Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Talking about Science

Scientists are failing in their efforts to communicate with the public. Dennis Meredith in a new book, Explaining Research and an accompanying blog has some good ideas about how scientists can communicate more effectively about science.

His blog includes examples of video, audio, blogs and more that illustrate effective way to talk about scientific ideas. In a recent commentary he writes,
"Many academic scientists might consider themselves expert explainers because a significant part of their job entails explaining research to undergraduates in their teaching. But even the most skillful scientist-teachers aren’t necessarily skilled science explainers. Speaking to “captive” student audiences is very different from communicating with any other lay audience, who often must be actively persuaded to be interested in a scientific topic."
Educating the public about science is critical to our ability to make effective decisions and to understand how to deal with the many complex problems of human society. We have learned much about the world, but until that knowledge is available and understandable to the public it won't make much difference.

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