“It’s a chance to share your amazement about the world, with the world.”
This is part of a series of interviews with science communicators about science communication. Today we are Speaking to… Benjamin Connell
Where are you based?
Who do you work for?
I’m currently doing a Post Graduate Diploma with De Montfort University in Leicester, long distance.
What type of science communication do you do?
I’ve made some Youtube videos of varying quality. I kind of lost momentum with that, but I was pleased with the level of production I got up to.
I have to explain what I do to my friends and family quite a lot, so that’s very face to face. I was the science advisor on a Dr Who themed creative writing course at Kilve Court, and I’ll be doing it again later this year.
Who is your main audience?
Anyone lay in the ways of science. Children in the case of the Kilve course, Family and Friends, the general public.
How did you get into it?
My very first Youtube video was made at the museum in CERN. They had an alpha particle gold leaf experiment set up that you could play with. That was one of my favourite experiments from A Level physics and to see it in action was great! I was so excited I felt I had to share it, so I videoed myself explaining it and put it on youtube.
Why do you think science communication is important?
Scientist fight a losing battle most of the time, to have their findings reach the public, without some kind of journalistic agenda attached to them, which can give the public false impressions. There’s a great need for people who actually understand science to report it, so that they can give the public faithful report on it.
What do you love about science communication?
It’s a chance to share your amazement about the world, with the world. Dancers, signers, creative types usually like to say, ‘hey look at this, look what I did!’. We don’t tend to think of scientists doing the same, some do, but it’s seen as special interest entertainment. I actually admire Wil.I.Am’s recent stated desire to make an X Factor style show for tech. Bringing an interest in STEM subjects into the mainstream can only be a good thing.
What has been your favourite project?
I really enjoyed entering the SciCast video competition in which I entered my video Friction. It was a great experiment, so simple and so effective. The same goes for Static. I love the simple ones.
Do you have any new science communication projects coming up?
On Tuesday the 29th January 2013 (TONIGHT) I’m going to be on the Click BBC radio robots special. I’ll be building and programming a robot during the show, that should be fun!
Any tips for those wanting to get into science communication?
I’ve always taken the amateur approach which is so easy these days! You can blog, make videos, sci-comm is fairly niche. It’s the sort of thing you get better at as you go, so don’t worry about being crap at the start.
You can follow Benjamin on Twitter at @FizzyMcPhysics.