Science Communication

By: Madelyn Terhune

Science communication is just as the name says, communicating science. Scientists are constantly communicating science whether writing scientific papers or giving presentations. It is important for them to communicate effectively because a lot of their information can be used to explain things in the world. When the information is communicated effectively it can properly be used to inform and educate people. Communication is used in day to day life, so it is important to make sure that it is done properly particularly with science information. If communicated improperly it can be taken in a whole different way. It is the communicators job to take information and make it so the general public can understand it.  This is especially important in science communication considering some of the concepts scientists deal with are not often understood by the general public. The platforms we used are changing and growing. This is where digital media comes in handy. Social media has taken over the world, especially the younger generations. Most people check some sort of social media platform every day. These platforms can be used to communicate science to more people and more effectively. This is so important because now you can reach all different audiences in a much easier way. Information that may have been less accessible in the past is now out there for everyone to see. For scientists in the lab, social media can be used to communicate what they are doing. Scientific articles are not always accessible or understandable by the general public. Through social media, scientists can communicate that information through things like graphics and blog posts on a public forum that is more accessible to the general public.

When making public decisions it is often important to have some scientific knowledge. Whether it be bigger choices like health decisions or smaller ones like can you eat the chicken that has been left out for a while most things have science behind it. Even things like energy and global warming have science behind them so having at least a little bit of knowledge in those topics helps make better decisions and have informed conversations. When it comes to policymaking science communication is very important. Science communication, when one effectively, informs people of the benefits or risks of their choices allowing them to make informed decisions. Military technology and stem cell research are big topics that have sparked a lot of conversation so having an understanding of the science involved is crucial. In today’s pandemic, we would not have a lot of the knowledge we do about COVID-19 if it were not for scientists. They are often called upon for consultation and assessment for these types of things. Being informed about the facts allows those policymakers to help us stay safe. It is important we understand the science we hear on the news because we can have an educated voice behind the decisions being made on these topics. Science communication helps bridge the gap between public concepts and science.

Another importance of science communication is money. Some of the money from taxpayers goes into the science world. Science communication helps to bring awareness of how scientists are spending that money. This can be helpful because it shows how expensive some experiments can be and how they are needed because they help most people, for example, the use of antibodies in experiments. Personally, I have not been exposed to this form of communication, but I think it’s important for people interested in taxpayer money.

Overall science communication is important for both the general public and scientists themselves. It is important for scientists to learn how to communicate effectively because a lot of important decisions can be made from science. Decisions made for public policy and public health can be made with background knowledge. It will be beneficial for people to have some understanding of scientific topics so they can be involved in these big decisions.

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