Tag Archives: science

Speak Clearly, For Science’s Sake

Science, not in plain English.
Science, not in plain English.

Even if it is rocket science, it certainly helps to be able to explain it.

Grant funding has become increasingly competitive in a world driven toward the next great innovation or discovery, so researchers are seeking to find ways to present complicated ideas in terms that are easily understandable, even to non-experts, in order to generate interest in their areas of work.

To introduce the campus community to this strategy for professional success, UT Science Communication Interest Group is hosting a contest to challenge student researchers to present complex ideas to general audiences.

Science in Plain English will test participants’ ability to distill their often obscure technical knowledge into prose that can be comprehended by non-scientists in non-academic environs. Contestants will have to rely solely on their ability to communicate verbally — there is a prohibition on props, visual presentations, audio or video — and on their talent for connecting with an audience.

Presentations will be limited to 3 minutes, with judges assessing performances on brevity, clarity, speaking style and a meticulous avoidance of jargon and/or technical terminology.

The winner will be awarded a trip to the 2017 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 16-20, in Boston. Contest winner’s registration, travel, and accommodations will be paid for, up to a maximum value of $2,500.

The contest will be held on Wednesday, October 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Activity Center Auditorium. The competition is already filled, but the contest is open to the public and audience participation will help determine the winner.

Supported in part by the Austin Radiological Association.

Hear a piece by Houston Public Media on a similar science communication competition. 

Science for Lovers

Ask Dr. Loving

Love is in the air for the spring’s entrée edition of Science Study Break.

Dr. Timothy Loving of the School of Ecology’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences observes the ups and downs of relationships in a special Valentine’s presentation of our ongoing series at the intersection of science and pop culture.

Loving will use scenes from (500) Days of Summer, Moonrise Kingdom, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Crazy, Stupid, Love, among others, to explore the dynamics of romance.

Loving’s research focuses on the relationship support process, with an emphasis on investigating the reasons for — and consequences of — romantically-involved individuals’ conversations with friends and family about the romantic relationship.

The free event takes place in the Student Activity Center Auditorium (SAC 1.402) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. Free pizza (while it lasts) for attendees.

Science Study Break is hosted by the University of Texas Libraries and supported by the University Federal Credit Union.

Ottaviani’s “Feynman” on the Tube

Ottaviani on Feynman

If you happened to have the misfortune not to be in attendance at the special installment of Science Study Break featuring Jim Ottaviani earlier this fall, well, you’re now in luck.

Comic writer Ottaviani’s extended commentary on his subject – nuclear physicist and virtuoso renaissance man Richard Feynman – that kept the crowd alternately laughing and thinking throughout the evening is now up and available for viewing on the university’s Know website, so check it out.

UPDATE: Ottaviani’s “Feynman” talk is now up on the university’s YouTube channel. Start sharing!

Study Break Returns Tonight

It’s a new semester and that means it’s a new season for the Life Science Library’s Science Study Break.

The first installment of the fall also sees our first return speaker. Physics professor Dr. Sacha Kopp will discuss the topic of particle physics as it relates to the destruction of Earth in the popular disaster film 2012.

Dr. Kopp will speak this evening (9/14) from 6-7pm in room 2.216 of the Jackson Geological Sciences Building on the East Mall.