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1 April 2014

Scientists must use more jargon for public to appreciate science, study shows

Most of the public is turned off by scientists’ overly accessible and personalized descriptions of their work, new research shows.


17 March 2014

St. Patrick’s Science Limericks

Enjoy the greatest tradition of the holiday: science-themed limericks!


11 March 2014

Calling for Science-Themed Limericks: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Style!

The best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to write a science-themed limerick–and then get it featured on The Plainspoken Scientist!


24 February 2014

Illustrated IPCC Haiku?

“I didn’t deliberately set out to distill the Summary for Policymakers of the latest IPCC report into illustrated haiku. But, one weekend when I was too sick to leave the house, I found myself inspired by its ‘Headline Statements’…”


14 February 2014

Science Valentines!

Whether you adore Valentine’s Day or despise it, you’ve got to love a clever valentine—especially if it’s science themed. Consider these great examples, and let your heart beat faster as you contemplate the timeless beauty of science merged with romance.


10 February 2014

Modelling Middle Earth’s climate: How I borrowed some of Tolkien’s magic for paleoclimate science

Dan Lunt, a paleoclimate modeler at the University of Bristol (UK), describes how he reached out to new audiences about climate science by modeling the climate of Tolkein’s Middle Earth.


24 January 2014

We’ve got to nominate!

Or, why I’m embarrassed that I’ve never submitted (or supported) a nomination for the AGU Honors Program – and why I’m going to make an effort to change that.


14 January 2014

The Polar Vortex Gets Its 15 Minutes of Fame

I was asked by the AGU to do a post about the Polar Vortex for the AGU Blog THE BRIDGE. You can read it by clicking on the image below: and then you should read Bob Henson’s piece from the NCAR AtmosNews Journal


11 December 2013

AGU Fall Meeting 2013: the first two days

The first two days of landslides at the AGU Fall Meeting 2013


9 December 2013

AGU 2013: Earth Science-palooza

After braving excruciating cold, ice-bound airports, and snow-covered mountain passes to get here, some 21,000 Earth Scientists have descended on San Francisco for the annual AGU Fall Meeting. They’ll all be happy to know that the National Weather Service calls for freezing temperatures in all areas except San Francisco tonight. So everyone from Back East can still pretend they’re having a balmy California vacation while we locals wrap our heads …


2 December 2013

Social Media Roundup: AGU Fall Meeting 2013

It’s that time again! Less than a week until AGU’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco and my schedule is already full with a whole slew of great sessions, events and activities. As is my annual tradition, I’ve collected a list of various social-media-related items for you to peruse.


The Gift of Science Communication

This year, why not give the science communicators in your life something that speaks to their passion for sharing science?


22 November 2013

Open Question: Talking science with family and friends

With Thanksgiving around the corner, many of us will soon be celebrating with friends and family who have no idea what we do. How do you talk about science over the holidays? If you don’t, why don’t you?


18 November 2013

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Communication’s Door

Guest blogger John Calderazzo, a nonfiction writer and Colorado State University English professor, explains how rapping your knuckles on a table might teach you a crucial lesson about communicating science.


5 November 2013

What Would Leonardo Do?

Want to communicate about science with kids in a compelling way? Guest blogger Rick Colwell and his geomicrobiology group at Oregon State University learned from experience that it helps to give young folks something fun and informative to do and to give them something to take away with them, too. Figuring that out took a couple of tries, Colwell recalls.


29 October 2013

Science-themed Halloween costumes: the photos themselves

It is with great pleasure that we present, for your delectation and inspiration, a gallery of science-themed Halloween costumes.


22 October 2013

On the air with a paleoclimatologist

The path of science news goes something like this: Nature is doing something interesting, scientist discovers the interesting thing, reporter talks to scientist, public hears reporter, public understands nature better, world is a better place. This is what I learned over the summer working as a science reporter at KQED public radio in San Francisco.

This summer, AGU sponsored me as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Fellow. The fellowship gives about a dozen young scientists each year the opportunity to cultivate their communications skills while also providing media outlets with a temporary scientific expert.


11 October 2013

Calling for the Best Science-themed Halloween Costumes

Don’t just share your science—wear your science!

We love to highlight the arts of writing and speaking about science on this blog. Sometimes, though, you can communicate your science without saying or writing a word—and look great while you do it.

So please: send your photos to by Wed., Oct. 23. Include the full name, title, and affiliation of the person in the photo and a caption explaining the costume (as if you were writing for a general audience) along with your name and permission to use your photo.


1 October 2013

Let’s Talk Science

As Earth Science week approaches, the attentions of the community turn to education and outreach. Within the broad E&O umbrella, effective communication with K-12 students remains a key priority. A small number of children will grow up to be scientists; all children will grow up to be stake-holders in society. It should be an easy job: even very young children are natural scientists, fascinated by experiments like, how does a liquid behave when I jump in this puddle? Or, how does my pacifier make its way to the floor and back to me if I throw it? (Do the laws of physics change after the 5th time?)


27 September 2013

The National Academies Contemplate Geoengineering

This month at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., a 16-person ad hoc committee of scientists held its second meeting to discuss the practicality of various methods of purposefully changing Earth’s environment to combat climate change, sometimes called climate engineering or geoengineering. Convened purely for investigation and discussion rather than making recommendations, the group cast a wide net for ideas, even those they might ultimately reject as made- for-Hollywood only.