POSTPONED! Course: On the Shores of Science: Theory and Practice of Science Communication July 17 - August 18, 2017

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POSTPONED:”Due to happy news, the Science Communication class that Dr. Nelida Pohl and I were going to co-teach between the 17th of July and the 18th of August of 2017 at Friday Harbor Laboratories has been postponed. The happy news is that Nelida is pregnant, and the baby is due in August what makes the travelling to the US imposible. So, in conjuction to FHL we decided to postpone the class last january, and we hope to be able to teach it in FHL during 2018. Stay tunned! “

Science Communication
On the Shores of Science: Theory and Practice of Science Communication

Friday Harbor Laboratories, FHL 578, (9 credits) Session B: July 17 – August 18, 2017 (5 weeks)

Monday-Saturday (Mon-Fri 8:30 am-5 pm, plus Sat morning 8:30 am-noon, except final week no Saturday meeting)
Students should arrive Sunday, July 16 after 3 pm, and depart Friday, Aug. 18 after lunch.

Dr. Nélida Pohl
Universidad de Chile
Science Outreach Adviser, 6 Senses
Millenium Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity

Dr. Fernanda Oyarzún
Associate Researcher, science communicator and artist
Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Facultad de Ciencias & CIBAS
Universidad de Los Lagos, Centro i~mar


This course is directed to post baccalaureates, graduate students, and young (and young-in-spirit) scientists and professionals from diverse backgrounds who are interested in working at the interphase between scientific research and the rest of society. This course will provide hands-on experience with science communication by immersion in one of the most important marine laboratories of the United States. We will explore diverse relevant topics, such as the social context of science in the 21st century, principles of communication including science communication, written journalism, data visualization, scientific illustration, info graphics, photography, museum studies, as well as web and radio. Students will learn how to effectively translate scientific research for different lay audiences by exploring an array of topics on which Friday Harbor Laboratories is leader: from climate change, to ecological monitoring, ocean acidification, GFP, orca whale research, evolution, cell dynamics, evo-devo, biomechanics and more.


Learning Objectives:
– Discuss the practice and methods of science
– Examine the place of science in modern society
– Introduce students to the principles of communication and of science communication
– Understand the requirements for communicating with different audiences
– Introduce the principles of journalistic practice
– Introduce principles of visual communication of scientific information (data, scientific illustration and info graphics
– Develop basic abilities in photography
– Develop basic radio communication abilities
– Develop basic abilities working with social media and the web
– Examine the multiple connections between science and art (from crafts to fine arts)
– Develop basic abilities for developing museum exhibitions
– Present some basic software and other tools of science communication
– Develop skills to pitch ideas

Course dynamics: Daily lectures, field trips, papers presentations and discussions will complement group and individual projects that students will be developing each week. Each week we will be covering specific topics on science communication (written, visual, radio, etc) based on relevant scientific issues (climate change, teaching of evolution, ocean acidification, monitoring and ecological research, studies of neuroscience with marine organisms, seastar larvae cloning as a defense mechanism, sea star disease in the West Coast of the US, orca whale conservation, the origin of chordates, etc). Students will work on a bigger final project on science communication on a topic inspired on FHL research to present at end of the course.

The role of the scientific communicator is to broker successful exchanges between science and its practitioners with the rest of the society that harbors them, including a variety of audiences, such as schoolchildren, teachers, politicians, entrepreneurs, senior citizens and voters, among many others. Having a basic understanding of how science and technology work together will enrich the ethical, political, financial, health-related, and environmental decisions these audiences can make. Ocean sciences, marine ecology and conservation, evolution and development —among the many lines of research developed at Friday Harbor Laboratories— are extremely relevant to the development of sustainable societies. The aim of this course is to immerse students in a privileged scientific and natural environment to provide basic theoretical and practical tools to fledging science communicators, from scientists, journalists, teachers, artists, performers, among others, to encourage them to establish dialogues that help build an informed and responsible citizenry.

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. No textbook is required for this course.