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Science communication - outreach and outcome

May 9 2012, Kulturen Lund

Carla Cederbom


The workshop on science communication was held by Carla Cederbaum, Assistant Research Professor in Mathematics from Duke University, NC, USA.



At the work shop we all discussed:

What kind of outreach is there?
Why, what are reasons for outreach.
Which goals to achieve with our outreach.

Kind of outreach
• Write a book
• Museum exibitions
• Educating school teachers
• Having your own blog (research, field work)
• Popular articles
• Lectures
• Videos
• Pod casts
• Science cafés (give a talk in a library…)
• TV-program, “edutainment”
• Citizen science (you take part in bird watching group ...)
• “Gamification” (create a game about climate …)
• Stackover Flow web 2.0
• Citizen science scientists in a round table discussion with the public – scientists forced to Listen to what ordinary people say.
• Interviews
• Talks a schools
• Open days / girls days at the university
• Kid university – 5-7 year olds meet professors
• Traveling exibitions
• Fairs

Reasons and goals
• Fun
• Make yourself known (your results, processes, science)
• You learn from it
• Let it be known why they should be a scientist
• Reach decision makers
• Better educated public
• Take the fear of science away
• Motivate your science
• Share/get rewarded
• Attract potential students
• Needed for grant applications
• Talk to people that are ..
• Improve society
• Increase visibility and impact
• Practice lecturing – improve yourself as a teacher, improve lecture or writing skills.
• Giving back
• Justify your research to society and politicians – why they should give you money

Outcome Goals achieved 
• Better at breaking down your research
• Better at explaining to 4-year olds
• Helping in thinking about your science
• Helping in grant writing and in teaching
• Thinking becomes more flexible and open minded
• Enhance visibility, CV, grant applications
• Get new connections – meet people
• Time consuming – but think that it pays back!
• If you are good at explaining thing people may say that you do not fit in and it may reflect back on you.
• Jealousy if you are exposed much. Others want to degrade your research.

Communication in many different ways. 
The best way is to involve head, hart and hands as in interactive experiments.
Rouse curiosity, get people to ask questions.
Stir up emotions – get people to be excited about it. Touch, do, build…

Many times “head” is missing! Get people to formulate their own questions. To ask their own questions, have their own ideas. Get people to learn what an experiment is and how you discuss.

Outreach can be very time consuming – start small!

Page Manager:

WINGS (Women IN Great Sciences)
Science Faculty, Medical Faculty & LTH, Lund University

wings [at] wings [dot] lu [dot] se