Scientific American and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University will launch a free, five-episode, online series aimed at helping scientists and engineers write blogs and op-eds for magazines, newspapers and other news outlets. Presented in partnership with The Kavli Foundation, this live-streamed series will be launched by actor and science communication advocate Alan Alda, and Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina. Alda will share his personal successes using improvisational theater exercises to build empathy and connection, while DiChristina will shed light on the kind of stories Scientific American readers are craving. This first special live-streamed event will air on Friday, October 13, 2017 at 4:30pm ET, and can be watched via live stream on Facebook (@Scientific American). For information on the full series, please visit www.aldacenter.org.
"When we help scientists to be more open, they begin to talk about their work in a deeply personal way. And people want to hear the personal stories behind the research. What happened in those difficult moments in the small hours of the morning? That's the part we can connect to," said Alan Alda, founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. "Our Alda Center team is excited to partner with Scientific American to develop a writing series that will produce a new cohort of excellent science storytellers. I can't wait to see what they come up with."
“Science is a global enterprise, with an ambition—and ability—to address some of humanity’s most challenging problems,” said Scientific American Editor in Chief, Mariette DiChristina. “Scientific American, with more than 170 years of authoritative coverage about the progress of science often authored by the researchers themselves, is delighted to partner with the Alda Center and Kavli on this initiative to support scientists and science communication.”
Future confirmed speakers will include: Claudia Dreifus, columnist for The New York Times, and professor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Curtis Brainard, Scientific American Digital Content Manager; Michael Lemonick, Scientific American opinion editor and former senior science writer at Time; Matthew Nesbit, Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University; and Ben Lillie, Co-founder and Director of Special Projects at The Story Collider. This online series will be a companion to a 10-week private workshop for a dozen scientists. Led by Jennifer Albanese, a writing instructor for the Alda Center at Stony Brook University, and Claudia Wallis, former editor of Scientific American Mind, 12 scientists will receive special instruction aimed at creating blog entries for Scientific American, with another 12 to receive similar instruction early next year. Almost 600 scientists competed for this special workshop. The scientists for fall 2017 are varied in scientific discipline, gender and geography, and come from the U.S., United Kingdom and Spain. They also come from a broad range of institutions, including Harvard University, IBM Research, University of Caterbury (New Zealand), North Carolina Zoo, and Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (Spain).
“Promoting public understanding of science is central to the mission of The Kavli Foundation,” said Robert Conn, President and CEO. “Scientific American has been a leader in helping the public understand and appreciate science for well over a century. Alan Alda is a star who is trusted by the public, and he has a deep passion about communications and science. This passion is reflected in the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. We are simply delighted to join these two great organizations as they work to help scientists become the best communicators to the public of their own scientific work.”
About the Partners
Scientific American – Scientific American is the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S., and has been bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology for more than 170 years. The award-winning authoritative source for the science discoveries and technology innovations that matter, more than 150 Nobel laureates have written for Scientific American. It publishes in 14 local language editions and is read in more than 30 countries. Scientific American has 3.5 million print and tablet readers worldwide, 7.5 million global online unique visitors monthly, and a social media reach of 3.5+ million. Scientific American is published by Springer Nature, a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, home to an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services.
Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University – Established by renowned actor, writer, director and communication pioneer Alan Alda, the Alda Center is leading the way to develop new and effective methods for training scientists to tell their stories and engage the public, policy makers, funders and others outside their own disciplines. Over 10,000 scientists around the world have been trained by the Center’s instructional team. The Alda Method™ is grounded in improvisational theater, which inspires authenticity, connection and spontaneity rather than prescribed body language and tone of voice.
The Kavli Foundation – Established in 2000, The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work. The Foundation's mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, symposia and other initiatives in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience and theoretical physics. The Foundation also supports programs aimed at empowering the communication of science to the public, including the online Alda-Kavli Learning Center for Science Communication. It is also a founding partner of the international Kavli Prizes.