During Anna Salleh’s interview for her ABC Science on-line article, “Australia’s science budget ‘uninspiring’”, (see http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/05/11/3213833.htm) she asked me to give her a one-liner about why science communication is important.
I’m not usually short of a word but I stumbled over this. I started to regret that I gave up trying to craft a killer quote the night before the interview. Anna deflected my first answer that ‘science communicators make science accessible to various audiences’. That’s what we do, in broad terms, but not why we do it.
I then struggled through a clunky response which she reported as “If the government wants an informed public, an engaged public in science and technology issues that affect us all then we need a mechanism for the public to be informed and one of those mechanisms is effective science communication.”
Hours later I came up with a different take accompanied by a reality check in a second paragraph.
“Effective communication of science gives people accurate information upon which to base decisions. By making science accessible, science communicators help counter the misinformation and misconceptions which clutter public debate.”
“But few people base their decision making on just being presented with good science. The communicator’s message must have meaning, be useful and acknowledge the needs, aspirations and concerns of each intended audience.”
I put the question to you. Can you state in a short and memorable way ‘why science communication is important’?