Takin’ it to the streets

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that today is Earth day.  Oddly enough, I was reminded of today’s significance in a science outreach workshop put on by ASBMB’s Public Outreach Committee called “From the lab to the kitchen table: communicating your science to a lay audience.”

During the workshop, Daniella Scalice, Education Public Outreach Director for the NASA Astrobiology Institute talked about the organization’s efforts to convey science through its international Fame Lab competition.  The goal of the competition is to seek out scientists and engineers with a “flair for communicating with public audiences” and encourage them to use the skills they learn in their respective fields to communicate their work to society as a whole.  Through the competition, scientists like 2012 winner Didac Carmona (check out his winning presentation here) are beginning to broaden the view of what it means to be a scientist.

Morgan Thompson, a Harvard graduate student, shared how she communicates science as the Project Manager for the student-run Science in the News organization, whose mission is to explore the science behind media reports and present them to the general public.  The goal is to better distinguish “scientific fact from pure speculation.”   When speaking of the organization’s “do-it-yourself” approach she said “you don’t have to be a senior-level scientist to be out in the community talking about the work that you do.”

This sentiment was echoed by P.A. D’Arbeloff, Director of the Cambridge Science Festival, a yearly festival in Massachusetts that brings in scientists from around the country who share their love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the community.  The festival’s latest initiative “Science on the Streets” was designed with the goal of making science “accessible, engaging, and fun.”

These were just a few examples of how people are communicating science to the public in unique and interesting ways.  How are YOU getting out the message?

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