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20 February 2014
CHICAGO – Last month, Stephen Hawking uploaded a two-page commentary about his new ideas about black holes to arXiv, a preprint server hosted by Cornell University Library covering research in physics, mathematics, computer science, nonlinear sciences, quantitative biology and statistics.
The paper generated buzz among journalists, who reported on Hawking’s commentary, and it also took off on social media and in the blogosphere where others in the scientific community commented on, discussed and contested Hawking’s ideas.
What Hawking did — posting his thoughts to the site rather than going through the traditional channels — and the commentary that ensued would not have been possible a decade ago, Carl Zimmer, a columnist with The New York Times, told an audience here Feb.13 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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.
2 December 2013
This year, why not give the science communicators in your life something that speaks to their passion for sharing science?
25 November 2013
Guest blogger John Calderazzo, a nonfiction writer and Colorado State University English professor, explains how storytelling isn’t just for fiction anymore: it can help you communicate your science and bring it to life.
22 November 2013
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
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.
15 August 2013
A good title draws you in. You read it and want to know more. A title should advertise the paper, but not promise more than the paper can deliver. An elegant title is not overly wordy. One of my favorite pithy titles is “Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast” by Julienne Stroeve. You know what this paper is about. I can’t think of a more succinct way to say it.
2 July 2013
Social media has emerged as a popular mode of communication, with more than 73% of the teenage and adult population in the United States using it on a regular basis [Lenhart et al., 2010]. Young people in particular (ages 12–29) are deeply involved in the rapidly evolving social media environment and have an expectation of communication through these media. This engagement creates a valuable opportunity for scientific organizations and programs to use the wide reach, functionality, and informal environment of social media to create brand recognition, establish trust with users, and disseminate scientific information.
25 June 2013
How would you bring up scientific funding if you bumped into your senator while he’s buying cheese and cured meats at the local market? How about getting a stranger interested in safer alternatives to lead-based welding solder? Communicating science to lawmakers and laypersons is important, but scientists too often get tongue-tied talking with everyday folks.
3 May 2013
Conducting fire-related research in California can be far from “academic.” Like many scientific endeavors, it means tackling difficult questions about human interactions with the environment, and more importantly, figuring out how to effectively inform potential solutions by connecting that science to decision-makers. This connecting is a key function of the University of California Cooperative Extension, of which I am a part.