"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". This quote is widely attributed to Albert Einstein, but regardless of its provenance, it suggests that one measure of an expert's knowledge can be found in their ability to translate complex ideas so that they are accessible to anyone. The communication of science to the public is essential for science and society. In order to increase public understanding and appreciation of science, researchers must be able to explain their results, and the wider context of their research, to non-experts. This unit will explore some theoretical foundations of science communications, identify outstanding practitioners and empower students to produce effective science communication in different media. In this unit you will learn the necessary skills and techniques to tell engaging and informative science stories in order to bring complex ideas to life, for non-expert audiences. By undertaking this unit you will develop a greater understanding of the wider context of your honours unit, advance your communication skills and be able to explain your honours research to non-expert audiences such as friends, family or future employers. These transferable skills will equip you for future research - where emphasis is increasingly placed on public communication and/or outreach - or professional pathways - where effective communication of complex ideas is highly valued.
lecture 2-3 hrs/week, workshops 1-2hrs/week
seminar/workshop attendance and completion of 'course notebook' (10%; individual), written article communicating science topic to specific audience (25%; individual), illustrating science (sound/figure/animation/diagram etc; 15%), 3 minute presentation of science topic to specific audience (25%; individual), group report (25%)
Mid-year honours students would take this unit of study in S1 (their second semester of study).
Completion of a major in a science discipline. Basic knowledge of other sciences is beneficial. Experience in communication such as delivering oral presentations and producing written reports. An awareness of science in a societal context, e.g., of disciplinary applications.
144 credit points of units of study and including a minimum of 24 credit points at the 3000- or 4000-level and 18 credit points of 3000- or 4000-level units from Science Table A.