Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jorge Cham: The Science Gap

I recently watched this TED talk given by Jorge Cham, the creator of PhD Comics (Piled Higher and Deeper) and I wanted to make sure I shared it here because he makes some great points about science communcation. I don't think anything he brings up would really come as a shock to someone who pays attention to science and the media, but I do think that his use of humor and cartoons is very effective.

The traditional way that scientists get their research in the form of an academically published article out to the public is "sub-optimal?" Not exactly a shocker, but an important point nonetheless. Sometimes I think we (and by that I mean me) have a tendency to get so wrapped up in the science communication world that you can almost forget that so many people are really far removed from the issues and research that we tackle on a daily basis. As a science writer it is my job to be a bridge between scientists and the public, so it is always a good reminder to think about the level of understanding and interest of your audience.

There are a lot more points to make about this one, but I'm short on time for blogging this week, so I'm just going to take my own advice from last week's post and not push myself to think things when my brain is tired. (Better to put my brain cells toward thinking about #scio13!) But, if you have thoughts, by all means I'd love to know what you think!

Before I just leave this here, Cham mentions the cartoon he made at the request of Daniel Whiteson to explain what the Higgs Boson is in the TED talk so I thought I would also post that for those who are interested. It really is a great explanation of the Higgs... something I know a lot of science writers including myself have struggled with!

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