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2 November 2015

Showing by (simply) telling

Why did I decide to submit an abstract for the “Up-Goer Five Giving-It-a-Try” session at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting, which challenges scientists to explain their work using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language? Well, I’m already presenting my research for the meeting, so I’ve got the talk outline and figures already queued up. That made my decision easier. But, what I really wanted was to see whether I could translate my work into simplified language. Scientists love jargon, but I think it’s equally as fun to discover just how common (or uncommon) even basic geology-related words are. All I can say is that it’s lucky “rock” is one of those words, or it would have been really hard to write my abstract in Up-Goer language!


27 October 2015

Ignite a crowd, in just 5 minutes, at the AGU Fall Meeting

Scientists are increasingly encouraged to share the meaning and implications of their research with non-scientists. And, as many who have attempted this endeavor at a party or a Thanksgiving dinner table know, talking about scientific research with those outside your field is difficult. Yet, it can be fun and rewarding.

Being able to convey the details and importance of your work can help to boost public support for science, enhance your career prospects and improve your chances of finding funding. Communication is a skill not typically taught as part of scientific training, but training and practice can help you communicate more effectively.

Ignite@AGU is one such opportunity for researchers to hone their communication skills and become more comfortable talking about their work with diverse audiences. Similar to a TED talk, Ignite gives presenters just five minutes and 20 auto-advancing slides to make their point.


20 December 2013

Senator Olympia Snowe Encourages Scientists to Make Their Voices Heard

The large auditorium was standing-room only for former Senator Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) address at AGU’s 2013 Fall Meeting. An ally with a history of standing up for many of AGU’s key issues on and off Capitol Hill, Senator Snowe resigned in January of 2013 over what she saw as an increasingly inept and hyper-partisan atmosphere in Congress. During her time in the Senate, Snowe positioned herself in the middle of …


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 …


3 December 2013

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund: Protecting the Scientific Endeavor

So you are having a great time at the AGU Fall Meeting. You are meeting science colleagues from around the world, you are seeing cutting edge research presented in the scientific program, and you are enjoying the sights and sounds of beautiful San Francisco. Then you check your email and the blood drains from your face. Your institution’s legal counsel explains that a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request has …