Popular Science Writing Course

Subject course
Matteo Bianchi, Diego Cortese
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology (IMBIM)
BMC, Husargatan 3, entrance C7
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Box 582, SE -751 23, Uppsala
2016-04-07, 2016-05-02, 2016-05-31, 2016-06-16, 2016-07-07, 2016-08-26, 2016-09-09, 2016-09-23, 2016-10-07 Please note that dates could be flexible according to anyone's needs and schedules
To be announced

The gap between scientists and regular people is notable, not only because of different expertise, daily activities and overall jobs conditions, but also because these two entities sometimes lack in reciprocal and effective communication and understanding. Whether in academia or not, today’s PhD students will eventually be the most trustworthy science ambassadors in the society, which needs to be fed with scientific knowledge in a simple, unbiased, competent and reliable way. Besides informing society about science, being able to effectively communicate science is of pivotal importance, especially in academia, for raising funding, which is fundamental for every scientist’s work advancement.

Build and develop specific skills such as the capabilities of framing complicated information in simple written words and of efficiently conveying distinguished scientific messages, in order to fulfill the above-mentioned motivation. This course also represents a pilot activity to evaluate and consider the potential establishment of a permanent postgraduate course on the same topic in the future.

The students and the course leaders (in turn) will meet once/twice a month. Each course session will last two hours. During each session a preset number of students (two or three) will present their written texts, followed by a discussion. At the end of the course, each student is expected to have presented his/her work twice.

The students will independently pick and read a recently published scientific article related to life science, medicine, etc. The articles’ content and topic depend on personal interests and expertise of the students. Regardless the topic, students have to pick articles both from their own published work and from other researchers scientific production.
The students will summarize the article in layman terms. The layman style should match the one used in popular science websites or magazines (e.g. ScienceDaily.com, news.sciencemag.org, etc.). More specifically, the writing style should fit readers not working in science but with scientific ground knowledge.
During each course session, a defined number of students (based on the total number of participants) will present their written text and will comment on that. A discussion between the presenter, the course leader and the other students will then follow.

The course will start with a kick off meeting during which an expert in the field will give an introduction.

The course participants have to be enrolled as PhD students at the Medical Faculty and they should have completed the compulsory course “Introduction to Scientific Research”.

80% attendance, active participation in the presentation-discussion.

"Am I Making Myself Clear? : A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Public", by Cornelia Dean (Harvard University Press, 2009)

Jennifer Meadows (jennifer.meadows@imbim.uu.se);
Per Jemth (per.jemth@imbim.uu.se);
Frank Roche (frank.roche@igp.uu.se);
Miguel Sainz Jaspeado (miguel.sainz@igp.uu.se).


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