October 1, 2014

Science haiku to communicate research and more

Posted by Laura Guertin

I’ve just completed three weeks of hydrographic surveying on the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, and I know that any geologist that has gone in the field can relate to what I’ve come back to – the backlog of emails, immediate meetings with students and campus committees, and the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction for being in the field.  But very quickly, complete exhaustion sets in, and I need something to “lighten the load” and provide a happy distraction.

In comes… science haiku.  I have seen science haiku periodically appear, such as this mini-collection by Popular Science.  And the Twitter account for @NOAAResearch provides a weekly edition of current research-themed haiku:



OK, so some (many?) people may think science haiku are silly, or a waste of time.  But science haiku are catching on in the K-12 classroom, where teachers are strongly encouraged to engage students in nonfiction reading and writing.  Certainly, having students read and article from a magazine or EGU’s Planet Press and write a haiku will require students to process and apply the information they just read.  One of the best examples I have seen of science haiku as an outreach/communication tool is The Entire IPCC Report in 19 Illustrated Haiku. You can read the haiku with accompanying illustrations below (some of you may have been fortunate enough to be present for the reading of this book at Open Mic Night at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting).



Of course, scientists can be the most creative when we are under pressure with one or more immediate deadlines – say, for example, an AGU abstract deadline.  I created a Storify of the #AGU11AbstractHaiku that led up to the abstract deadline for the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting.  I wouldn’t be surprised if one year, we see AGU presentation haiku appear right before the meeting, during the last-minute push to prepare posters and talks… Enjoy!