There are several topics that deal with scientific methods and ideas that ordinary people won’t understand. So, the purpose of science communication is to transmit these ideas and methods in a more understandable manner. It doesn’t require the audiences to have any interest or educational background in science and technology. As it is pretty much required in today’s times, this field is full of opportunities.
It may involve a range of communication styles and disciplines. This field also includes the academic study of communicating science. Students who wish to make a career in science communication can consider specializing in this subject. It also draws on various disciplines in humanities and social sciences. This may involve critiques, research, and debates on different science communication models.
The need for science communication
Science communicators specialize in explaining science to the non-scientists in ways that are easy to understand. This increases the awareness of science among the common public. As a result, they enjoy or show interest in science, engineering, and technology. The methods involved in scientific communication inform and inspire the audience.
Let’s say you have an audience of young individuals who are aspiring to be scientists. To pique their interest, you might explain how science and technology has elevated people’s lifestyles over the years. A science communicator can also make something scientific understandable to a policymaker.
The origins of science communication
Although experts consider science communication to be as old as science, this field became popular in the 1930s. Its popularity has been growing every since. It is essential that science communicators understand what science is. They must know how to comprehend its complex and vast technical information.
The Science and Technology Studies contain most of the works associated with this field. All of them are in the form of academic literature. While introducing school students to science, the textbook definition of the scientific method might be enough.
However, the definition may seem quite broader when it comes to communicating science widely. Of course, there are some extremely useful resources like A.F. Chalmers’s book ‘What Is This Thing Called Science?’. Such books help the students to a great extent in understanding the scientific method.
The need for training or specialist knowledge in science communication
The individuals interested in pursuing science communication often begin with a question. It’s whether they really need specialist knowledge or training in order to learn this discipline. The shortest and the most simple answer to this question would be ‘No’.
It depends on the ability of the science communicator to explain science in a simple and effective manner. Training or education definitely helps to some extent, but it’s not a requirement. Those aspiring to become science communicators do need certain prerequisites. One of them is a university degree in science communication or a scientific discipline.
It’s quite possible for anyone to communicate science effectively with practice. This is also true in case of communication in general. What’s truly required is the willingness to learn about quantitative or technical subjects. Excellent skills in storytelling or mass communication are, of course, extremely useful for a science communicator.