Lights, Camera, Biology!

4 August 2013

Photo by Sara Rubinstein ’98


Stephan Zweifel and Mark McKone are worried. They’ve been called to the president’s office, and the two biology professors are sure they’re in big trouble because some, uh, incriminating photos may have been posted on Facebook following a recent department party. But President Steven Poskanzer just wants Zweifel and McKone to clarify how blood types are inherited. Luckily, Zweifel has brought a whiteboard with him to illustrate the details. And lucky for Carleton students, the entire exchange was shot on video and posted on YouTube.

Explaining genetic concepts following campus misadventures is a hallmark of the popular Bio 125 video series, which revisits topics covered in Zweifel’s and McKone’s introductory biology course: Genes, Evolution, and Development. 

“We hoped that the humor would entice students to watch what antics Mark and Stephan are up to now,” says Zweifel. “It was only a matter of time until we became known as the Joel and Ethan Coen of the biology department.”

“It was Stephan’s idea to do a video series with Mark, and I encouraged them to use skits and humor,” says biology major Cameron Stahl ’14 (Bainbridge Island, Wash.), who was the project’s cinematographer.

The team is already shooting footage for next year. “We believe it is a great way to connect with the students in this large introductory science course,” says Zweifel. “And this is just the publicity we need for the YouTube videos to go viral!”

Web Extra: Follow along with the class.

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