Science Resists Communication

There’s a stark difference between how universities and other scientific institutions handle the dissemination of their knowledge. To me, universities are often like dragons sitting on top of heaps of gold in remote mountainside caves. Who would make the fucked up voyage to Smaug when down here in the meadows of the Public Domain, there are benign leprechauns throwing gold about willy-nilly? We have zoos begging us to take an interest in their research, science centres advertising Indiana Jones exhibits on billboards, museums with full-size reconstructions of dinosaurs, and all of them give us the courtesy of viewing us as customers that they need to appeal to. Meanwhile, the university dragon belches a flame from the miniscule opening to its lair like you can try, but I might crisp your fingertips.  

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What I mean is this: if you want to learn what’s going on inside a university, YOU are going to be the one who has to do the work to find out, whereas other scientific institutions try to make this process as easy as possible for the public. Universities and professors can be shockingly resistant to communicating their research with the public. As a Master’s student who loves science communication, it can be downright maddening. Continue reading

Sarah’s Must-Reads #2: The Science Stuff

This list of must-reads might seem to fall a bit on a “specialized audience” (other scientists), but I encourage you to take a peek anyways if you have an interest in science! Which is hopefully why you find yourself on this page to begin with. These are not scientific papers, but rather blog posts and articles that reflect on science as a discipline or bring scientific ideas to the public. I think this list suffers a bit of an identity crisis because it really embodies the love-hate relationship I (and most of my colleagues) have with science: some of these articles provide insights into the faintly enraging political issues of being a scientist, while others celebrate science in ways that I think we need to do more of. Enjoy!

1. Our Papers, Our Hearts – Wayne Maddison

Just a really nice short piece about how science is not all cold-hearted analytical mumbo jumbo locked in an ivory tower behind a journal access paywall. Academics fall too often into hiding behind these constructs, but here Wayne Maddison explains how behind every technically-worded scientific article, there is a human story. I love science! Continue reading

Becoming a Real Scientist & Returning to Canadiana

Hail and well met, blog readers! It’s been a while. One whole month to be precise. Which I spent working in the field collecting data for my Master’s research on weta, those crazy giant nocturnal crickets I like to think about!

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A female Wellington tree weta we extracted from a tree branch for research purposes. More photos to come!

I unfortunately was not able to keep y’all in the loop while I was doing my research on Maud Island in New Zealand because the internet connection was très limited, and thus the downloading and uploading of media items was not an option on the docket. But now that I am nestled in Vancouver airport for a casssssual 9 hour layover (shhhh let’s pretend that’s not happening right now), what better time to give a news update? Continue reading