Showing posts with label science communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science communication. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

My experience at the science communication primer

It has been a couple of months since I attended the science communication primer, held by the British Science Association, and I wasn’t originally going to review the day, but I thought it would be useful for those of you who might be thinking about going into science communication, and if your thinking about attending a similar event.

It was held at Conway Hall in Holborn, London and was attended by a range of speakers including Dr Stephen Webster (ICL), Tom Chivers (Buzzfeed) and Mun Keat Looi (Mosaic) and much more.
Overall the day was an enlightening experience and I learnt a lot from each of the speakers and their views of science communication and their backgrounds.

Although it was a chilly October day, the hall was packed with a full-house of aspiring science communicators.  We all came from extremely different backgrounds but our intentions/goals were the same.

The day started off with an introduction and welcome by Katherine Mathieson who then introduced Dr Stephen Webster who spoke about the recurring themes that affect science communication and how the public relationship with science communication is an extremely difficult one to understand.

  • Recommendation: do take a notepad and pen to take down notes and possibly a tablet or laptop so that you could open and save the speakers recommended reading.

The next session was by a panel of speakers: Tom Tapper, Dr Claire Asher, Tom Chivers and Ellen Dowell. They discussed how to choose the right medium for your message which isn’t restricted to the usual, well-known methods.

The third session was on storytelling in science communication. Mun-Keat Looi told us all about the effect that storytelling has on engaging readers with science and gave us some great examples of where it is used. This is something I would like to adapt in my science blogs. We also did a fun and creative exercise where we had to make up a science story, with characters and a “plot” and swap with our neighbour and have them fill in the alternate sections.

Later on in the day, the fourth session was hosted by Marie Hobson who talked to us about evaluating our work and how to understand our audience and identifying potential challenges or barriers in our piece of science communication.

The closing session of the day was a relaxing interview with Helen Czerski. She talked about her scientific journey and her relationship with “bubbles” and her research.

As well as learning more about science communication, the event was really great for networking with other science communicators and meeting other people in the field. I would highly recommend this event for anyone who loves science and wants to communicate it or study science communication in higher education. 

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Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Know You're Reading a Legit Science Blog.

Whilst I was preparing a new blog post, I decided to take a break on Facebook (that’s just my way of glorifying procrastination- LOL) and I saw this post – I'm not going to say by who – and it was from a blog claiming to give the truth about cancer and how a certain type of chemical in food causes obesity and “excites the brain to death”.  If you know me personally, or if you realised this through my posts, I absolutely HATE scaremongering and I hate using that technique of writing in my blog.  They even use this technique to scare people into not taking protective measures against possible deadly diseases - i.e. anti-vaxxers.  If you want to explain something, explain it without using excessive comparisons in order to scare people. Fear isn't the right way to explain science.

There are bloggers out there that fill their blogs with pseudoscience; they are self-proclaimed experts in their chosen field, especially after they've graduated from Google University. My blog aims to debunk this pseudoscience that tends to spread in the blogosphere. You just have to remember: anybody can write anything on the internet. The issue is to find out who to trust.

So I would like to help you know when you’re reading legit science on the internet.

Here’s some things to look out for:

1 References, references, references!

At the end of each post, science bloggers usually state where they got their sources from – that’s all the scientific information, claims and research. There will usually be links for proper scientific journals either at the end of the post or linked throughout the article.

2 About profiles

Most blogs have an about page where the author(s) include a little biography about themselves, detailing their educational background and why they started their blog. Science bloggers will always list their academic backgrounds (see mine above) and most of educated at various degree levels in scientific subjects.

3 They’re not against chemicals!

Not all chemicals are bad and it’s the dose that makes the poison. Sounds cliché but it has to be said. Water is a chemical; chocolate contains chemicals and so does coffee – drinking / eating one of those in excess can cause detrimental effects. Water overdose is called hyponatremia. Any good science blog won’t have posts against chemicals in general, their posts will always be specific and detailed to a particular molecule they would like to write about. 

Here’s a really condensed list of my favourite and trust-able science blogs!

Compound Interest (to understand the chemistry of things)

The Scientific Beauty (for cosmetic chemistry and a little bit of fashion for academics) 

The Chemical Blog (chemistry related blog)

ASAP Science  (YouTube videos explaining everyday science)

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