jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (science flower)
[personal profile] jjhunter
If anyone's in a playful mood, come drop by and add stanzas for your favorite scientists. (Alphabetical order optional.) Odd letters (1st, 3rd, etc.) are 5-7-5, even 7-7.

[personal profile] jjhunter: Haikai Fest: 'A Scientist Alphabet'
A's Avogadro
whose constant counts up one mole
he summed mass in gas

———
Speaking of scientists past and present, I'm doing a neat little side project at work where I find and evocatively write up a short quote about science or science culture (or 'relevant to science education') every two weeks or so on the little whiteboard by my desk.

I'd love to feature more quotes from scientists of color, past or present, and/or scientists who are women — any recommendations? So far I've done quotes from Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie, Maria Mitchell, Siddhartha Mukherjee re: Rudlof Virchow, Stephan Jay Gould, Atul Gawande, and Mario Livio (see all at tumblr).

Photo of example quote behind the cut )

Admins, might I trouble you for a 'science history' or 'history of science' tag of some kind? Many thanks!
jjhunter: Closeup of the face from postcard of da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' with alterations made by Duchamp, i.e. moustache and goatee. (LHOOQ)
[personal profile] jjhunter
At my journal I'm soliciting recommendations for good historical and/or scientific images (or sources for finding them!) for illustrating in-depth discussion of cancer. See the post for details.

ETA: admins, can there be a tag or tags for posts to this community to the effect of 'visual meta', 'scientific illustration', 'visual communication', or 'visualizing science'? Thanks!
nanila: (old-skool: science!)
[personal profile] nanila
The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition opened to the public yesterday in London! It's on at the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton Terrace (just off The Mall) through Sunday 10 July. There are 22 exhibits from physics, chemistry, biology, maths, engineering and medicine. Loads of fun interactives, piles of free stuff and many eager energetic scientists to tell you about their work in memorable, bite-size chunks. Please do drop by if you have the time and are geographically compatible.

I'm on the Aurora Explorer stand tomorrow (Thursday 7 July) from 13:30 to 17:00, but will have to depart promptly to go to the Harry Potter premiere. I'm also there on Sunday 10 July from 14:30 to 18:00, when the exhibition closes. Tip: exhibitors will be looking to offload remaining freebies on Sunday, so if you want toys/magnets/keyrings/postcards/other swag, Sunday afternoon is the time to go.

The baby spacecraft I painted are currently having their 5 seconds of fame on the BBC web site here at 02:44, and you can explore the exhibits online on the RSSE web site here.
nanila: (old-skool: science!)
[personal profile] nanila
I have it comparatively easy when engaging with the public about my work, since I get to talk about space, and pretty much everyone loves space and dinosaurs. However, I’ve still learned a few useful tricks along the way, so I’ve put them together into my contribution to the FONSFAQ as:

Tips for communicating science effectively to lay audiences

  1. Ease them into the talk with real-world examples. For instance, I like to break down the cost of a space mission into units of desirable gadget technologies. The cost of the Cassini mission from conception to Saturn orbit insertion, for instance, is approximately 10 million iPads.

  2. Ask questions frequently. Get the audience engaged. Praise them when they respond. If they persist in being shy, tell them it’s okay to be wrong because this is not a test and you’re not judging them. Interrupting yourself to ask questions also has the bonus side effect of encouraging them to interrupt you with questions.

    I often ask an audience to tell me what Cassini is mission that you normally see on satellites. Often the reply is “wings”. I then ask what the wings do and almost invariably someone will shout out, “Solar panels!”

  3. Keep visual aids simple. If you’re using slides, put as little text on them as possible. If you must write more than just the title slide, use two or three bullet points at most. Do not use full sentences. Try and extract as much information as possible from the audience themselves by asking questions. Use images and diagrams rather than words, but again, try to put at most two on each slide. You may find you need a lot more slides for an outreach talk than you do for a normal science talk, but you will get through them quickly.

    Here are two slides from my talk on Cassini’s investigation of Saturn’s moons.




  4. Keep notes on your slides. You will probably reuse the same talk many times, but weeks or even months will elapse between outreach events. You will forget quirky facts and the points at which you want to ask questions of the audience if you don’t write them down. Use that note space in PowerPoint for something other than “Click to add notes”!

  5. Be prepared for off-topic questions. You may or may not be able to answer these. I give talks about planetary exploration by robotic (unmanned) spacecraft. However, I almost invariably get loads of questions about manned spaceflight. Once I was asked if astronauts ate junk food in space. I had to look this question up afterward and e-mail the events organiser. It turns out that the answer is yes, they’re allowed to bring a selection of the favourite snacks in the nutritional payload!

    If you get a question like this and you don’t know the answer offhand, you have a few options for dealing with it. If it’s an opinion-based (and inoffensive) question, you can deflect it back, e.g. “What do you think?” If it’s factual or technical, you can encourage the questioner to look up the answer him- or herself. Suggest a useful resource - a book or a website other than Google - where they might find it. If you suspect the answer might be beyond the technical grasp of a layperson, you can offer to look it up yourself and e-mail the events organiser (if the questioner is a student) or the questioner directly, if s/he’s an adult.

  6. Thank your audience. Make a point of doing this right after you finish speaking and before the official Q&A period. Some of your audience will probably be intimidated by you. Those who haven’t been relaxed by your approachable manner during your talk may be encouraged to speak up.

  7. Bonus: Give away a freebie. This isn’t necessary, but it does help to give out tangible reminders of your talk to the audience. I have two types of freebie. One is an A4 lithograph of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft and printed by NASA. The other is a pen with a compass built into it, to remind people of the instrument I talked about (the magnetometer, which measures the magnetic field around Saturn). Others have reported success with handouts that have puzzles or worksheets on them, or “build your own X with household materials”, where X = spacecraft model, bug trap, baking soda volcano, etc.
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
Awesome Eight-Year-Olds Publish Bee Study in Legit Scientific Journal

You can read the full paper online for free And it is fun! Where else will you get a Materials & Methods section with this in it:

(b) The bees

The bees had black and yellow stripes with white bottoms. The type of bee was Bombus terrestris. The beehive was delivered from Koppert (UK).

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