ?

My ficus and I have a complex relationship but I think we’ve come to more of an understanding since Episode 3 of Anthropomania. I think he may even be growing a bit in my direction however, it could also be the fact that I’m often confused for “the sound of running water”. Still, I’ll take it! 

Tell us about your dog Cosmo. Can she do tricks? Any claims to fame?

Great Question. Cosmo is my geriatric, 10 lb, “yorkie-pekingnese-some-other-stuff” mix.  At 14 years old, Cosmo is officially “retired” so tricks really aren’t her thing anymore. She is however, fantastic at serving cold stares from across the room, terrorizing crows in our neighbourhood (I’m convinced they now recognize my face and are planning a neighbourhood-wide revolt against me and my husband), and overall, being absolutely FLAWLESS. 

What’s been your favourite experience making Anthropomania?

There are so many reasons why the experience of making Anthropomania has been such a precious one to me. The hosts! The guests! The production (shout out to Lightscope (producer) , Steve Dodd (theme music), John Smith (sound designer) , and TilbyFobris (artwork)! I’m drinking from a fire hose with all the talent and experience that is behind each episode. 

If I had to pick one however, it would be the experience of learning while building these stories. I’m a scientist, but my expertise lies in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering. I love the idea that I can learn alongside not only my co-hosts, but the listeners too.

Erika Siren with Cosmo

What are you binge watching these days? 

Netflix and Amazon Prime have become close friends of mine during the pandemic. I can never resist a good documentary. “Stuffed”, a documentary that takes us into the fantastical  world of Taxidermy is a “must watch”. You may also hear a few voices from the documentary on a future episode of Anthropomania…

That said, I’m not a discerning TV-watcher, “The Real Housewives” franchise and “Lupin” both have places in my heart. 

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