Engaging the public with your research
A few decades ago, very few scientists popped out of their ivory towers to tell the world at large what they were doing. People who did risked being looked down on as trivialisers of their precious specialism. Now the tide has turned, and hitting the headlines with your latest discovery or appearing on late night chat shows is all the rage.
A major driver of this change is that funding bodies such as NERC require you to communicate your findings to a wide audience. And a large chunk of the public seems to be interested - opinion surveys show that about 80 per cent of British adults are moderately or very interested in new scientific discoveries. Public interest in recent issues with a strong scientific background - climate change, bird flu, risks associated with genetically modified organisms - underline this point.
This publication looks at how to tell the non-specialist about your research.