You are browsing the archive for Science in plain English - The Plainspoken Scientist.
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.
1 May 2013
Like most research scientists I struggle with the challenge of how to allocate limited time. How much do we spend on research vs. other activities, and how much on each of the problems we want to tackle?
2 April 2013
As a staff editor for Eos, I see all types of articles pass my desk, from those littered with the alphabet soup of undefined acronyms and the jargon best reserved for textbooks, to lovely pieces that describe the science of atmospheric rivers and the emerging field of isoscaping. A few weeks ago, a gem came across my desk.
19 March 2013
As a paleoclimate scientist, I was thrilled to take part in the third annual Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill. The associated training was substantive and engaging and focused on helping us be heard through the din on the Hill. While my prior experiences with Hill visits have tempered my hopes for effecting lasting change, I believe that such conversations help put a face on climate science.
11 March 2013
Communicating sciences to various publics has been on my mind for several years, but it was brought home to me last summer when I attended the American Meteorological Society’s annual Summer Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C. I was one of a few social scientists to mingle with and learn from various atmospheric and meteorological scientists, ranging in experience from graduate school students to tenured professors and industry professionals.
25 February 2013
More scientists should enter the climate change discussion, say five climate communication professionals who paused for a few minutes at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting to advocate for broader participation from scientists. In the latest AGU video seen here, each shared a few thoughts on the importance of speaking up and on preparing ahead in order to make a connection with general audiences.
12 November 2012
“What’s hard to say?” This was Alan Alda’s first question to an audience full of particle physicists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on October 25. Alda’s talk, “Helping the Public Get Beyond a Blind Date with Science,” started by evoking the types of conversations, both personal and professional, that leave us fumbling for the right words.
5 November 2012
Oceanographer Jim Thomson was surprised when The New York Times accepted his pitch to blog for the newspaper from a research cruise. Next thing he knew, his writing showed up as a full-blown article in the October 16 Science Times (circulation about 1 million). I have just returned from a month at sea conducting research on wave breaking. During the project, I wrote entries in the New York Times “Scientist at Work” blog (http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/author/jim-thomson/). …
30 July 2012
My geology training didn’t cover the use of sedation in dentistry. In my PhD work, I never had to investigate the details of proposed guidelines for hepatitis C screenings, or the difficulties of vitamin D testing. But as the 2012 AGU-sponsored AAAS Mass Media fellow, I’ve reported on these subjects and more for the Chicago Tribune. Working as a health reporter hasn’t been as difficult as I imagined, however. I just used the scientific method.
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.