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Seriously, Let’s Talk

Seriously, Let’s Talk

Dear Students, 

A key part of being a scientist (or pretty much any profession) is the ability to communicate effectively. This week, I have two related messages.

The first is about science. All too often scientists are so caught up in the details of what they are working on that they can't manage to translate those ideas to non-experts. This makes it difficult for the general public to understand the importance of fundamental science in the world. Conveying scientific ideas to a general audience (or even scientists from another discipline) can be challenging, but like all skills, these can be developed with training and practice. This week, you have a chance to take advantage of an opportunity to hone your communication skills by attending a free and fun training this afternoon (Monday, October 9) from 4-5:30pm. Improv comedy experts are helping science students learn how to talk about their research effectively in advance of the annual Science in Plain English contest next week, where participants describe their research in three minutes or less, using only their words. (Register to enter the contest by Wednesday, October 11.) The contest will be held next week during Natural Sciences Week.

Second, sometimes communication is about simply sharing information—for example, about dates, times, deadlines, opportunities, events, etc. Since we are all hit with huge piles of information every day, I often wonder, "What are the most effective ways to get information to students?" Then I thought, "Why don't I ask them?" So next Monday, October 16th, I'll be having lunch with students to discuss this very question. If you are interested in joining me, sign up here, as spots are limited.

Dr. Vanden Bout

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Friday, 27 January 2023

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