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24 July 2015
Steady eye contact. Open body language. Warm, conversational tones. These are phrases not used often enough to describe scientists. Alan Alda wants to change that. Alda, an award-winning actor best known for his portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce on the T.V. show “M.A.S.H.,” has always been attracted to science. On July 15 Alda spoke at The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., about his experiences hosting the PBS “Scientific American Frontiers” T.V. series and his work with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.
21 July 2015
What if you were limited to using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language to explain your science? That’s what groups of scientists did this summer at several AGU Sharing Science communications skills-building workshops. This year, for the first time, AGU’s Sharing Science program is offering on-site workshops at universities and scientific institutions. During each of these workshops, we ask participants to break into small groups and use the 1,000 most common words in the English language to describe a scientific concept of their choosing. The exercise was inspired by an xkcd comic in which the artist, Randall Munroe, drew a diagram of the Saturn V rocket – the rocket that took astronauts to the moon – using only the “ten hundred” most common words in the English language.
29 June 2015
This is the third in a three-part series answering scientists’ frequently-asked questions about working with the media. This FAQ series accompanies the Working with the Media webinar, offered by AGU’s Sharing Science program on May 29. Read part one and part two.
1. What are some common pitfalls when working with the media and how can I avoid them?
Common Pitfall #1: Getting into the weeds. Focus on the bigger picture. Prepare your top three key messages ahead of time and practice delivering them to a mirror, to a friend, over the phone, etc. During the interview, bring the conversation back to your key messages. Then, keep coming back to them. Communicating in simple, repeated messages is not a natural skill for many scientists, but it is a critical skill for any speaker. Often, audiences need to hear ideas repeated before they will remember them. For more on this, read “How much detail should I go into when talking with reporters” in Part II of the FAQ.
19 June 2015
This is the second in a three-part series answering scientists’ frequently-asked questions about working with the media. This FAQ series accompanies the Working with the Media webinar, offered by AGU’s Sharing Science program on May 29. 1. How should I prepare for an interview? When a reporter contacts you to schedule an interview, find out what the format will be. Is it an in-person, phone, radio or TV interview? Who is the person doing the interview? About how long will it be? If it’s for TV or radio, is the interview being taped or is it live? Then, write and rehearse your key messages – the main thoughts you want to share during the interview. Practice repeating them until you can rattle off the essentials but don’t memorize them word-for-word.
10 June 2015
This is the first in a three-part series answering scientists’ frequently-asked questions about working with the media. 1. What should I expect when working with the media? Journalists may or may not have a science background, and may or may not have covered the topic before. So, it is best to talk to journalists as if they are new to the subject and don’t have a science background. They will ask for more detail if they need it.
16 April 2015
A wide range of climate science experts, including researchers, state climatologists, and Fulbright students, will volunteer their time to meet with churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith groups in more than 20 U.S. states to speak on climate change and explore solutions on a local level.
1 April 2015
In a recent opinion story for AGU’s Eos magazine, Associate Executive Director and Senior Policy Fellow at the American Meteorological Society William Hooke reflects on the current status of the relationship between science and society: “Stresses over the past decade or so have frayed the fabric of the social contract between scientists and society. The complexity and costs of science have been growing … Society has asked scientists for more help, even as research budgets have remained relatively constant. Relations have been strained on both sides.”
11 March 2015
Today marks the fourth anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake occurred offshore of Japan and kicked off a tsunami. At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the natural disasters knocked out backup power systems used to cool reactors. Consequently, three reactors underwent fuel melting, hydrogen explosions, and radioactivereleases. Although it happened four years ago, the disaster, and possible consequences, still generates questions from reporters, scientists, nuclear plant operators and the public, says Ken Buessler, a marine radiochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He says he uses the disaster’s news focus to try to educate the general public about the science of radiation, including how at-risk people really are.
2 March 2015
“Well, if you need me I’ll be hiding under my desk,” I told my adviser on Friday afternoon. I’d just finished a 20-minute phone call with PRI (Public Radio International)’s The World.
Responding to press inquiries is hard, and a morning of staring intently though the clutter on my desk wracking my brain for simple, concise answers to unexpected questions had left me feeling ragged. It had been just over 24 hours since the University of Arizona’s public information office had co-issued a press release with AGU about my recent paper on Icelandic glacial rebound, which was published in Geophysical Research Letters, and I’d spent all day Thursday and all of Friday morning answering emails and phone calls from reporters.
17 February 2015
“I am a scientist, first and foremost, but I feel it is my responsibility to answer questions from the public when I am asked,” Diffenbaugh said during a panel on communications Feb. 12 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose, California.
13 February 2015
Video is an excellent tool for conveying emotion and generating excitement. It’s got beautiful moving images, ambient sound, and music (if you dare). It’s got human connection if you talk with people on camera or see them active on screen. It’s the most visceral way to capture an audience and tell a story. It’s not the best at communicating the details of a story however. Text, well written, still does a good job at that. But if your audience is prepped and excited about a topic or in my current case, a research expedition (because they watched an interesting or compelling video), they may be more inclined to sit down and read more about it.
8 December 2014
Geoscientist and singer-songwriter shares her creative side at AGU’s Open Mic Night – and you can, too
Science is about discovering universal truths. Music, they say, is a universal language. So what better way to communicate science than through music?
11 November 2014
On 27 June, lava from Kīlauea, an active volcano on the island of Hawai`i, began flowing to the northeast, threatening the residents in Pāhoa. Eos recently spoke with Michael Poland, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and a member of the Eos Editorial Advisory Board, to discuss how he and his colleagues communicated this threat to the public.
3 November 2014
Doodling in Science Class: Using Stick Figure Animations to Explain Complex Science at Stanford University (Videos)
Emma Hutchinson discusses how climate change might impact the strongest wind system on Earth, and what that means for ocean circulation patterns in this Stanford University video. Traer partnered with Hutchinson to animate her story with white board drawings in the hopes of making it easier for the public to understand her complex research. Video courtesy of Stanford School of Earth Sciences. By Miles Traer From my time as an …
16 October 2014
The wonderful thing about science communication and outreach is that there are an almost infinite number of ways to share your science. We’ve made a quick list of some of the kinds of activities you can be involved in to share your science.
8 August 2014
That’s right, Toastmasters, the outfit with the retro name that seems to promise insurance salesmen who shake your hand too hard, like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day who keeps pestering Bill Murray. “It’s Ned! NED RYERSON!”
Yes, I was dubious, too.
But then la few weeks ago I actually went to a meeting…
28 July 2014
Consider these three related stories. Little Red Riding Hood sets off through the forest to Grandmother’s house. Mad Captain Ahab sails the Pacific in search of Moby Dick. You hit the road for a season of field work. Yes, Red Riding Hood, Ahab, you. All related.
24 July 2014
Abstracts are the quintessential means of getting the gist of your research out there to other scientists. But what if you want to reach a broader audience? What if you want to give your abstract that extra oomph that will combine its scientific rigor with some artistic creativity? Why, in that case you artify your abstract!
2 July 2014
Do you think you have what it takes to create the next viral video or geo-style trend? Prove it by taking part in the 2014 Student T-shirt Design and Student Video contests. The winner of each contest will receive free registration to the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting. Plus, T-Shirts with the winning design will be sold at the AGU Fall Meeting, with proceeds going to the Student Travel Grant Fund. More about each contest is below.
17 June 2014
In the digital age, anyone can comment, tweet, or blog. This means that expert voices are often diluted in the online conversation. In a Forum in the 17 June issue of Eos, Amy Luers, director for climate change at the Skoll Global Threats Fund and David Kroodsma, research analyst at the Skoll Global Threats Fund, describe the challenges for scientists trying to communicate in this “post-expert” age.