NE CSC Graduate Fellow Nigel Golden on Communicating Science

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nigel Golden, Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst, posted a blog to the Early Career Climate Forum about recent insights in communicating his science to a variety of audiences. He writes that the way you communicate can mean the difference between alienating (pun intended) your listener or gaining their support.

 

Climate and Communication: Takeaways from the Alan Alda Communication Center Workshop

March 6, 2017

Many of us have taken up the noble cause of communicating our science to nonscientists. Casting ourselves as the heroes, it’s important to remember, however, that even the best of intentions sometimes have a way of resulting in unintended consequences. In the original Star Trek, a young Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise rescues a ship full of super-humans in suspended animation with their life-support on the verge of failure. In return for his good deed, Khan Noonien Signh and the other superhumans whose lives he saved turned out to be one of the Enterprise’s most dangerous adversaries. In spite of that, as a Captain in Starfleet Kirk gives Khan a second chance to set his life right.   

When it comes to communicating our science with the public—especially when we work on polarized issues—something similar can happen, in part because we have a history of not taking into account where our audiences are coming from (politically, religiously, etc.). Take climate change: we know that providing more and more facts won’t change minds, yet often that’s what we do.  Read More >>