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8 August 2014

Worried about Speaking in Public? Try Toastmasters. Really.

Darrin Sharp

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…

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28 July 2014

Want to Really Communicate Your Science to the Public? Go on a Journey and They’ll Follow

Nicole Davi Journey

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.

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23 June 2014

Three tips for sharing science with any audience

Three tips for sharing science with any audience

When researchers run an experiment in the laboratory, it is usually after taking time to craft and design the experiment that will provide the most accurate results. Science communication is the same: crafting a complex message about science before delivering it to the public takes time and editing to yield the best results.

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9 June 2014

A maker of the first COSMOS reflects on its successor

Haines-Stiles and Sagan

As the final episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s series airs tonight on the National Geographic Channel, a Senior Producer and Director of the original COSMOS series, Geoff Haines-Stiles, shares his thoughts and reactions about the remake and how it compares to the original. Haines-Stiles also shares a film tribute he edited for the 1987 memorial service for Carl Sagan, creator and star of the original COSMOS.

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22 May 2014

Crafting Your Own Visuals for Science Communication: Part II

Crafting Your Own Visuals for Science Communication: Part II

You don’t need fancy software like Adobe Illustrator to create a nice science visual. You can create a graphic in basic, accessible software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint.

The PDF below walks you through the creation process from start to finish, with the objective of creating the below landscape schematic using PowerPoint. Learn tools and insider tips along the way! (Click on the link or the image below to open the PDF.)

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7 May 2014

Crafting Your Own Visuals for Science Communication: Part I

Crafting Your Own Visuals for Science Communication: Part I

More than two decades of studying science has taught me one very important lesson, and it is much simpler than thermodynamics, calculus, or general relativity.

I love graphics.

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10 April 2014

Mapping fantasy: The story behind the Game of Thrones geologic maps

Westeros_GeologicMap Long

Science fiction can be a really cool gateway for sharing science fact. Earth science is imaginative, and can draw on pop culture, like the HBO show Game of Thrones. My graduate school friend and Generation Anthropocene co-producer, Miles Traer, recently brought science fact and science fiction together over this show in a hilariously awesome and super fun project.

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1 April 2014

Scientists must use more jargon for public to appreciate science, study shows

Scientists must use more jargon for public to appreciate science, study shows

Most of the public is turned off by scientists’ overly accessible and personalized descriptions of their work, new research shows.

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20 February 2014

Even Stephen is hawking his science differently

Even Stephen is hawking his science differently

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).

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18 February 2014

Really Reaching the Public, Face-to-Face

EPSO scientists

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.

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