If you’ve ever wondered exactly how you could use the information learned in Science 300, it might be a good idea to set your sights on the future of science communications – which happens to include some scientific stardom.
Described as American Idol meets TEDx, FameLab is an energetic, informative competition with a clear purpose that students of SCIE 300 have heard before: to encourage effective communication of scientific knowledge for both public and academic benefit. This competition features early-career scientists who have signed up to give a short speech on their work, and must respond to a question session in front of an audience of scientists and non-scientists alike.
The topic of this year’s FameLab, sponsored by National Geographic and NASA, is “Exploring Earth and Beyond.” Several preliminary rounds have already taken place, and the American finals will be held in Washington, DC, in April. The scientist who most successfully communicates their work will move on to the international stage at the FameLab finals in the United Kingdom.
Aside from giving scientific celebrity status to the winners, the results of FameLab are widespread, and will hopefully impact the scientific community in the future. FameLab recognizes the significance of being able to purvey a fascinating scientific accomplishment, whether that’s a ground-breaking discovery or a cutting-edge piece of technology. These accomplishments have the potential to increase quality of life, so there is an underlying moral requirement for new science to be conveyed in a coherent way.
The trickle-down effect of good scientific communication is also relevant. Because every aspect of society relies on science, it is imperative that policy makers and government leaders are well-informed about new science. In this way, scientific knowledge can be shared on national and international levels.
At the end of the competition day, though, it’s all about content, clarity, and charisma. The scientists who perform best are those who deliver their message in an understandable way, yet infuse their speech with their passion and inspire the audience to learn about science. The video below is one such example of a high-placing FameLab competitor.
With the international finals approaching, make sure to keep an eye on the progress of the competition. Hopefully, a glimpse of what’s beyond Science 300 will re-emphasize the importance of successful science communication – or better yet, maybe FameLab will one day recognize a fellow student as a leading communicator of science.