Well-known actor Alan Alda recently offered science communication advice that applies to scientists, federal agencies, companies and others who aim to apply science to shape public policies.
The heart of effective science communication “is relating,” said Alda, an actor, director and writer who co-founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at New York’s Stony Brook University.
Alda spoke May 1 after receiving the 2016 Public Welfare Medal, the National Academy of Sciences’ most prestigious award. He received it, the academy said, for “extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public.”
“The idea of listening to somebody before you try to shape how they think about something is an ancient idea, but it’s still revolutionary idea,” Alda said.
“While we are explaining things to somebody, are we reading them? Are we relating to them? Are we seeing if they’re getting it? Are we watching their body language, their tone of voice, and the expressions on their faces? Are they getting it, or are we just spraying information at them? Are they enjoying getting it? “These are some of the most important questions we can ask,” Alda said.
(Photographer: Francis Specker/Bloomberg News)
Federal scientists trained by the Stony Brook science communication center include researchers working for the Environmental Protection Agency.
video of Alda’s speech is available online. Select the video titled “Awards Ceremony” in the video box, and Alda takes the stage about an hour and 20 minutes in.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)