In Melissa Marshall’s TED Talk, “Talk Nerdy to Me,” she discusses the need for communication skills in the science community.
“We desperately need great communication from our scientists and engineers in order to change the world. Our scientists and engineers are the ones that are tackling our grandest challenges, from energy to environment to health care, among others, and if we don’t know about it and understand it, then the work isn’t done, and I believe it’s our responsibility as non-scientists to have these interactions,” she states during her presentation. The main issue with scientists attempting to communicate their research to a broader audience is that they are used to communicating with other scientists about their findings. Rather than explaining the relevancy of a study and focusing on the big picture, scientists use jargon to try and explain the nuances of their research. This creates mistrust from the public toward science, as they not only don’t understand what the scientist is trying to explain, but the research can go against their intuition or prior beliefs.
In order to break down the barriers between media, the public and scientists, information needs to be made accessible, simple and relevant. Bill Nye (a.k.a. Bill Nye the Science Guy), is coming out with a new TV show that is doing just that. The well-known author, engineer, and T.V. show host is planning to launch a new show on Netflix with the intention of exposing scientific facts in a fun and comprehensible way. “In a statement, Netflix said, ‘Each episode will tackle a topic from a scientific point of view, dispelling myths, and refuting antiscientific claims that may be espoused by politicians, religious leaders or titans of industry.'”
The show will cover topics such as climate change, technology and alternative medicines with help from a panel of experts, celebrity guests and comedy bits. While the show has been in the works since August 2016, it couldn’t have been released at a better time. Donald Trump and his administration’s complete disregard for the environment allows the public to continue feeding into their prejudices and ignore the issues at hand. The idea of alternative facts is dangerous, especially at a time when they can be so quickly spread through the use of social media. Nye’s new show is unique and hopefully will provide other scientists with inspiration to make their research relatable to the general public during a time of skepticism with the scientific community.