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Upcoming Events

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Past Events

Steven Franconeri — Now They See It: Visual Communication of the Patterns in Your Data

October 10, 2018

Within a well-designed graph or data visualization, the eyes can be a powerful tool for understanding patterns in data. But within a poorly-designed depiction of the same data, the same tasks can be inefficient, or even overwhelming. This workshop will combine an overview of data visualization techniques with hands-on exercises to illustrate how to clearly present your data to both your research colleagues and to non-technical audiences.

Steven Franconeri is a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern, and Director of the Northwestern Cognitive Science Program. His research is on visual thinking, visual communication, and the psychology of data visualization. He directs the Visual Thinking Laboratory, where a team of researchers explore the power and limits of your visual system, and how better design and pedagogy can help students and scientists understand and use visual representations across paper, screens, and their imagination.

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Dario Robleto — The Art of Scientific Storytelling

May 16, 2018

We live in a time when the arts and sciences are generally understood to operate in different domains of knowledge production, each using different tools in their search for truth. The now cliched divisions between the fields–emotion vs. intellect, the heart vs. the brain–are tidy illusions, which should be vigorously challenged. What is the value of re-establishing this connection and how can the two fields grow from the interaction? More specifically, how can art’s sensitivity to the personal and emotional dimensions of human experience better illuminate the same experiences at the heart of all scientific investigation? Artist Dario Robleto will share the deep connections between art and science through his creative research methods, narrative storytelling and exploration of material science and sculpture.

Dario Robleto is a transdisciplinary artist, citizen-scientist, researcher, writer and teacher based in Houston, Texas. Robleto has been a visiting artist and lecturer at many universities and institutions including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. Currently, he is serving as Artist-at-Large at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and the Block Museum of Art.

Dominique Brossard — Science and Fake News: Communicating Science in an Era of Post-Truth

The rise of fake news has dominated the world of politics since the last U.S. election cycle. But fake news is not at all new in the world of science. What has changed now is social media and the potential to disseminate this kind of news much faster among social networks. So how should science respond to fake news? What are the insights provided by science communication research that can help us address the fake news phenomena in this brave new world of science communication?

Dominique Brossard is professor and chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an affiliate of the UW-Madison Robert & Jean Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, the UW-Madison Center for Global Studies and the Morgridge Institute for Research. Her teaching responsibilities include courses in strategic communication theory and research, with a focus on science and risk communication. Brossard’s research agenda focuses on the intersection between science, media and policy with the Science, Media and the Public (SCIMEP) research group, which she co-directs.

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Jean-Luc Doumont — Making the Most of Your Presentation

October 13, 2017

Strong presentation skills are a key to success for engineers, scientists, and others, yet many speakers are at a loss to tackle the task. Systematic as they otherwise can be in their work, they go at it intuitively or haphazardly, with much good will but seldom good results. In this talk, Dr Doumont proposes a systematic way to prepare and deliver an oral presentation: he covers structure, slides, and delivery, as well as stage fright.

Raychelle Burks — SciPop Adventures

May 31, 2017

Are you a chemist that loves to play the game of thrones? A physicist trekking through the stars? A biologist that enjoys shambling along with the walking dead? The intersection of pop culture and science offers us opportunities communicate within both our areas of scientific expertise and our fandoms. This intersection also allows for authentic communication and a mutually beneficial dialogue. This talk will lead attendees on a campaign to explore the pop culture – science landscape and design their own communication adventure!

Liz Neely — Science, Sense-making, and Storytelling

November 15, 2016

For public audiences, stories are typically more interesting, understandable, convincing, and memorable than evidence-focused communications. It is precisely because of these strengths that scientists should use them, but also why they must be approached carefully, with intellectual honesty and ethical consideration. This talk will explore research on storytelling and narrative persuasion, highlight the value of personal stories in science, and critically consider how something like “narrative competency” might be conceptualized, taught, and employed in science communication.

Dietram Scheufele — The Brave New World of (Science) Communication

April 7, 2016

It is easier than ever before to get information on any (scientific) topic with just a few keystrokes. At the same time, politically divided news environments on television and online have created a world that allows us to live in our own filter bubbles in which the same scientific information means very different things to different audiences. What are the effects of these new news environments on our democracy? Why are we as a country less equipped than ever to debate controversial issues with each other in a civil fashion? This talk will explore what the latest research tells us about causes and possible solutions.

Charlie Meyerson — So You Want to be a Podcaster. How Will You Get People to Listen?

March 29, 2016

Award-winning radio and Internet news veteran Charlie Meyerson (WXRT, WBEZ, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business; adjunct at Northwestern, Roosevelt University and Columbia College) has been fighting tuneout his entire career. Now that everyone’s competition — whether you’re peddling news or shoes — is a click away, that mindset is more important than ever. He’ll share real-world data demonstrating just how hard it is to get and keep an audience’s attention, and he’ll share tips to keep that audience around — whether you’re writing an essay or launching a podcast.

Julia A. Moore — Beyond Politics: Engaging Congress

March 7, 2016

After a vitriolic anti-science and anti-evidence national election, Republicans control The White House and Congress. What’s the impact on the roughly $140 billion federal research and development budget—a figure down in constant dollars from $160 billion in 2010? How does it change the way scientists and engineers reach out and communicate with lawmakers? With Northwestern receiving more than 70 percent of its research funding from federal sources, this talk will explore ways to engage government officials as well as those who influence them. Former National Science Foundation Legislative & Public Affairs Director Julia Moore has over 30 years’ experience in science communications and advocacy.

Julia Moore’s career is focused on strategic science and technology policy and communication issues. During 2009-2015, she served in several positions at The Pew Charitable Trusts—including Senior Officer, Emerging Issues, Government Performance, and Director, Research & Outreach, Pew Health Group. Prior to joining the Trusts, Moore worked as Deputy Director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies—a joint initiative of Pew and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Moore is a past Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, former Vice President of Communications at World Wildlife Fund, and past Deputy Director of the Arms Control Association at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is a former Dean & Virginia Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. For 10 years, Moore served in Washington, D.C. and overseas with the U.S. Department of State working on international arms control and security issues.