What is Science Communication?

I’m often asked, “What is Science Communication?”

Wikipedia says that, “Science communication generally refers to public communication presenting science-related topics to non-experts. This often involves professional scientists (called “outreach” or “popularization”), but has also evolved into a professional field in its own right.”

But I wanted to look further than that for an explanation…

Rod Lamberts offers a great insight into the matter, stating that, “Science communication is an extremely broad field. The breadth of focus … is vast, and those at one end of the science communication continuum may only barely understand what those at the other end do…. some may even disagree that others are ‘doing’ science communication at all.

In the same article, Rod explains three levels of Science Communicators, informed by an article on public intellectuals from Alan Wightman:

Level I: Speaking and writing for the public exclusively about your discipline….
Level II: Speaking and writing about your discipline and how it relates to the social, cultural, and political world around it….
Level III: By invitation only. The intellectual has become elevated to a symbol, a person that stands for something far larger than the discipline from which he or she originated….

For me and many others, Level III is for the likes of Albert Einstein, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye. This level of science communicator has earned a place in popular culture through their outstanding achievements.

For me, Level I is a great place to start as a science communicator. I enjoy speaking about and explaining the things that I find fascinating, but only had access to since I got a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Many of the things I’ve learned about aerospace engineering don’t exist in the secret center of an equation, they simply have not yet been explained to the public in a compelling way. So that’s what I aim to do.