Komatsuda, who rhapsodized about her latest research project -- a rat experiment aimed at finding out whether exercise really makes people hungrier -- won the all-English science contest, despite being the only Japanese contestant.
The biggest secret to her victory, though, seemed to lie in her close adherence to the very fundamental concept of this scientific contest: to make the presentation as easy to understand as possible.
"(As a scientist,) you have a tendency to let the science speak for itself," said organizer
"So you don't really think about how you're going to present it. You'd just think, 'OK, my science is good enough. I have some nice data. I have nice results in my statistics. I could just show these.' "
The four other contestants at the
In order for scientists to truly engage the public, Woolgar said they need to step out of their own comfort zone. Indeed, all the presenters at the event, including Komatsuda, were careful to steer clear of technical jargon and gave lively presentations in the hopes of wowing the audience.
Komatsuda, who explained how the results of her recent experiment on rats could discredit the popular assumption that physical exercise makes people crave food, peppered her presentation with attractive graphics and personal anecdotes.
"Scientists today enjoy talking about their work only among a limited circle of their own. Nonexperts, however, tend to be denied access to knowing what's being discussed behind closed doors. I hope events like this will change that," the
But some scientists might sneer at the idea of reaching out to the public, according to
"But I think you could say something about the amount of public investment on science and how the public is funding (their) research very often. So scientists really have some responsibility" to communicate with laypeople, he said.
Meanwhile, the two lamented that, while
According to a survey released in August by the
To boost their employability, Woolgar suggested
Great presentation skills, as shown by Komatsuda and others at the event, are also practical advantages, he said.
"These kinds of broader skills are being increasingly emphasized.
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