Science and the Public

Share Your Science

Last weekend was the March for Science, which drew hundreds of thousands of scientists and scientist supporters around the world. It showed that scientists are human beings, they are doing important work, and that the public benefits from the work they do.  That fact was borne home for me on Saturday and Sunday when, at an event called ScienceFest@StarFest, I brought a group of scientists and engineers to give public science talks to attendees of a media con called StarFest Denver. This is a ‘fest’ I organize each year in conjunction with StarFest (which features actors and others from the science fiction media universe). We had very good audience numbers and, more importantly, people attending WANTED to know about the topics we discussed: astronomy, gravitational waves, planetary missions, and so on. Good questions were asked, and the group mingled with attendees the entire weekend.

I think that sometimes people miss the fact that science isn’t just this monolithic “thing” out there; it’s a process of finding out how the cosmos works. It helps us understand our world and ourselves. So, when people who DO science put themselves out there to share their work, other people respond favorably.  If you’re a scientist, engineer, doctor, technical person, think about getting out there and sharing your work with others. It puts a human face on scientists, and people figure out that you’re the guy or woman next door, the person behind them in line at the store, the people waiting to catch a train to work, attending their kid’s dance recital and sports events, and the family enjoying a movie with you in the theater.

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