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From Discovery—through Communication—to Application: More Highlights of the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting

The 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, themed “Advancing Science: Discovery to Application,” included plenary lectures, multi-speaker scientific sessions, career development workshops, and much more. An article in the Spring 2018 issue of Science Editor presented highlights of some of the sessions likely to interest science editors and those in related fields. The current article presents highlights of additional such sessions of this meeting, held February 15–19, 2018, in Austin, Texas; topics range from communicating with skeptical publics about climate change, to knowing what underlies conspiracy theories regarding science, to using social media to communicate research. When Facts Are Not Enough By Mabel Terminel In this plenary lecture, Katharine Hayhoe—an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2014—addressed the challenges scientists currently face when talking with the public about climate change. Hayhoe pointed out that as scientists, “facts are our lifeblood.” We thrive on disagreements, and we turn to research to solve our conflicts and find resolutions. So, what happens when facts are not enough? Overwhelming numbers of studies and amounts of data show we are facing a climate crisis. Yet, much of the population remains skeptical about whether climate change is real or whether these changes are driven by human activity. It is easy to feel that we have tried to use every communication strategy, Hayhoe observed. Countless reports, studies, graphs, educational videos, and even comics on climate change are available to the general public. […]

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