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22 April 2019
Many science education projects for elementary school age kids start with the assumption that, in order to get kids interested in the science, there needs to be a character like “Barbara Bacteria” or “Larry the Lava Flow” to get their attention. In my over twenty years of experience as a science educator and children’s author, I feel confident in saying that this is not the case.
16 April 2019
As a classical pianist and composer, my natural talent was present but practice was essential. You need one or the other to be good, and both to be exceptional. All the hours each day I spent writing and experimenting with musical devices, or exercising a variety of quirky, intricate techniques on the piano, were crucial to forming solid skills and artistry. Practice makes perfect, and it also provides confidence, endurance, and mastery for when the stage is set.
1 April 2019
Art and science are often seen as complete opposites: art is subjective, while science aims to discover objective facts about nature. But more and more, we are realising that there are commonalities between the two and art-science collaborations have become more common. From the scientists’ perspective, such efforts can potentially reach audiences outside of the scientific echo chamber, however, it’s not always clear whether they always successfully do this in practice.
27 March 2019
As a grad student, I knew that I wanted to do communication and outreach work outside of academia. Unfortunately, I had no idea where to start. I had created a research plan from scratch, executed multiple experiments, and was in the process of writing my thesis; however, the idea of “outreach” scared the crap out of me. At least with that other stuff there was a road map from my adviser, colleagues, and committee members. But with outreach, I had no map, no examples, no mentor.
11 March 2019
We’ve developed a new exhibit, called Sounding Climate, that uses sound and images to represent modeled temperature, precipitation, sea ice and carbon dioxide data. The exhibit, installed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, helps public visitors explore data on an interactive touchscreen to understand anthropogenic climate change and natural variability.
4 March 2019
I’m not the type of person who’s always thought that I’ve had something to say (at least anything that people would listen to). Back in my grad school days, while I saw the value in science outreach, the “communication” part of that was a little tricky for me. “Who cares what I have to say?” Turns out, some people did.
11 February 2019
I took a chance and asked Jane, has your son considered engineering? She gave me a strange look as if I hadn’t heard her say her son wanted a career that helps people, and she quickly changed the subject. As a result, I missed the opportunity to tell Jane about Mike Paddock.
21 January 2019
I’ve been studying terrestrial glaciers for a half dozen years now, and Spoiler Alert: they are melting! While seeing the demise of the cryosphere unfold before my eyes, I started to pursue more and more outreach opportunities to help “get the word out” to the public.
14 January 2019
By Sunshine Menezes Young scientists-in-training face a variety of communication challenges, from writing their first lab report to drafting their first proposal, perhaps culminating in their dissertation. All along this part of the career spectrum, students are taught—too often implicitly—what “good” scientific communication looks like. Unfortunately, most corners of academia still emphasize a narrow definition of science communication that focuses on communication with scientific peers. This leaves early career scientists …
8 January 2019
The Science of Our Stories: How Communication and Training Bridges the Gap Between Scientists and Journalists
All of our lives are made up of stories that help us make sense of the constantly changing world around us. Stories help us understand what is happening, why it’s happening, and the ever-important-question of what can be done about it; They often provide us with the familiar narrative elements – an introduction, plots, main characters, setting, climax, and conclusion – that our brains readily accept as the way the story should go. But when it comes to the story of science, sometimes things get more complex, messy, and completely non-linear.