Explaining Science to People Who Aren’t Scientists

Sponsored by Universidad Autónoma de Chile

Science is a huge, diverse and highly-specialized field but learning about scientific discoveries and advances can often feel like learning a whole new language – complicated, and at times, overwhelming.

This isn’t helped by the fact a lot of scientific information is confined to the traditional mediums of research reports, journals and articles which makes it harder for the wider community to access and understand what the science is all about.

This is why it’s important that scientists and researchers master the art of communication and are able to translate complicated scientific information into clear and simple language.

“Scientists have a fundamental public role,” said Dr Iván Suazo, vice-rector of Research and Postgraduate Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Chile.

“Distribution [of information] is as important as progress because it allows society to acquire knowledge. An informed population, with critical thinking, will allow us to better face the future.”

Letting the science speak for itself

Building bridges between science and society through story is a new and innovative way for scientists to develop an easy-to-understand dialogue. Ensuring the story is both memorable and meaningful is key when it comes to keeping society engaged and focused.

An example of this can be found in Dr Gino Corsini’s recently published book, Why Does Bacteria Make Me Sick?

Bacteria (single-cell organisms) are invisible to the human eye without the aid of a microscope and are often associated with disease or illness. However, the vast majority of bacteria are beneficial (and even essential) to human life.

“On this planet, the great number of organisms that inhabit it are neither human nor animal, but are bacteria,” explains Dr Corsini. “Therefore, we must learn to live with them and know when they can be harmful to us and when they can be good.”

Through simple language and vibrant images, Dr Corsini seeks to explain the complexities of microbiology science to the wider community in the hope of helping them understand it better. Such transparency can help society better understand the implications of specific areas of science and what they can do to help themselves.

A great initiative and service to the public

Uncertainty in research and science is normal – usually as a result of miscommunication and misunderstandings. But it’s hopeful that good story books like Dr Corsini’s will help spark a long-term interest and sense of enthusiasm when it comes to the many worlds of science.

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Story books are the way forward when it comes to helping society better understand the importance of science in everyday life.

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