Communicating Science: Reaching out, speaking up and understanding how to go about it

Communicating Science: Reaching out, speaking up and understanding how to go about it
Organizer: Marguerite Mauritz, marguerite_mauritz@yahoo.co.uk
Sunday, August 3, 2008; 8:00 AM-5:00 PM; 101 D, Midwest Airlines Center

Description: The ability to communicate science to the general public is of unarguable importance. While pursuing a graduate degree, students learn how to apply for grants and present their work to peers in the scientific community. However little emphasis is placed on communicating to an audience less specialised.

As we increasingly face a reality of declining natural resources it becomes extremely important that the public understand the work of scientists and the need for protecting the environment. The challenge is to reach people who are beyond the realms of current scientific communication and the approach should be two-fold: communication and outreach. Through scientific outreach we can raise a generation of children with connections to science, research and the environment. Similarly, effective communication with the media and adult groups will cultivate greater awareness of ecology and environmental issues. Teaching and encouraging questioning of the scientific method is a step toward bridging the gap between academia and the public.

The purpose of the workshop is to give students an opportunity to interact with people who are advocates for communication and outreach and have made these a priority in their scientific careers. The workshop will focus on addressing issues such as understanding your audience, what type of language to use and how to implement successful strategies and programmes. We will discuss how to reach children and adults outside the scientific community and learn from personal experiences while exploring different outlets for communicating science. This workshop is a continuation of a similar workshop in 2007 and aims to create an ongoing series of student workshops. Details are available at http://rydberg.biology.colostate.edu/communicating_science/2008.htm