Talking Science

A session featuring all-star science communicators with decades of experience brings to light (and sound) the whys and hows of public engagement.

Article ID: 676948

Released: 23-Jun-2017 8:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Acoustical Society of America (ASA)

Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., June 26, 2017 -- The art of video has proven to be truly revolutionary for informing the public about science and technology. From Sagan's "Cosmos" to Vsauce's millions of YouTube views, visual and auditory stories bring complex ideas into relatable and meaningful perspectives for wide audiences. In her 22 years working at the American Institute of Physics, Karin Heineman has been behind the camera for hundreds of such scientific stories.

By bringing a plethora of scientists into the world of media, she has garnered unique expertise in bridging the communication gap between those in and out of the lab. In her presentation, “Talking Science with Non-scientists,” Heineman, Executive producer of Inside Science TV, will share some of her experience and highlight important elements of capturing the stories of science with video.

Heineman's presentation will take place during Acoustics ’17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association being held June 25-29, in Boston, Massachusetts. It shares a session focused on the ever-vital topic of science communication with Radiolab producer Soren Wheeler and producer/director Brad Lisle from Foxfire Interactive.

“I think it’s important that scientists communicate their research to the public in a way that they can understand and is engaging, because good communication from scientists assures the public gets accurate and reliable scientific information,” Heineman said. 

Video presents multiple avenues to convey complex information more accurately and completely than other forms of media, such as text, that are more dimensionally limited. But video also features many more challenges than these other formats. 

“I’ve talked to people on the phone who sounded fantastic, but as soon as the camera went on, they froze,” Heineman said. “That can be disappointing. It’s hard to fix at that point, when the camera is already rolling, but I’ve learned that since I’m not working with live TV, having the ability to stop and start over until the person feels more comfortable is a huge help in getting a great soundbite.”

The most vital element to successful science videos, however, is not just capturing the science smoothly. Heineman focuses on capturing the underlying stories that impact, or are impacted by, the scientific concepts and discoveries.

“A lot of scientists think that their work is the greatest work of all time and the most interesting piece of research ever, and maybe it is to them, but not necessarily to the general public and everyone else. It doesn’t mean it’s not important, it’s just to say that if you don’t have the visuals and story-telling skills, it may not have an impact on your audience,” Heineman said. “It’s not just about the science alone, it’s about how to tell the story of that science effectively.”

Emotion is big part of the stories Heineman teases out from the latest findings about bat ears inspiring microphone technology, spider mechanics or robotics developments. She brings science focus back to the emotions of people impacted by its results, which can take many forms. 

One story involved interviewing the mother of a young suicide victim who was given a wrong dosage in the hospital. "She was on anti-depressants, and she was just a kid so they had different effects,” Heineman said. 

“[The video] was about hospitals having a new way to make sure medications are given correctly to patients. I’m crying, she’s crying, I can hear the camera guy crying. It was really emotional because she told me this whole story of her amazing daughter, this sweet girl, several years after her death,” said Heineman. “It was really impactful. The science and technology was not so advanced; it was basically a robot that dispensed prescriptions. But that’s the kind of science story that can have an impact on families and children.”

Acoustics ’17 will feature fascinating and valuable research across arguably one of the most interdisciplinary fields of physics, and Heineman will reveal how video, a technology only brought to its full potential by the power of sound, brings that research to those it impacts from afar. 

See one of the videos mentioned here: https://www.insidescience.org/video/shape-shifting-bat-ears-may-inspire-better-microphones-navigation

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Session 2aEDa2, "Talking science with non-scientists" by Karin Heineman, is at 10:00-11:20 a.m. EDT, Monday, June 26, 2017 in Room 304 of the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.

Session 2aEDa1, " Shouting across the chasm" by Soren Wheeler, is at 9:40-10:00 a.m. EDT, Monday, June 26, 2017 in Room 304 of the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.

Session 2aEDa3, "Communicating science 101" by Brad Lisle, is at 10:20-10:40 a.m. EDT, Monday, June 26, 2017 in Room 304 of the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.

 

-----------------------MORE MEETING INFORMATION----------------------- 

Acoustics ’17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association. 

The meeting is being held June 25-29, 2017 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts. 

USEFUL LINKS

Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/acoustics-17-boston
Technical program: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/program-acoustics-17-boston
Meeting/Hotel site: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/acoustics-17-boston#reservation
Press Room: http://acoustics.org 

WORLD WIDE PRESS ROOM

In the coming weeks, ASA’s World Wide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay-language papers, which are 300-800 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

PRESS REGISTRATION

We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact Julia Majors (jmajors@aip.org) at AIP Media, 301-209-3090. For urgent requests, please contact media@aip.org who can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information. 

LIVE MEDIA WEBCAST

A press briefing featuring will be webcast live from the conference on Monday, June 26, 2017 in the afternoon and Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in the morning in room 111 of the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Register at https://www1.webcastcanada.ca/webcast/registration/asa617.php to watch the live webcast. The schedule will be posted here as soon as it is available. 

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org

ABOUT THE EUROPEAN ACOUSTICS ASSOCIATION

The European Acoustics Association (EAA) is a non-profit entity established in 1992 that includes in its membership societies predominantly in European countries interested in to promote development and progress of acoustics in its different aspects, its technologies and applications. EAA gathers 33 societies of acoustics and serves public citizens and more than 9000 individual members all over Europe with yearly events as well as scientific conferences and publications such as Acta Acustica united with Acustica and Acoustics in Practice. The European Acoustics Association (EAA) is an Affiliate Member of the International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) and of Initiative of Science in Europe ISE. Visit our website at https://euracoustics.org/

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