I sometimes think that general and popular treatises are almost as important for the progress of science as original work. – Charles Darwin
How can we encourage researchers to educate and excite the public about their work? One way, is to get them when they’re young!
Wonderfest’s Science Envoy Program identifies PhD students who show particular science-popularization promise. We help the budding researchers to develop the subtle art and science of public outreach. The program’s participants emerge as articulate Science Envoys, appearing before live Wonderfest audiences that are eager for their insights.
Here is Wonderfest’s inaugural class (2013-14) of Science Envoys: [A new class (2017-18) is under development, now.]
To date, the Science Envoy Program has drawn on the expertise of the following teachers:
- Alex Filippenko (UC Berkeley) on becoming an engaging speaker
- Robert Siegel (Stanford) on the attributes of excellent teachers
- Eugenie Scott (NCSE) on “drive-by science” to help the press get it right
- Dan Klein (Stanford) on using the skills of improvisation to captivate audiences
- Jack Conte (Patreon) on creating Internet science videos to reach millions
- Bruce Lewenstein (Cornell) on the societal challenges of science communication
Our first year of the Science Envoy Program was superb. As we continue to help young scientists to find their public voices, Wonderfest is thrilled about the long-term impact that the Envoy program can have on science popularization. What could be better for promoting science to future generations than to augment the ranks of researchers who take science popularization seriously?