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Abstract Detail

The Importance of Communicating Science

Armstrong, Joseph E [1].

The challenges of effectively communicating science to almost everybody.

Effective science communication takes place along a continuum of background knowledge from a small group of professional peers to the general public at the other. At the professional end of the continuum we value details, data, complex analysis, concepts and hypotheses, and a mastery of the relevant literature. For the general public our professional communications are nearly unintelligible. At this end of the continuum effective science communication must focus on the basic ideas, the concept, and our understanding using limited technical language (jargon), details, data, and complexity, achieving a virtual distillation, an aqua vitae, of knowledge, and doing so without serious distortion or over simplification. Since many of us earn our living as educators, we are well aware of this continuum and the challenge of communicating effectively at different places along the continuum although much of our education and training emphasize peer communications. As you move along this continuum, each successive set gets progressively much larger in terms of how many people are in the set, and the level of understanding diminishes. However there is also less need to communicate so many details. I shall take this opportunity to elaborate on some keys to effective science communication to the general public including knowing what you want to communicate to your audience and why it needs to be communicated, and translating and interpreting science into language intelligible to non-scientists.

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1 - Illinois State University, School Of Biological Sciences, Campus Box 4120, Normal, IL, 61790-4120, USA

general public
science communication
teaching nonmajors

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY01, The importance of communicating science
Location: Chatham Ballroom - B/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: SY01003
Abstract ID:469
Candidate for Awards:None

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