Is it all worth it?

After all these episodes, I hope so. But when you’re trying to do a million things, sharing your story can fall to the bottom of the heap. Featuring Henry Dick, a geophysicist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Jennifer Cutraro, the founder of Science Storytellers, and Mike Morrison, a psychology Ph.D. candidate from the University of Oxford.

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Henry Dick, a geophysicist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

For decades, Henry Dick and other geologists have been trying to learn more about our planet. While space exploration and research gets the headlines and the funding, journeying to the center of the earth hasn’t been able to capture the same imagination. But what we have learned is fascinating: the boundary called the Mohole that separates the crust from the mantle circles the earth – even in places on the ocean floor where there is no crust separating us from the mantle. As Henry points out, we live on this planet and understanding what it’s made of is critical to our survival. We’re not spending money to answer some of the most fundamental questions. In the 1960s, drilling into the center of the earth was an exciting prospect, but we’re all too quick to look up and wonder instead of looking down.

Henry Dick profile
The Deepest Hole We Have Ever Dug, BBC

Jennifer Cutraro, founder of Science Storytellers

Attending a Science Storytellers event means seeing children sitting next to scientists, armed with reporter notebooks and interviewing them about their work. Jennifer Cutraro says the idea came about in frustration that we always talk about communication like our audience is an empty vessel waiting to be filled with information. She wanted to come up with a way to create two-way conversation around research. Science Storytellers humanizes scientists, putting a face to the job and making it clear to kids that they are just like everyone else. Children come away inspired with future career plans and empowered to own their mistakes. Getting kids involved in science means giving them space and time to ask questions and play and listening to what they have to say.

Science Storytellers

Mike Morrison, a psychology Ph.D. candidate from Michigan State University

Our last guest of this season is here to shake things up. Mike’s target? The traditional poster session, where dozens of researchers communicate their work in the same old format, with the same old template. Transforming the poster means pulling from design and advertising, and listening to the evidence that we’re not communicating our knowledge effectively. There are fears of not conforming, especially early in one’s career, but the biases that hold us back make science communication harder. We owe people efficiency so that science can get on with what it’s meant do: solve problems, save lives, and change the world. As Mike puts it, conforming is insulting to the idea of science.

How to create a better research poster in less time
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