October 2012

From the lab to the kitchen table: communicating science to a lay audience

Public Policy and Science Outreach

Public Outreach and Science Communication Events & Workshops
From the Lab to the Kitchen Table
Science Cafés: The New Social Network
“What is a Germ?” Challenge
Science Outreach Posters

For more details, go to the ASBMB Meeting 2013 program page and click to expland “Public Policy and Science Outreach.”

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Outreach Committee makes its debut at Experimental Biology 2013 with a wide array of formal and informal session activities designed to get you fired up about taking your science out of the lab and into the streets!

Outreach buffet
Outreach can come in a wide variety of flavors. Come get a taste during our interactive roundtable session, “From the Lab to the Kitchen Table — Communicating Science to a Lay Audience,” at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, in Boston.

Daniella Scalice of the NASA Astrobiology Institute will discuss FameLab, the revolutionary science-communication competition, while Ann Merchant of the National Academy of Sciences will demonstrate how the Science and Entertainment Exchange works with Hollywood to get accurate science into movies and television shows.

If working at the grass-roots level is more your thing, take some time to talk with Cambridge Science Festival Director P.A. D’Arbeloff about Science on the Streets, or find Morgan Thompson of Harvard University, who will convey her experience running Science in the News, a student-run outreach group at Harvard.

For those who want to get your institutions involved with outreach, Hannah Alexander of the University of Missouri and Jon Dattelbaum of the University of Richmond will describe how outreach is incorporated into the courses they teach at their respective universities, and Tom Baldwin will share how he organized a public lecture series at University of California, Riverside.

Outreach and you
Do you have an outreach program that you would like to showcase for your ASBMB colleagues? Submit an abstract for our poster session, to be held during the Experimental Biology 2013 opening reception on the evening of Saturday, April 20, and take advantage of this special opportunity to share your activity with an energetic audience. Check out our abstract topic categories online.

Science cafés: the new social network
As the EB2012 Tweet and Meet demonstrated, events at science conferences are way better with beer. For EB2013, we will still have the beer, but we are changing the format: In conjunction with the team at sciencecafes.org, we will be hosting “Science Cafés: The New Social Network,” a special, two-part science café for EB attendees on the evening of Monday, April 22.

For those of you who don't know, science cafés represent a rapidly growing, informal science-education activity, with more than 250 versions spread across 48 states and the District of Columbia. Cafés are typically held at local establishments (for example, bars, coffee houses or restaurants) on a regular basis (like the third Tuesday of every month), with scientists invited to participate in interactive discussions on their areas of expertise with crowds of dedicated followers and interested bystanders.

For our event at EB2013, we will start by having the team from NOVA ScienceNow present a how-to session that explains how to set up and run your own science café. Immediately following, we will host an actual science café! See what it is like to be part of the hottest trend in science outreach. Come, ask questions, learn a little something (and, of course, have some beer).

‘What is a Germ?’ Challenge
The annual meeting isn’t ’til April. Why wait that long to get involved? Try out your outreach and communication skills right away! We are inviting ASBMB members to become part of the 2013 “What is a Germ?” Challenge.

This activity, co-sponsored by the Cambridge Science Festival and inspired by Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge, invites ASBMB members to use any platform to submit their best explanation for answering the question “What is a germ?”

We want you to frame your response so that an elementary school student can understand it. Why? Because they are the ones who will be judging you! Schools from the greater Boston area will be grading the entries and letting our participants know which ones they like best. The best part: Finalists will be invited to present their submissions before a live audience during the 2013 Cambridge Science Festival’s Curiosity Challenge on Sunday, April 21.

Our website goes live in November, so get your entry ready. Step up to the challenge!


Photo of Geoff HuntGeoff Hunt (ghunt@asbmb.org) is the public outreach coordinator for ASBMB.

ASBMB annual meeting grassy knoll graphic
found= true1995