On the evening of August 20th, we hosted the thirteenth installment of the monthly Science Online NYC (SoNYC) discussion series, held in collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences. The focus of the evening was the science PhD – Does the current PhD system need revamping to better equip researchers to continue in academia or to pursue other careers after graduating? You can find a Storify collating the online conversation here.
Panel member Elizabeth Bass, a professor of journalism at SUNY Stony Brook, who runs their Center for Communicating Science, talked in detail about the ways scientists can improve their communication skills.
She coined herself as a “token non-scientist” and explained that Stony Brook makes strides in teaching scientists how to improve their communication abilities. She went onto to explain that there is a need for more people to communicate science for policy and important decision making.
Following on from her talk, Elizabeth has put together a useful list of resources for scientists who would like to communicate better.
Please do let us know in the comment thread if you would like to add anything to this list; the aim is for this to become a useful resource:
- Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public, by Cornelia Dean (Harvard University Press, 2009)
- Escape From The Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter, by Nancy Baron (Island Press, 2010)
- Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work, by Dennis Meredith (Oxford University Press, 2010)
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Random House, 2007)
- Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, by Randy Olson (Island Press, 2009)
- Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times, by Marc J. Kuchner (Island Press, 2011)
- Speaking about Science: A Manual for Creating Clear Presentations, by Scott Morgan and Barrett Whitener (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
And the classic books on writing:
- On Writing Well, by William Zinsser (Harper, 2001 or 2006)
- The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White (Longman, 1999 or any recent edition – there are many.)
- Even a geek can speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills for High-Tech People, by Joey Asher (2001)