In the struggle to learn how to get grants, do research, analyze samples, and write papers, scientists sometimes miss out on learning how to effectively communicate what they do and what they discover to the media and general public, says postdoc Anna Richards at Big Wide World. Part of speaking to the public is learning to distill scientific findings into everyday language, Richards says, and this is actually harder to do than one might think. "How can we, as scientists, communicate our science to the public — which we have an obligation to do since most of us are publicly funded in some way — without coming unstuck?" she asks. One way is to use online media like Twitter to directly communicate with the public. "This has already started to happen in many places but scientists should be actively encouraged by their organizations to get onboard with these kinds of tools so that it becomes the rule rather than the exception," Richards says. "We should embrace it because, for the first time, there is an opportunity for us to have a real voice."
Jul 18, 2011