Approximately one gazillion years ago, I wrote a piece including tips from reporters about how to prepare for interviews with scientists. While that post is useful, several people have recently asked me for more specific guidance on how to interview researchers. Specifically, they wanted to know not only how to prepare, but what sorts of questions to ask. Continue reading “Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Scientist”
If you are interested in sharks, and spend any time on social media, you have probably run across David Shiffman. Shiffman, a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Simon Fraser University, has drawn thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook by sharing facts (and correcting misconceptions) about sharks and other marine species.
But while his social media feeds can be entertaining, they are not simply a collection of amusing facts. Through social media, blogging, and freelance writing, Shiffman has been able to share information (and his own research) with a large audience – and to place that information in the proper context.
We recently had the opportunity to pick his brain about science communication, how he got started, and how social media can benefit the research community. Continue reading “Outreach Is a Skill: a Q&A with David “WhySharksMatter” Shiffman”
Most of the ways people communicate, from research papers to news articles, are effectively forms of storytelling. But there’s a special power associated with spoken-word storytelling and listening to someone tell a story well. Continue reading “How Humans Make Sense of the World: a Q&A with Story Collider’s Liz Neeley and Erin Barker”
In North Carolina, where I live, blueberries ripen between June and August. But I can buy blueberries throughout the year. That’s because most people only eat a few kinds of food, so farmers around the world grow the same crops, meeting the demand of consumers that live in another hemisphere. As Rob Dunn points out in his new book, that practice poses some significant risks. Continue reading “The Importance of Seeds: a Q&A with Rob Dunn”
Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren, is one of the best books I’ve read in recent years. It’s a book about science. And about plants. And about people. As I wrote in a review earlier this year, Jahren manages to find a balance between entertaining popular science and compelling memoir. That’s a tough combination to pull off, and a hell of a read.
Recently Jahren – who has relocated her geobiology lab from Hawaii to the University of Oslo – let me pick her brain about writing, blogging and how she balances her writing with her work as a scientist. Continue reading “A Voice with an Audience: an Interview with Hope Jahren”
Ecosystems are complicated. They involve myriad organisms existing and interacting within a particular place at a particular time. These are dynamic habitats, with populations that are constantly shifting. Continue reading “Find the Stories: an Interview with Ed Yong”
The science, technology, engineering and math fields have a diversity problem: women and people of color are significantly underrepresented.
One of those grassroots efforts was launched by Stephani Page, who spearheaded the creation of the #BlackAndSTEM online community in early 2014. Page, now a postdoctoral researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill, has a varied research background: a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s in biology from North Carolina A&T, and a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics from UNC.
I wanted to talk with her about the creation and evolution of #BlackAndSTEM, and how science communication can make a difference in STEM diversity.
Science Communication Breakdown: Your background is as a scientist, rather than a communicator. When did you start thinking seriously about science communication? Continue reading “We Are Here; Make Room: An Interview with Stephani Page”
Summer is here, and for parents (like me) who have school-age children, that means finding ways to keep the kids occupied. And if those activities help to instill a love of science, all the better. So, what better time for finding a book of outdoor science experiments for children?
Well, folks, you’re in luck. Continue reading “Taking Science Experiments (and Kids) Outdoors: an Interview with Liz Heinecke”
As someone who writes about science communication, I’m always interested in experiments designed to help people share information about research and research findings. Sometimes they are formal studies designed by science communication scholars, and sometimes they’re efforts by scientists, reporters or professional communicators to try something new and see how it works.
I work at NC State University, and in late 2015 met a postdoctoral researcher at NC State named Kamy Singer. His research focused on plant and microbial biology, but he was also the creator of a web platform called SPapers that aims to help researchers share their work more effectively. Continue reading “One Scientist’s Attempt to Create a New Science Communication Platform”