About Me

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I'm an assistant professor of neuroscience at Washington State University in Vancouver, where I use tiny zebrafish (the size of an eyelash!) as a model system to study human hearing loss and how we can prevent it. I'm also a long-time Toastmaster and I teach communication workshops. This blog represents the merging of my two passions - science and communication, which has really become one central passion - the science of communication. There's a revolution in science right now...the idea that we scientists should sometimes leave the lab and talk about what we do, and why we do it, to real people. This blog looks at why we should do this, and how to actually talk about science with non-scientists (and with each other!). Portions of this blog are also featured on Qualia, the AAAS MemberCenter blog site.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Put your money where your mouth is

Sometimes even the most well-intentioned science communicators need a little incentive. The Center for Media and Interactivity at Justus Liebig University provides just such an incentive with their competition Performing Science 2011.  The goal of this contest is to recognize scientists and other academics for true performances that incorporate modern technology and that entertain even as they instruct.  And the best performance is rewarded – to the tune of 5,000 euros!

I think this contest raises some interesting points.  Should we strive to entertain during our talks? What is the difference between a talk and a performance?  When we enter the public arena, are we performing?  What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I would say that, yes, anytime you give a talk you are performing. The primary goal may not necessarily be entertainment, but oratory is a form of performance. And I think approaching it in that manner can have a definite affect on how your talk is ultimately shaped. There may be potential, though, to go a little too far, allowing entertainment to trump the message your trying to get across. It's a balancing act, I think.