Communicating Science Changing "Blahs" to "Ahhs"


By Uyanga Bazaa
Winter 2008

Reporters don’t always know enough to ask the right question,” said Roger Martin, former Science Commentator at Kansas Public Radio during the communication workshop last August at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS). More than 20 students with majors ranging from science to engineering attended the workshop to learn how to work with media. Preparing students at CReSIS for better communication is important since their research is directly related to climate change and global warming. “What you are doing is great and exciting. But you have got to communicate with people out there to let them know what interesting project you are working on and why it matters,” said Rex Buchanan, Associate Director for Outreach at the Kansas Geological Survey, another speaker of the workshop. Claudia Bode, Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, believes it is important that scientists work with media and develop their communication skills to make a dent in public ignorance, to win public support, and to turn kids on to science. At the end of the workshop each student presented some aspect of the research in which they are involved. “Radars are like a very active human body. They have antennas, which send signals through the ice sheets and receive the electrons, which can be compared to blood in the human body. Digitizers in the radar are like the brain, storing the data for later interpretation,” said Natalia Galin, visiting researcher from Australia.