Mar 06

Science communication is integral to science activism

By Megan Slaker

Edited by Alexandria Camino


Science is at the core of a number of important policy decisions being made and discussed. Science communication is critical for raising concerns and making impactful (and beneficial) policy. While it is easy for us as scientists to be frustrated with what is occurring in politics, it is imperative that we use our voices and knowledge to stand up for the policy issues we deem as essential.  How can you participate? Continue reading…

The March for Science

The March for Science is a movement that is sweeping across the US and other countries as a way to connect scientists and those who view science critical to the success of the country. The organizers view the marches as “a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” The marches take place April 22, 2017 in most major cities across the US. For help finding the city closest to you that will have a march, visit the March for Science website.

Reach Out to Local and State Officials

Contact your state senators, representatives, local mayors, governors, and other elected officials. Let them know that funding science is important to you. Let them know what specific issues are important to you. Let them know how your work is changing the world and is integral to the success and development of the country/state/city.


Communicatalyst wants to help you practice your science communication during Brain Awareness Week! Send a 500 word or fewer post on the impact and importance of your work to Alli or Megan by March 9th! 

Practice your science communication! Speaking to people that understand scientific principles is very different than speaking to people with no background in science. Speaking to your lab mates is very different than speaking to your grandma (who I am assuming doesn’t have a background in science). Writing a technical or review paper for publication is very different than writing a press release or blog to be read or heard by non-scientists. The people in the latter half of each of those statements are no less important than the people in the first half – it is your job as a skillful and successful science communicator to be able to reach them.  Therefore, practice, practice, practice. Make this an integral part of your training.




Unfortunately, even with these suggestions, some individuals will not change their view on science and science policy. It is not your responsibility to change their minds. It is not your responsibility to single-handedly convince your community, city, state, or country to become science enthusiasts. It is, however, your responsibility to be respectful of the views and beliefs of others – regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

Within science there are disagreements between major players in a given field – this has been true throughout history. In my field of neuroscience, Santiago Ramon y Cajal believed the brain was made up of many individual cells, while Camillo Golgi believed the brain was made up of a continuous tissue. There was a fierce rivalry between the two and the advancement of science suffered because of this! Since Cajal was later found to be correct, many of Golgi’s other discoveries were discarded and neglected for years.

As scientists and science communicators, we should be sharing our work and the importance of it with everyone! If you can attend a March for Science – go! If you can or can’t, contact your elected officials to let them know that science and science policy is important to you. You could run for an elected office or participate in AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. Daily, practice your communication skills with the scientific community and lay audiences! Explore Communicatalyst posts for tips on how to reduce jargon and speak simply. You are an integral piece in the science policy puzzle!

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