One of the reasons I love our Forest Kindergarten is the amount of teaching of the scientific method and how often it turns into storytelling. How do we go from one extreme to the other? When this guy talks about it, it will all make sense.
Du Sautoy admits that universities need to do a much better job at training scientists to communicate and become storytellers. Since Charles Simonyi created the role at the University of Oxford in the mid-nineties, numerous other similar positions have sprung up at other UK universities. “I think in recent years, there has been a definite push from universities towards increasing scientific dialogue with the public and dedicating positions to promote the idea of science in society, seen through the appointments of the likes of Jim Al-Khalili and Alice Roberts”, notes du Sautoy.
“I think communication should be a fundamental part of any scientists training as frankly it benefits your own science. Science, in my mind, has always been about two things, discovery and communication. As scientists we have to learn how to emphasise with a public audience for them to fully understand and to acknowledge the ideas we are seeing. The broader audience science can reach, the bigger the benefit in terms of the new ideas you are transmitting as a scientist.”
The “wonder of science” is something du Sautoy passionately advocates for and believes is the inspiration behind “so many exciting” stories and programmes, which are widening the fascination and curiosity in science within the public domain. “It is heartening to see scientific stories being told by practising scientists on television. I think that’s why we become scientists because we’re animated by the stories that we’re reading and those that are unfinished that we want to contribute to. The excitement of making new discoveries and then seeing its impact on us as a society is so important to this.”
“I think we’ve managed to capture this well, people are not turning on BBC programmes about science or reading the books that we write because they feel they have to, because it’s important, they are doing it because they find it fascinating and entertaining and want to understand. The knock on effect is that the public is then in a much better position to make judgements on what we should be doing about the energy crisis or whether we should give the okay to stem cell research.”
He cheerily summarises, “It is a particularly positive time in Britain for science.”
The full article is from http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2014/02/03/marcus-du-sautoy-communicating-science-within-the-sciences-and-to-the-public?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite. Thanks to @kirkenglehardt for the tweet which led me there!