Course advert: The Art of Scientific Presentations


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The ability to deliver effective and engaging oral presentations is a critical skill for students in all disciplines. Unfortunately, despite the importance of clear communication, scientific presentations are too frequently confusing and boring. In this seminar, students will be introduced to a diverse set of presentation methods and use exercises to apply these techniques to their own work and ideas. The course will also examine the characteristics common to exceptional scientific talks, show how basic design principles can be used to to create more effective visual aids, and discuss the science behind effective communication techniques.

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Course advert: The Art of Scientific Presentations

  1. 1. The A! of Scientific Presentations practical lessons for talking to your peers and the public GEOG 8103 Spring 2011
  2. 2. Fewer Americans see solid evidence of global warming 100% 75% Democrat Independent 50% Republican 25% 0% 2006 2007 2008 2009 source: Pew Research Center
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  4. 4. Tree rings and environmental geoscience in southern Manitoba
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  6. 6. Paleoflood Records for the Red River, Manitoba, Canada Flood hazards and tree rings Anatomical signatures from riparian trees can be used to extend flood records by several hundred years. The current design flood for the Red River valley was produced by an exceptional combination of extensive flooding in the northeastern Great Plains and unusual spring weather across central North America. In the Red River basin, shifts in annual precipitation of roughly ten percent altered flood risks significantly during the last 350 years. Geological processes are not affecting flood hazards at relevant timescales.
  7. 7. characteristics of D2M ‘hotspots’ ! Not correlated with major modes ! Do not track SST anomalies ! Are not synchronized with each other
  8. 8. “ Scientists are sometimes like American tourists; [we] think that if we just speak English loud enough, people will understand us. Kevin Finneram, editor in chief Issues in Science and Technology
  9. 9. Tip #1 Use images, not text
  10. 10. “ Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%.” John Medina
  11. 11. LOW frequency
  12. 12. Tip #2 Design for the back row
  13. 13. Make It BIG
  14. 14. Make It
  15. 15. Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada • Lake Winnipeg is the 11th largest freshwater lake in the world • The lake’s watershed includes territory in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota and North Dakota • Its tributaries include the Saskatchewan, Red, Winnipeg and Assiniboine Rivers. Photograph of Lake Winnipeg from Gimli, Manitoba • The lake drains northward into the Nelson River and contributes to Hudson Bay.
  16. 16. Renewable water resources, by country Brazil Russia Canada USA China India Columbia Peru Zaire 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 Source: Shiklomanov and Rodda, 2003 km3/y
  17. 17. St. George et al.,The Holocene, 2010
  18. 18. St. George et al.,The Holocene, 2010
  19. 19. Tip #3 Get to the point
  20. 20. “ The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” Voltaire
  21. 21. What going over time really means “I’m more important that the next speaker.” “I’m more important than this session.” “I’m more important than my audience.”
  22. 22. Strive for continual improvement
  23. 23. “ You must unlearn what you have learned.” Yoda
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  27. 27. David Montgomery University of Washington
  28. 28. The A! of Scientific Presentations practical lessons for talking to your peers and the public GEOG 8103 Spring 2011