By: Alexander Martinez Lopez
Most people think about the word “science”, they almost instantly have their minds filled with images of goggled scientists with lab coats and crazy hair examining a bubbling flask. Although it’s a definite way to picture this concept, science is so much more. Science is literally everywhere from gardening to eating and even boiling some water, as for me science is everything. It’s been a way for me to approach life, deal with its delights as well as its hardships, and like many others has shaped my life’s purpose. Science is important because it has helped form the world we live in today and it is equally important to communicate it.
Science communication has evolved into a crucial and key part of a scientist’s everyday life, because communicating their work effectively is what makes a successful scientist. Effective communication usually translates to great benefits in any setting, in the scientific field it is no different. Having an effective communication amongst your peers, education programs or scientific organizations about your work and findings can do wonders for the research community, as well as the scientist emitting his message. Sharing relevant and impactful ideas among the research community can foster collaboration that could ultimately lead to innovative and significant breakthroughs. Some of which could possess the ability to be life-changing for the non-scientific community. This makes it imperative for scientists to also be able to communicate effectively beyond their peers to broader, non-scientist audiences, for them to understand its relevancy and influence to society. Public understanding and public impact towards new scientific knowledge will ultimately build support for science, making even more innovations possible, and it can encourage more informed decision-making at all levels, from government to communities to individuals. Like mentioned before, a scientist that performs effective communication at all levels can get career benefits such as enhancing the scientists’ ability to secure funding or find a job. It also allows them to be an inspiration as well as be better mentors for next-generation scientists.
When talking about current and future trends on science communication, we can’t disregard the impacts the internet and social media have on this. In the past scientists relied on television documentaries and public exhibitions to communicate their findings. However, in the modern era social media platforms have now brought new opportunities for scientists and communicators to interact with their audiences in more interactive ways and sharing research data. There is actually a trend towards “tweetable” research, where researchers in order to attract the attention of their target audience on the social networks the use a tweetable abstract which is an approximately one-two line summary of their research. Scientist recognize that to effectively communicate advancements in the scientific field they must communicate through the channels which the general public is currently engaged, social media platforms hold that power.
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- View of Social media, science communication and the academic super user in the United Kingdom: First Monday. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2020, from https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7866/6560