What are scientists passionate about? What do they actually do, and why does it matter? Answering questions like these is often part of public outreach efforts that, through demystifying the world of science for non-scientists, can increase appreciation for science and boost support for important research initiatives. Outreach can also make the sciences attractive and accessible to a broader diversity of people, who, in turn, can bring new ideas and perspectives.
“Science is having challenges in terms of getting the general public to support it and to understand its value, and outreach is one of the best ways by which we can change the dialogue and make progress,” said José Dinneny, an associate professor of biology at Stanford University.
Concerned that scientists and non-scientists are growing farther apart, Dinneny and collaborators at several institutions have put together a white paper, published April 14 in Plant Direct, outlining the challenges of scientific outreach and how to improve it. Ying Sun, a co-author of the paper and former graduate student in the Dinneny lab, disusses the realities of what it takes to produce effective science outreach.
Stanford plant biologist José Dinneny (right) with Ying Sun, his former graduate student. (Image credit: José Dinneny)