» Science Forum Series

The Science Forum Series is an opportunity for faculty and special guests to present their latest research to the campus community. Each presentation is approximately 45 minutes to one hour in length. Feel free to drop in and leave as your schedule permits. 

+ - October 4, 2017

Josh Schimel

Josh Schimel, Ph.D.
Environmental Studies Program
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
University of California Santa Barbara

Talk: "Communicating Science"

Why is it that in the media, scientists are always either “Big Bang Theory” nerds or "Bwah, ha, ha-ing” Mad? People think that scientists are “experts" with tons of trivia packed in our heads, and science classes reinforce that—they are about packing in material. Yes, knowledge is a product of science, but I often describe it as a “waste product,” because once I’ve done the experiments and written the paper, I’m done with it and on to the next question.

Science isn’t about knowledge—it’s about ignorance! Science is a creative process driven by curiosity about the natural world. It's fun.

So why do people get it (and us) so wrong? Is it because we all hated English classes in high school and disparaged the lessons about story and language that our teachers were trying to teach us? Too many scientists feel that communicating science is about “presenting our work” and letting the facts speak for themselves.

But facts don’t speak for themselves—we have to it for them. Communicating science is telling stories about nature.

How does nature work? Why does it work that way? What does it mean for us? When scientists embrace communication strategies, we both communicate better, and do better science.



Josh Schimel is author of Writing Science: How to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded.

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