Tag Archives: journalist

David Bradley

Speaking to… David Bradley

David-Bradley-science-communication
David Bradley

“I couldn’t find a lab coat to fit and this way I get to “experience” all kinds of areas of science rather than being focused on a single research niche.”

 

This is part of a series of interviews with science communicators about science communication. Today we are Speaking to… David Bradley

Name?

David Bradley aka sciencebase

Where are you based?

Just outside Cambridge, England

Who do you work for?

I am a freelance science journalist

What type of science communication do you do?

I write news, features and opinion pieces for a wide range of outlets as well as doing some public relations work independently of the journalis.

Who is your main audience?

I have a several audiences from specialists in particular scientific areas (chemists, spectroscopists, crystallographers, materials scientists)

How did you get into it?

I trained as a chemist, quickly realised I was rubbish at all that test-tube stuff, but was quite good at writing up my lab book. I graduated, worked in the US, then in a QA lab for a food company for a short time and then landed a desk job with the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1989. I started writing news articles freelance for New Scientist etc in my spare time, got head-hunted by Science magazine ended up freelancing for them and built up my portfolio of regular clients to the point where there were no longer enough hours in the day and I ditched the day job and went freelance full time.

Why do you do it?

Like I say, I couldn’t find a lab coat to fit and this way I get to “experience” all kinds of areas of science rather than being focused on a single research niche.

Why do you think science communication is important?

It’s part of the human endeavour, just as much as politics, law, art, music etc. Moreover, it’s the only endeavour that provides a rational way to investigate the world around us without resorting to magical explanations or being coloured by opinion and emotion (mostly)

What do you love about science communication?

Well, it’s earned me a living during the last quarter of a century, made me lots of friends I wouldn’t necessarily have met in any other walk of life, given me the opportunity to share my thoughts with the world and have them critiqued on occasion and also allowed me to put some of them into a neat little book – Deceived Wisdom – available now from all good outlets and for download from my website http://sciencebase.com/dw

What has been your favourite project?

Well, in recent years, getting the commission to write the book was exciting, during the writing I was waking up far too early each day, full of ideas and desperate to get them typed up.

Do you have any new science communication projects coming up?

I have several outlets for which I write regularly as well as my own site sciencebase.com and the PR work to keep me busy, but I’ve also been hiving off spare time to do more music (songwriting and recording). I am currently working up a demo of a song I wrote called Pale Blue Dot, which is a tribute to Carl Sagan and the Voyager spacecraft and its “thoughts” at looking back at its birthplace, Earth, as it speeds out of the solar system. You can listen to the demo on my SoundCloud page – https://soundcloud.com/sciencebase/pale-blue-dot – ends with a Voyager “sound” courtesy of NASA.

Any tips for those wanting to get into science communication?

The entry points have changed since I started, there was no web back in 1989, blogs are a relatively recent invention, although I’ve been “blogging” online in some sense since 1995 although it wasn’t called that then. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. In terms of broader science communication, there are lots of courses now that didn’t exist when I started, I think some very successful science communicators have been on those and gone on to greater things in the national media and elsewhere. But, fundamentally, it’s still all about people, talking to people, being interested, listening to opinions, networking, following leads…all the usual stuff of journalism.

You can follow David on Twitter at @sciencebase

Speaking to… Virginia Hughes: Science and stories

science-and-stories-science-communicationThis feature podcast is part of a series of interviews with science communicators about science communication. Today we are Speaking to… Virginia Hughes.

Scientific papers don’t seem to attract many readers outside the sphere of science when it comes to science communication. Yet the discoveries recounted in these papers play a pivotal role in some science-fiction stories, and these are read by people from all over the world.

What if scientists were to tell their stories, as just that, stories? Would they be able to reach a wider audience? Would their work be more accessible?

When we read dry, factual arguments, we read with our shields in hand. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story we drop our guard. We are moved emotionally, and are drawn into the story-tellers’ world.

I’ve been joined by Virginia Hughes, a journalist from Brooklyn, New York City, and in this podcast we discuss science and stories.

Here is Virginia’s blog post Why more scientists should tell stories.

Learn more about what Virginia gets up to in her Speaking to… interview

Ann Hoang

Speaking to… Ann Hoang

“As any writer will tell you, the best way to improve your writing is to read more.”

This is part of a series of interviews with science communicators about science communication. Today we are Speaking to… Ann Hoang.

Ann-Hoang-science-communication
Ann Hoang

Name?

Ann Hoang

Who do you work for?

I founded STEMinist in 2010. It’s a website where we feature news and profiles about women in science, tech, engineering and math. In my other life I am a Software Engineer for a research group in the University of Oregon’s College of Education.

What type of science communication do you do?

On STEMinist our most popular feature is our profiles. We do email interviews with women from a variety of STEM careers, typically asking them questions about their backgrounds, interests, and advice they may have for other women in STEM.

In addition to the profiles, we publish links to articles about women in STEM.

Who is your main audience?

Our audience is mostly people working in STEM. There are also a lot of people and organizations involved in STEM education and outreach as well.

How did you get into it?

When I first joined Twitter a few years ago I discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, a large community of women in STEM. It was so inspiring to know I wasn’t alone. STEMinist initially started out as a Tweet aggregator and then evolved into publishing original content as well as curating relevant links.

Why do you do it?

There are many reasons behind the lack of women in STEM (see the AAUW’s excellent 2010 report “Why So Few?”) but one of the issues I felt I could take action on was visibility. Through our profiles, links, and social media we want to help women in STEM be seen and heard.

What do you love about your job?

The feedback from our followers. I work on STEMinist in my spare time and sometimes it gets hard to find the time, but then I’ll get a message or Tweet about how someone loves what we do. It reminds me that though the premise of our site is relatively simple, it fulfills an important purpose. Just the other day one of the first women we profiled on STEMinist reported a gal approached her at a conference and told her how inspired she was after reading her profile on our site! It doesn’t get better than that.

What has been your favourite project?

I have as much fun reading the profiles as much as compiling them! But last year around NCAA Basketball Tournament time we held our own “tournament” called STEMinist Madness. We started with a field of 64 historical women in STEM and readers voted on head-to-head match-ups until we eventually ended up with a champion (Ada Lovelace). I’d love to do more projects like that which intersect the worlds of STEM and pop culture.

Any tips for those wanting to get into science communication?

As any writer will tell you, the best way to improve your writing is to read more. So I would encourage you to find, follow, and read your favorite science writers (I’ve found great people on ScienceBlogs.com and Scientopia.org.

You can follow the amazing STEMinist profiles and features on Twitter at @STEMinist or visit the website directly at www.steminist.com