Eric May – Media Consultant
  

 

 

 

How do scientists express what they do?

Consider that the public only knows what it does about science from it’s own values and experiences - perceptions from friends, family, and the news media.

That's because most scientists don't communicate what they do very well. 

Many scientists are inaccessible, and when they do talk, they speak in technical jargon. And many institutions have a defensive, not an open, posture. 

Expressing the human aspects of science, or the human cost of scientific research, is often missing. And too often, the risks versus benefits of scientific initiatives are not explained clearly.


Who is expressing what scientists do?

Can you name ten scientists who are known to the general public? How many scientists are public figures (compared with business people, politicians, performers, or athletes)? Apparently the culture of science doesn’t reward that. 


Why should scientists communicate to non-scientific audiences at all?

• To get money (and public support) for their work, especially in a context of diminishing sources of public funding, and the increasing reliance on private funding 

• To help shape the regulatory climate (and not be victims of it)

• To fulfill the duty to report the fruits of scientific research and knowledge, not just within the scientific community, but to the public and to the world

• To recruit young people to the field by communicating the excitement of science