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Science Communication on the Rise?

Posted June 21, 2013 12:00 AM by TestUser1
Pathfinder Tags: communication science

Scientists communicate to one another at conferences, through technical papers, and on the job. But how a scientist talks to a colleague about research is quite different from communicating that same information to non-scientists.

A recent PopSci article starts off, "Before people will understand science, scientists must understand people." The article explains that because of selective perception, people may view information presented as fact through a personal lens and wind up interpreting it differently. The source of the information can impact perception, too. Can scientists share their research in a way that resonates better with people?

Carl Sagan, who was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, and author, is cited as being a good role model for scientists. He had a popular image and the ability to get people excited about science.

With today's technology, finding information should be a snap, but the real stuff is often bogged down between big chunks of misinformation.

How can scientists communicate to the public without unnecessarily frightening or misinforming?

  • Universities offer degrees in science communication. Students take typical communication coursework and learn how to explain and popularize science to non-scientists. The Centre for Science Communication offers postgraduate study in this field.
  • The National Science Foundation emphasizes grant-proposal rules that encourage sharing.
  • Scientists may present at exhibitions, in journals, and in media production. The storytelling approach is also recommended for science communicators.

How do you think scientists can best communicate with the public?

Resources:

PopSci - Not Just the Facts

Scitable

Wikipedia - Science communication

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#1

Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/21/2013 11:49 PM

What a...pile of confused warbling.

And this clown desires a clean answer?!?

I need to make it sure, I do not smoke

what he is smoking.

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#2

Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/22/2013 2:09 PM

The best way to clean up science, is to remove the agenda driven strings that are attached to government grants.

People within government spend our money as if it is their personal earned fortune, and that scientific outcomes from grant money should align with their personal beliefs and quests to maintain power and control.

These people need to be slapped down from their perches and imprisoned.

Using the People's money to fund research is fine; insisting on pre-determined outcomes is criminal.

It's time to clean house.

The selfish idiots don't even know what science is. Everything is becoming busywork to keep the machine running. I could fill pages...

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0611/crazy-research-the-u.s.-government-is-funding.aspx

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#3

Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/24/2013 12:26 PM

Why is the burden necessarily on the scientists? C.P. Snow said it best: (link)

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?

I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question - such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? - not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had.

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#4
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Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/24/2013 12:50 PM

Good answer!

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#5

Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/25/2013 7:00 AM

It looks like the moderator opted to rate your comment OT rather than delete all or parts of it for being political rants, which of course you know are not welcome on CR4.

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#6
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Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/25/2013 7:43 AM

Got it.

Although I think that a very strong case could be made, that politics influences scientific research. I don't think it's right, and completely worthy of a rant or two.

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Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/25/2013 7:50 AM

Not arguing with you there - just trying to keep the train from derailing.

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Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/25/2013 8:09 AM

I try to refrain from partisan politics; I don't like any of them (politicians).

When they impede, alter, suppress, fund bogus or biased research, or otherwise tamper with the flow of scientific communication, we all pay the price. I thought it was pertinent to the thread.

The number of people that are getting fed up with their antics is steadily growing, and arguments are becoming rare.

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#9

Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/27/2013 11:01 AM

The following quotation from the article is the nub of the matter.

"With today's technology, finding information should be a snap, but the real stuff is often bogged down between big chunks of misinformation."

Anyone can post something whether it is credible or not and it starts getting passed around as being true. Some good examples of that are the; carbon footprint/credit hoax, manmade/caused global warming/climate change; evolution, fracking problems, energy scarceity, etc. The list could go on.

There is a statement that goes like this, "tell a lie long enough and pretty soon people start believing it as the truth. The same also goes for certain people who somehow get in the "limelight" through political and financial backing and they become "experts" in some field, eventhough they aren't qualified to speak as such.

Be careful who we listen to and the credibility we ascribe to them.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Science Communication on the Rise?

06/27/2013 1:06 PM

Great comment - this sums it up really well.

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