The FORCE16 ’Communicating Science Effectively’ panel, will take place on Monday, April 18th at 11:00 am. It will bring together Steven Pinker from the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, Cesar Hidalgo, Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab and Christie Nicholson from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science - to answer our questions about the art of clear science communication. Mercè Crosas, Chief Data Science, and Technology Officer at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University, will be moderating the panel after giving a brief introduction to the history of Science communication. (All those interested in sending questions for the panelists, please send them to her Twitter account @mercecrosas)
If the opportunity of being in the same room with this remarkable group of people has not convinced you yet, this is why you cannot miss this panel:
1. You need it
Let’s face it -we could all use some help with our writing. Learn what different disciplines have to say about what researchers can do to communicate their research more effectively to a broader audience. If you are unsure of where to start or are wondering if the problem is your audience and not you - come to this panel and soothe your writer’s anxiety with our panelists’ insightful answers. (Hint: it’s you).
2. Learn tips and tricks from the best
I cannot stress this point enough - you will be learning from Steven Pinker, Cesar Hidalgo and Christie Nicholson - three people who have devoted their lives to studying and improving scientific communication. Pinker will focus on how to overcome the ‘curse of knowledge’, Hidalgo will show us how to transform data into compelling and effective stories, and Nicholson, through an interactive experience, will get us to practice how to communicate with diverse audiences. Their tips and tricks will not only change your writing, but will also teach you to explain better your ideas to your colleagues, friends, and family (wouldn’t that be nice?).
*Catch them before the panel in: ‘We share, we write, but are we understood?’ session at 9:00 am with Steven Pinker and Cesar Hidalgo, and the ‘Communicating Science: Distilling your Message’ talk at 10:00 am with Christie Nicholson.*
3. Bond with scientists from around the world
This year FORCE16 is bringing an incredibly diverse group of people from a wide range of disciplines and cultures. Are you a social scientist and are unsure if you’ll find something in common with a natural scientist? Try explaining your research to each other, and then bond over how incredibly hard it is to leave the jargon behind. In the words of the FORCE16 Chair Melissa Haendel: “We are all struggling to learn from each other and make the whole scholarly system work better.” If there is one thing we all have in common is that we want to be understood. Happy networking!
4. Use your creativity!
The lab rats and book worms among us, do not get the opportunity to use our creativity in our day to day. Research communication is thus the perfect opportunity to dust off the left side of our brains and explore how social media, digital technologies, and visual storytelling can help enhance our messages and make our research accessible to broader audiences. Fun fact: Bruno Paschoal, moderator of 'We share, we write, but are we understood?’ can also tell you lots about how to use multimedia and interactivity to tell the visual story of your research.
5. You want to make an impact
If you want to make an impact, this panel is your first step. Impact means plenty of things in the scholarly world, but it all comes down to one thing -we want our research to matter. We want to spark conversations, bring new light to old problems and in some cases, help resolve some of the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. But to achieve this, we must learn how to effectively engage policymakers, scientists and citizens alike, with our ideas. The FORCE11 Manifesto envisions a world in which science is accessible, diverse and relevant for those who need it - this panel will help us get there.
About Denisse Albornoz
Denisse has a background in International Development and Sociology. She is a Research Assistant for OCSDNet (Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network), and is interested in the role of art, media-based and participatory methodologies to decolonize pedagogy and open up research. Ecuadorian, currently based in Toronto.