Tag Archives: videos

Jack Croxall

Speaking to… Jack Croxall

Jack-Croxall-science-communication
Jack Croxall

“Learning and communicating things about how the world works is an incredible way to spend your life, I find I’m surprised and fascinated by something every day.”

 

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

Name?

Jack Croxall

Where are you based?

A small village in rural Nottinghamshire, it’s lovely!

Who do you work for?

Myself! I’m a science writer and an author, but I’m also the co-creator and editor of Unpopular Science, a website which aims to share and discuss the science stories which missed the front pages with anyone and everyone.

What type of science communication do you do?

I write a lot of short articles for Unpopular Science and other media outlets, but I’ve recently got into writing/presenting little videos and have even tried my hand at radio a couple of times. I think a science communicator should always be attempting to gain experience in a variety of mediums so he/she can reach as many people as possible. Science is for everyone, not just scientists; the best communicators will use a variety of platforms to connect with as wide an audience as possible.

On the author side of things, I have recently released my debut novel Tethers.The book is a Victorian adventure story that sees two teenagers, Karl and Esther, drawn into a treacherous conspiracy. That conspiracy has been engineered by a group of scientists who have discovered something with world-changing potential, and the novel asks the question, just how much does the justification of ‘the greater good’ allow a scientist to risk.

Who is your main audience?

We try to make Unpopular Science as accessible as possible, which means keeping things fun and simple, as well as clarifying any jargon. We try to include links and facts at the end of our articles that may interest anybody involved in the specific field we are talking about, however. As for Tethers, the genre is young-adult fiction, but, to me, that does not mean that only teenagers are welcome. The novel has a variety of themes and characters of different ages and so I would hope that anyone, young or old, would find something to enjoy amongst its pages.

How did you get into it?

I started writing science stories for student publications and blogs whilst I was an undergraduate. I quickly worked out it was something I enjoyed immensely, so, after I graduated, I sorted myself out with some work experience at BBC Factual. That cemented my desire to become a science communicator and so I enrolled on a postgraduate course to learn more. There I met Charlie Harvey who I eventually set up Unpopular Science with.

Why do you do it?

Quite simply, because I love it. Learning and communicating things about how the world works is an incredible way to spend your life, I find I’m surprised and fascinated by something every day. On top of that I feel as though I’m doing something worthwhile and important, and I’ve met some truly wonderful and remarkable people along the way.

Why do you think science communication is important?

Science is a hugely important aspect of our society and no one owns the right to scientific knowledge. A science communicator’s job is to bridge the gap between the public and experts in a specific field, essentially helping to share the knowledge around so we can all benefit from it.

What do you love about science communication?

I’ve already written that I love learning fascinating new things, but I love it even more if I can be the one to inspire that reaction in other people.

What has been your favourite project?

Probably writing Tethers. I had to learn a lot of new skills and do a lot of research to produce that book, and I am immensely pleased with the result. When I was younger and reading His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (based around The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics) I never dreamt that anyone would read a story that I wrote and possibly even enjoy it. So, when people write a review or get in touch with me, it really does make me so incredibly happy and thankful!

Do you have any new science communication projects coming up?

As well as continuing to work on Unpopular Science, I’m currently working on the second instalment of The Tethers Trilogy, but I’m also planning on making a few more videos.

Any tips for those wanting to get into science communication?

Start practising and get on social media and start connecting and chatting with other sciency types! If you want a platform for your work, we consider articles from anyone, no matter what their experience level! If your work isn’t quite up to scratch, or it doesn’t quite match our ethos, we’ll let you know what you need to do to change it, or where you can take it if it matches another outlets brief better. So please, get in contact, we’d love to hear from you!

You can follow Jack on Twitter at @JackCroxall and Unpopular Science at @UnpopularScience

Benjamin Connell

Speaking to… Benjamin Connell

“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

Benjamin-Connell-science-communication
Benjamin Connell

Name?

Benjamin Connell

Where are you based?

Cardiff

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.