Communicating Science in 21st-Century Contexts: Some Highlights of the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting

The 2017 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held 16–20 February in Boston, Massachusetts, included many sessions that addressed, at least in part, communicating science. The following are highlights of some sessions that may especially interest science editors and those in related realms. Communicating Science Seminar Christina B Sumners The 2017 AAAS meeting included a 3-part seminar on communicating science. Who’s Your Audience? For the session “Who’s Your Audience?”, moderated by Bruce Lewenstein of Cornell University, speakers shared their experiences communicating science to diverse audiences. Kishore Hari of the University of California, San Francisco, suggested sitting down with stakeholders and really listening to them—and then being prepared to act on what you learn. He said science engagement often involves taking two usually separate communities—perhaps scientists and leaders of a Native American nation—and having them interact, leading to deeper connections. Still, it all begins with listening to each other. Kirstin Dow of the University of South Carolina works on climate change with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program. To her, one problem with communicating science is that scientists and policy makers often talk past each other. Science has to “match” the decision that needs to be made to give policy makers the information they need. Matt Leighninger, a vice president at Public Agenda, pointed out that in modern Western culture people have little time but considerable resources (such as education, information, and access to each other and […]

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