Amolf: popularizing science, many ways to reach the public

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A presentation I gave at the AMOLF Science and Society workshop.

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Amolf: popularizing science, many ways to reach the public

  1. 1. Popularizing science: Many ways to reach the public Blogs Twitter Science festivals Science cafés Visiting schoolsEva Teuling AMOLF symposium Science & Society, Sept 26, 2012
  2. 2. Why would you do science outreach?Official answers:• According to university regulations, you are obliged to participate in science outreach... (http://roymeijer.weblog.tudelft.nl/2012/06/02/title-814/) – but who blames you if you don’t?• Science outreach is part of some grants (only very few)• Research is mainly funded by public money, so you should give the public something backAdditional reasons:• Because it helps your research (yes, it does!)• The public is enthusiastic about science• Because it is FUN! AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  3. 3. Many ways to reach the public: Blogs Twitter Science festivals Science cafés Visiting schools
  4. 4. Blogging and twitter (microblogging)• Who is on LinkedIn?• Who is on Facebook?• Who is on Twitter?• Who has a blog? AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  5. 5. My blogginghistory • Annoyed by bad media- coverage of genetics, wrote article on “Genetic bullshit” for Sciencepalooza • Blog for PCDI about career development • Articles about sport- science for triahtlonclub • Blog as portfolio • Etc…twitter.com/evateulinghttp://evateuling.blogspot.com/
  6. 6. Why did I start a blog? • Annoyed by bad media- coverage of genetics, wrote article on “Genetic bullshit” for Sciencepalooza • Blog for PCDI about career development • Articles about sport- science for triahtlonclub • Blog as portfolio • Etc…http://evateuling.blogspot.com/
  7. 7. Examples of scientists-blogs AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  8. 8. Marco De Baarhttp://activescience.wordpress.com/
  9. 9. http://www.nikhef.nl/blog/
  10. 10. http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/
  11. 11. http://phdtalk.blogspot.com/
  12. 12. http://www.nextscientist.com/
  13. 13. http://wetenschapper20.wordpress.com/
  14. 14. More blogs:• Blogs that discuss general issues of the PhD life, • The Thesis Whisperer • PhD2Published.• Specific writing and reading problems: • 3 Month Thesis • Literature Review HQ.Study Hacks• …• …• Many, many more http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/
  15. 15. Why don’t you start blogging/tweeting?• Most heard answers: – I don’t have time – I write too slowly – I have nothing special to tell• My reply: – Blogging doesn’t take too much time – Writing for a blog is very different than writing a paper – Blogging is more like sharing thoughts – You are a scientists so you do have something special to tell! AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  16. 16. Who would read my blog/tweets?• Other scientists in your field – To learn about/from your experiences – To read about lectures/conferences – To find out about novel techniques• General public – To read about science that is not covered in the general news and is easier to read than a scientific article – To fullfill an inherent interest in science• (Science) journalists – To discover news AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  17. 17. Blogging/tweeting for other scientists in/outside your field• Write about your work, highly specific• Report about conferences, meetings and lectures• React on papers that you have read• Give/ask for advice on experiments• Announce your publications, talks and other achievements• Blog about struggles, achievements, writing tips, PhD life AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  18. 18. Blogging/tweeting for the general public • Explain your work in simple language • Tell the story of your research • Tell the story of being a scientists • Write about research more generally (like a science journalist) AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  19. 19. Science journalists• They will read anything you write (as long as you write about things related to science)• Blogging scientists are still rather scarce... AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  20. 20. Microblogging/twitter• Don’t feel like writing stories?• Start with Twitter = microblogging:• Share your thoughts in 140 characters• Tweet links to interesting articles, other peoples blogs, news, ...• Use hashtags (#) to address the topic• Follow hashtags to stay up to date with certain topics (#tk2012, #nobelprize)• Follow interesting people, institutes, journals, newssites, blogs, ...• If you blog: use twitter to announce a new blogpostAnd many more options… AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  21. 21. Many ways to reach the public: Blogs Twitter Science festivals Science cafés Visiting schools
  22. 22. Science festivals in the Netherlands:• Discovery Festival: THIS Friday! In Nemo, Rotterdam and Eindhoven• Oktober Kennismaand• Night of the Nerds/Nerds on Stage: October 6 (Nemo), October 20 (Rotterdam)• Night of Arts and Sciences in Groningen: Yearly in June• Llowlab: In August, during Lowlands festival• KOPfestival, Deventer, October 2013• SPAFF: Science Park Amsterdam Film Festival (two weeks ago)• Museumnights, many cities, different dates• …. Many, many more (www.scienceout.nl) AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  23. 23. Science cafés in the Netherlands:- Amsterdam (3): Kenniscafé de Balie, Kenniscafé de Rode Hoed, Café Scientifique- Kenniscafé Almere (!)- Science café Deventer (!)- Science café Eindhoven- Science café Enschede- Kenniscafé Groningen- Science café Leiden- Studium Generale UniMaas- Science café Nijmegen- Wetenschapscafé Rotterdam- Science café Tilburg- Science café Wageningen- Science café Zeist (!) AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  24. 24. Most science festivals and science cafés work with volunteers, so you can get involved without standing in the spotlights AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  25. 25. Guest lectures at high schoolsOrganized events:- Neurowetenschappers op school (Brain Awareness Week)- De Jonge Akademie on Wheels- ...Spontaneous visits: - Ask your old high-school ... - Ask the school of your children...Many schools like to have “real” scientist in the class and are happy to receive you AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  26. 26. Sending and receivingAll apects of science outreach give room for discussion, and one- to-one communicationDifferent from writing in a printed newspaper of giving a big public lecture AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  27. 27. But does outreach help my research?• YES it does!• Science outreach forces you to find a way to explain your research in simple words• Science outreach will broaden your network• If you blog/tweet: with a bit of help from your university and journalists, people will read what you do – You will be invited to give (public) lectures, to write articles on other people’s blogs, to go to meetings, etc... – You will get a lot of writing experience• You can discuss science with people that you would never meet at work, or will never meet in real life• Because it is fun!• …. And many more reasons AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012
  28. 28. Questions? AMOLF Symposium on Science and Society, Sept. 26 2012

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