What should be the goal when we communicate science? Is it to wedge facts and data and laws into the public's head? Not according to Gauhar Raza, who explains in this week’s video interview the need to establish, instead, a scientific temper in all members of society. We think this can and should be accomplished using a whole variety of formats and styles. Read on to learn about science narratives and other ways that researchers are reaching out to the rest of the world.
(Flickr / epSos .de)
“The mistake that we’ve committed, as science communicators, in the past is that we’ve focused too much on scientific data,” begins Gauhar Raza, head of Science Communication through Multimedia at India’s CSRI-NISCAIR. “It is scientific temper that should be the ultimate goal of communicating science.”
What is scientific temper? It’s not science literacy. It’s not about knowing the facts—or what are believed to be the facts in a given generation or century. It’s more about understanding science. Raza has a rich point of view on science communication and its potential, influenced by India’s culture and political history. He explains it best, in this interview filmed last week at the launch event for the first edition of Science & You.
[Video] Gauhar Raza: On the Importance of "Scientific Temper" - Science communication should not be a question of science literacy.
There is a multitude of ways to communicate science, incrementally adding to the scientific temper in society. To get beyond simple news pieces highlighting the latest results, why don’t we tell more stories? Research is an adventure – any scientist will tell you. Why don’t hear we more about this saga? Some science writers see the potential and do indeed turn to narrative forms to share these stories. At a session held at last year’s ScienceOnline gathering, they shared examples, methods and advice. Get some ideas for weaving your own scientific stories here:
Narrative is one way of connecting the public to the world of science. But why should a researcher even bother making such an effort, when time is such a precious commodity? The room was packed at a session of the 2013annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to answer just that question. Participants shared why outreach is fundamental for them, personally, and for their institutions, as well as strategies to make it happen. Many felt an overhaul of the research evaluation system will be needed to set science free…
Now that we’ve got you pondering the value and the pleasure of science communication, note that the event of the year is fast approaching: ScienceOnlineTogether 2014 will take place February 27 – March 1, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the US. This extremely popular gathering will be retransmitted via Watch Parties held in cities around the world. The discussions are fascinating and you can be sure to catch a glimpse of some of your favorite science writers in attendance. You can even interact with those lucky enough to be there in person via the hashtag #scio14.
This weekend, why not add some science writing to your science reading? ;)
See you next week!
The MyScienceWork Team