April 13, 2013 from 12-4pm, Field House at Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge Science Festival
On April 13, 2013 the Broader Impacts Group made their debut at the Science Carnival at the Cambridge Science Festival with their booth "Make the Invisitble Visible: The Secret, Bizarre, and Amazing World of Plankton".
The booth was quite popular among young and old visitors and people went home with a new appreciation for the important members of the bottom of our ocean food chain: plankton. The art and science of their watery realm was explored through a live microscope demonstration, jaw-dropping video footage, and an activity to build your own Super Plankton refrigerator magnet. The event brought together both new and old, and MIT and WHOI Broader Impacts Group members to staff the booth.
On a rainy Cambridge night, a couple MIT students met up with science writer John Bohannon for an informal "science communications happy hour" at the Miracle of Science near MIT. Amid conversations about how to communicate about climate change to the public, what the greatest science communications challenges are, and how John got to where he's at (a freelance science journalist who writes for publications including Science Magazine and Discover Magazine), some great ideas emerged. For example: what about developing an online calculator that communities and individuals can use to estimate the costs of climate change damage on their community, based upon real climate change projections and economic data?
It might be a while before we, or anyone else for that matter, invent that tool. But the take away is clear: great ideas can come out of informal conversations among like-minded people with a passion for using science to inform better decision-making.
March 3, 2013 from 1-3pm, Museum of Science
Panel Discussions at the Museum of Science: March 3
Explore the planet’s last true frontier – the ocean – and encounter swirling currents traced in light, mysterious seascapes rendered in paint, and delicate marine life etched in vibrant color. At Ocean Stories you will find works of art infused with a sense of exploration and discovery that is common to science and art alike.
Synergy is an experimental program that catalyzes partnerships between artists and research scientists. With an emphasis on communication and collaboration, Synergy aims to provide meaningful creative and intellectual experiences for both the general public and for participating artists and scientists. We carefully select and match artists and scientists to work together to formulate a shared voice. We then present the outcome of these collaborations as group exhibitions that invite the public to engage with this unique collision of art and science.
Synergy was conceived in early 2012 in affiliation with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and is affiliated with the Broader Impacts Group.
February 14, 2013 from 12-1pm, Clark Student Center, WHOI
We had a lot of fun with the Upgoer Five activity and wrote some great paragraphs. We struggled with certain concepts such as plankton and the biological pump, but also deconstructed our research to its essential components, for example: How to describe a coral without using the word coral? It’s a lot of small animals that live together on rocks and don’t move around, and they make the rocks they live on. We also found powerful metaphors, like the idea of a book to convey the idea of DNA, or referring to lights in a house as electricity. This exercise helped us start our communication from where our audience is coming from, rather than what is easiest for us.
Below are several entertaining samples from JP Students who attended. Check out the website that inspired this activity and give it a try!
February 11, 2013, MIT Museum
On Monday February 11, the Broader Impacts Group hosted a Cambridge Kickoff meeting at the MIT Museum. The meeting featured speaker John Bohannon, a creative communicator of science who has engaged the public not only via science writing, but through the cutting-edge medium of dance. About 25 participants attended, coming from a range of MIT departments, from earth science to science writing, and backgrounds, from students to museum curators. Our BIG officers- Sarah, Alice, Guy- and John Bohannon led an active discussion on the merits, challenges and methods of science communication, and on potential collaborations that might arise from a BIG's presence in Cambridge. Many ideas made their rounds around the room, including events with the MIT Museum and MIT's Public Service Center. Stay tuned for more to come...
January 29 & 31, 2013 from 5:00-7:00pm, WHOI
"It's so great that the BIG scientists are taking the initiative to improve how they and their colleagues communicate.” – Diana Kenny, workshop participant
Participants in the two BIG communication workshops last week learned effective approaches to presenting scientific material, both to academic and public audiences. In the first session, communications professional Linda Pogue emphasized setting goals for what actions the presenter would like the audience to take after the presentation, be that funding further research or joining a local citizen science effort. Those who wished gave a 5-minute presentation and received feedback on their organization, content, and delivery. These workshops empowered participants to give engaging and compelling presentations with a purpose. Participants found the sessions useful, noting that “it's rare to take part in such a short, to-the-point but useful workshop,” and they “will remember the key ideas better, thanks to Linda's well-crafted workshop.”
13-18 January 2013
Three MIT/WHOI graduate students, Alice Alpert, Bethanie Edwards and Julie van der Hoop, and a several other MIT students are in Geneva, Switzerland, attending the UN Environment Programme's fifth and final meeting to finalize a legally-binding global mercury agreement. They are blogging at mit.edu/mercurypolicy and will be tweeting live from sessions, sharing their experiences as we observe the treaty-writing process and as we communicate the current state of mercury science to delegates.
January 15, 2013, WHOI
BIG held a successful blogging workshop on Tuesday January 15 from 5-6:30pm in the WHOI student lounge. Science writer Ken Kostel from the WHOI Communications Department and students Sarah Rosengard and Ben Linhoff lead an open discussion on the experience of blogging as a young scientist. Workshop participants also engaged in hands-on, interactive practice in concise science writing.
August 20, 2012, 5pm - Clark Student Center, Quissett Campus, WHOI
Andrew Dessler will be visiting Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from August 20th through 22nd as a visiting scholar. A Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University, Dr. Dessler's research focuses on water vapor feedbacks in the atmosphere and the role of clouds in climate variability. Dr. Dessler has served as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2000, was named a 2011 Google Science Communication Fellow, and is a co-author of the book The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate.
Please join the Broader Impacts Group for a social hour of light refreshments and insightful discussion on both his cutting edge research and his experience combining a career in academic science with a mission to communicate scientific findings to the public.
July 12, 2012, 6-8pm - Clark 271, Quissett Campus, WHOI
The Broader Impacts Group will host a Radio Sound Bites evening with Ari Shapiro, a former Joint Program student and WHOI postdoc and current science radio journalist, and Emily Moberg, a current JP student. Ari and Emily will talk about what goes into radio journalism and how they think about stories and communication when they do radio. They’ll also be showing us how to use their equipment and showing us some clips of their work, including interviews with JP students! They will be happy to guide anyone who would like to try their own hand at making a small radio piece. This workshop will be great opportunity to think about communication in a different way and even get some experience in a new medium. Everyone in the Woods Hole community is welcome so please spread the word. We are hoping to make this an informal potluck dinner so please bring something to share. However, beverages will be provided! So bring your ears and your imagination and we hope to see you on July 12 from 6-8pm in Clark, room 271 on the Quissett campus. Directions can be found at http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=8957.
The Broader Impacts Group convened for the first time on June 19 at the WHOI Exhibit Center in Woods Hole Village. This first expanded dialogue on science communication featured a diverse membership from the Woods Hole community-- scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Woods Hole Research Center; journalists and science writers; graduate students; and several other key representatives of science outreach.