science communication

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The Canadian Colleges and Universities Environmental Network 2016 conference at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, will be showcasing a panel of science communication experts facilitated by A\J on May 12. So, what exactly is science communication and why is it important?

Science regarding the environment and subsequent quality of life for our planet’s inhabitants and ecosystems is imperative public knowledge and the key to combating further damage to our planet.

Science communication is a broad term incorporating different mediums, audiences and creators all focused on making scientific knowledge accessible and understandable to different communities, including the general public. The varieties of methods to mobilize scientific knowledge are as diverse as the researchers and journalists working to create a culture of continuous scientific learning in society.

Science regarding the environment and subsequent quality of life for our planet’s inhabitants and ecosystems is imperative public knowledge and the key to combating further damage to our planet. Communicating science through many mediums creates opportunities for different demographics to learn and participate in important conversations. Digital media has ignited opportunities for scientist and science journalist to share knowledge in condensed formats using everyday language and visuals to engage the public. As the mediums for the science community continue to increase and the public continues to evolve and see scientists as the superstars they really are, the opportunities are abundant.

Why should you spend the time to communicate science? A valid question since some mediums — such as social media — don’t necessarily translate to valuable entries on a CV and time and skill required for some forms of communication can be hard to manage. Communicating science is also time consuming not only in its execution, but also during the learning process of engaging different audiences. Reaching out to a well respected and enthusiastic science journalist to share your research story is also a way to bring awareness to your work if time and urgency are contributing factors.

The rewards of science communication are worth the effort. Not only does sharing scientific information contribute to the global knowledge economy, it also increases your opportunities for research collaborations, helps you connect with the scientific community and networking for future career opportunities. And you never know, your words might inspire a future scientist to help change the world.

Charlotte Armstrong is Alternatives Journal’s Knowledge and Community Engagement Strategist as well as an active science communicator for the Laurier Centre for Women in Science, Science Borealis, and local chapters of Nerd Nite, and The Planetary Society.

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