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18 February 2014
This past summer I was able to provide a young couple with their first view of Saturn through a telescope, and afterward they told me what a profound experience this look into space had been for them. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen such an emotional response since I opened the East Point Solar Observatory, a small public observatory in Nahant, Mass., in 1995. But listening to them reminded me how lucky we scientists are to pursue a career that brings out such warm feelings in our neighbors. It also made me wonder whether the effectiveness of our national approach to public outreach might be increased by more face-to-face contact between scientists and the public.
1 October 2013
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?)
20 April 2012
People can misunderstand the science behind climate change, which in turn can lead to skepticism, said scientists and communicators at the fourth annual Climate Change Symposium, held 16 April at Northern Virginia Community College. They shared ideas about how to correct the often-misconstrued data about Earth’s changing climate.
15 March 2012
Prove you’re the next Carl Sagan in three minutes or less. Now, go! That’s what young scientists, engineers and aspiring PhDs in the United States are being called to do – move an audience the way Sagan could, but in three minutes or less. Friday morning, a group of young speakers gathered at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to give it a try.
29 November 2011
After four busy summers studiously measuring the minute details of clouds, I spent my last summer as a graduate student in a newsroom, far away from the cockpit of a cloud-probing airplane. It was not just any newsroom but Voice of America’s politically charged newsroom in Washington, D. C. Almost overnight, this California-for-lifer was living and working amid the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital. As a half researcher–half …
14 April 2011
I confess that when I started my current position, I had no idea what I was doing. Well, not much. I had some experience doing outreach, took two relevant courses in graduate school, and worked at the wonderful Museum of the Earth for two years after college. But still, I felt very much fish-outa-water, despite all my enthusiasm. What were the most useful projects for me to be engaged in? Who was my audience and what was the best way to reach them? How could I tell if anything I was doing was actually working?
28 February 2011
Broader impacts programs are an increasingly important factor in winning hyper-competitive grants. But how can scientists gain the skills they need to succeed in outreach while they are busy learning what’s necessary to advance in their field? One possible answer: team up with the pros.
11 February 2011
I am a paleontologist by training, and an informal science educator by choice. I’m currently in a post-doc position that lets me do both, but I dedicate three quarters of my time to the educator role, an anomaly in the world of research science. Why, you might ask, would I leave a life of deciphering the early evolution of complex life for a life of “outreach” – running workshops, talking to second-graders, and sitting in on innumerable conference calls?
19 July 2010
Guest Post by Ed Adams, geology educator Several years ago, I started teaching summer field classes for teachers in need of additional science credits for their endorsements. To facilitate the exchange of information and to provide a repository of data links for my students, I created a series of web pages. This enabled my students, some of whom I only saw for a week, to access the data we used …
19 April 2010
Guest post by John C. Ayers, Professor at Vanderbilt University. A recent poll of earth scientists found that 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that data clearly demonstrate the earth is warming and that human activity is contributing to rising temperatures (EOS v. 90 Number 3, p. 22 — those who don’t have access to Eos, see this CNN story). In contrast, the same poll found that only …