I was so excited to see that Alan Alda was coming to Vermont and made plans to attend his lecture. Unfortunately I had to reschedule my trip home and was disappointed that I would miss his talk. ;-(
Reading through coverage of his recent talk on WCAX-TV's Science Sunday, I really appreciated his advice about communicating SCIENCE to those not trained in science.
"Well that's the point. If you're talking to somebody or to an audience that you know is probably not trained in science, you have to bring them up to speed in some way so they understand what you're talking about. But one of the mistakes we often make is that we say too much. Sometimes we don't start early enough and sometimes we go on too long. And you can cram somebody's head so full of stuff that they can't really sort out what you just told them. So you have got to go step by step appropriate to the people you're talking to. Which is why it's so important to understand what's going on in their heads. Who are they, where are they in their understanding when they come in, and what can you take them to next."
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I felt it spoke to my struggle to bridge the knowledge gap I have with science, which I feel is not so different from the gap that many female's have. I'm not saying that we should assume that all girls don't understand science. There are plenty of young women who have a great understanding of science and plenty of young men who lack science understanding. Alan's point is that it's important to understand what's going on in the heads of the people you are talking to. "Who are they? Where are they in their understanding when they come in, and what can you take them to next.?"
Perhaps its my experience (or should I say lack of experience) in that field that makes me tune into the question "How do not leave behind half of the population" as we move forward at the speed of innovation?
This is part of what this blog is about... asking this question and reflecting on the question and thinking out loud.