At age 13, physicist and writer
With this story, Lightman hooked an audience of journalists, scientists, world-famous rappers, science communicators, university students and others, who had gathered in a dark nightclub in
The Story Collider show was part of a two-day workshop, The Evolving Culture of Science Engagement, held in
"A writer's job is a special one," said GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan and Science Genius. "You're trying to draw them in, bring in those that are listening to your world, captivate them with your imagination, but also to learn. You want anything you say to be worth saying. You want to reach their mind and then reach their heart. That's what I want to do."
The workshop highlighted the role of techniques such as narrative, participation, mystery, and informality in science engagement. Practitioners shared their perspectives on and experiences in developing a range of communication and outreach activities, including science festivals, online video series, and comedy shows.
"We're seeing a change in science engagement similar to what's going on in other areas of contemporary culture," said
"Comedians are experts in pop culture, which is necessary to make somebody laugh," Tyson said. "Evidence that science is becoming more mainstream is that it has become the purview of comedians. The universe, by the way, is a hilarious place."
Workshop participants highlighted the need for ongoing discussion and resource-sharing between the science communication practitioner and research communities, including disseminating case studies of diverse engagement activities and making resources available for more in-depth collaboration.
The importance of science storytelling and finding new ways to connect with audiences also came to the fore at another event the same week, in
In summary remarks on the conference's last day,
Scientists seeking to engage non-scientific audiences should "know before whom you stand... You are speaking to them, not to yourself," he said. "Engagement requires warmth, and it needs to be clear we respect our audience."
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