3 thoughts on “A Short Note on Public Engagement

  1. Whilst I’d agree that some academics have enough on their plate, I do seriously think that some form of scientific communication should be a part of every scientists work. Even if this is only to the point that they understand how to explain what they are saying to people with little scientific background.

    There are too many people out there who can’t explain the simplest part of science (agreed often the hardest thing to explain when you’re a prof.). But this gives science the image of being reclusive and private. If public engagement increases. public understanding increases. If understanding increases, willfullness increases. In the end this should on it’s own increase funding and help with other problems, as well as increasing the stream of people who want to be academic scientists.

    Communicating to the lay public is often undermined as an effortful task that detracts from other duties, but it’s that communication that in the end fuels research and interest. No one should fund a scientist who gives a vague statement of what they do (make lasers) aligned with a statement of what it could be used, but probably not intended, for (cure cancer).

    • ScienceDefined,

      I completely agree! I also very much believe that communicating science should be an essential part of an academic’s work and not just for ‘science communicators’ for a number of reasons that you have pointed out, as well as those I outlined above.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Of course scientists and researchers should strive to be better at communicating their science, its to their own benefit and to the benefit of their organizations for them to do this. But as ScienceDefined points out “There are too many people out there who can’t explain the simplest part of science”. The main source of kudos for scientists is writing peer reviewed papers in well-regarded scientific journals and getting their papers cited by others – this is what academics are rated on, its probably not on communicating science to the public. Which will benefit a science more in the eyes of the public, a brilliant scientist but one of ScienceDefined ‘many who can’t explain…’ or, an inspirational professional science communicator?!

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