Surviving the World

A Photocomic Education by Dante Shepherd

Lesson #1133 - Making Science Accessible and Interesting

Yes, I'm being facetious. I think the actual answer is pretty obvious - we just need to do a better job teaching it.

I've often heard the phrase 'ambassadors for science', as if scientists or science-minded people are just supposed to represent scientific issues/concerns when among non-scientists. I think this is one of the dumbest phrases scientists have ever let themselves be associated with - because it represents the idea that scientists can separate themselves from the rest of the world with their work, and just assume the bridge behind them to the rest of society remains strong if they're not making sure to bring people across that bridge to show them how awesome their work is. Scientists aren't ambassadors; that's a passive role that doesn't benefit any scientific interests.

Scientists should always be educators - stop and explain what you're doing to others, set off their senses of awe, get them to understand why you're doing what you're doing. Everything you're doing is pretty awesome on some level; it shouldn't be that hard for someone else to get at least a little excited by what you're doing. Making it so the divide between you and everyone else is large only kills that potential.

And if you're a scientist and you don't know how to explain your work in twenty-five words or less to anyone? Learn how to, goddamnit.