You are browsing the archive for Storytelling Archives - The Plainspoken Scientist.
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.
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.
18 March 2019
Working as a scientist turned communicator is, I believe, one of the toughest jobs. Working with the non-experts specially without any scientific background knowledge is not easy at all. And specially when those non-experts are just making ends meet.
11 March 2019
In 2005 and 2006, photographer James Balog set out on expeditions to document the recession of the Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland. In many ways, these expeditions changed his life. In 2007, Balog and companions founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), an organization devoted to documenting the effects of climate change on glaciers through time-lapse photography. Over 10 years later, the EIS “…provides scientists with basic and vitally important information on the mechanics of glacial melting and educates the public with firsthand evidence of how rapidly the Earth’s climate is changing.”
25 February 2019
Moments before our first show, we were all huddled back stage, confidently saying that we had each other’s back. But in the back of my head, that confidence eluded me. All I was thinking was “Geez, I hope this idea works.”
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.
4 February 2019
In the Americas, We Use Satellites to Sow Dreams in the Soil is a three-part poem that was presented at the 2018 fall session of American Geophysical Union (AGU). The poem was an alternative – perhaps unconventional – way of presenting about three Earth Observation (EO) initiatives that I and colleagues at NASA’s SERVIR Science Coordination Office and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are involved with.
28 January 2019
The World We’ll leave Our Grandchildren: Theatre as a means of stimulating the public discussion of climate change
When communicating with an audience it is important to have clear answers to the questions (i) Who are they?, (ii) What do I want them to do?, and (iii) How can they do it? It was with this in mind that in 2014 I embarked on a project to write and perform a play on climate change.
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.