Hey there, science researcher! Have you ever tried to explain to general people what you do for a living? How easy was it? Not much, huh? We know how you feel.
Depending on your mood and who is asking, you take the time to actually explain everything you do. The outcome is one of two things:
A) You sound like you are speaking a different and boring scientific language
B) You sound like a crazy scientist doing weird experiments just like in the movies
Why does that happen? Why people are not familiar with the scientific daily life? Why do they think it is either boring or crazy?
Science communication is one of the many things we haven’t figured out yet and it has consequences. People usually move away from what they don’t understand. And let’s face it, even scientists have trouble understanding something out of their own research field.
But why do we have to worry about it?Science is supposed to generate an impact; to change a way of thinking; to improve something. If you can’t reach enough people and make a difference with your work, what is the point of doing it in the first place?
If people don’t feel like they can be part of science, maybe science communication is the gap.
The author of PhD Comics, Jorge Cham, shares our point of view. He tells us a bit of it on his amazing talk for TEDx in 2012.
Making science accessible has everything to do with making it simple and fun.
Jorge’s work gives a realist perspective while slightly introduces a new vocabulary. He uses humour to present the anxieties of young researchers while showing they are just like eveybody else. As a result, his comics deliver connection and get people closer to the scientific life.
PhD comics isn’t alone in improving science communication.
WTF, Evolution?! shows a completely different approach and works just as well.
Making fun of evolution, Mara Grunbaum dialogues on some weird features and ever weirder animals. Check out one of her posts:
With a singular humour and clever jokes, Mara introduces the sense of morphology, adaptation and biodiversity. Simple, fun and scientific all the way!
If you like something more interactive, you will love Viz WTF. This tumblr shows the worst cases of data visualization and allows you to contribute. Viz WTF mixes making fun of someone’s work and learning what not to do. Perfect match.
Try these science communication tools with your friends and make them change their mind about the scientific world!
Also published on Medium.