Tag Archives: #SciCommChall

Interview on #scicommchall! (in german)

I recently gave an interview on my current pet project, #scicommchall. The interview was done by Anne Weißschädel, and published on THE German website on science communication research and practice, wissenschaftskommunikation.de. Quite an honor!

I’m reprinting it here with permission:

Frau Gleßmer, für die #SciCommChall stellen Sie jeden Monat eine neue Herausforderung an Forschende, die ihre Wissenschaft kommunizieren möchten. Was ist Ihr Ziel für das Projekt?

Heutzutage müssen beinahe alle Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler in irgendeiner Form Wissenschaftskommunikation machen. Viele müssen daran aber erst herangeführt werden und es ist ihnen gar nicht bewusst, dass sie nicht von vorneherein auf ein bestimmtes Format oder eine bestimmte Zielgruppe festgelegt sind. Die #SciCommChall gibt einen niedrigschwelligen und spielerischen Impuls, jeden Monat ein neues Format auszuprobieren: Mein Forschungsthema in einem Bild oder meine Forschung in den 1.000 meist genutzten Wörtern. So kann man einerseits ein Format ausprobieren, auf das man vielleicht selbst nicht gekommen wäre und andererseits sehen, wie andere das Format interpretieren. Ich möchte damit spielerisch zum Austausch und Austesten anregen.

Wie sind Sie auf die Idee gekommen?

Ich habe als Ozeanografin schon früher Wissenschaftskommunikation gemacht. Dabei habe ich gemerkt, dass es Spaß macht, ab und zu mal ein neues Format auszuprobieren. Mit einem vollen Terminkalender macht man das aber nicht einfach so, ohne Anlass oder Deadline. Also habe ich mir selbst am Anfang jedes Monats ein Ziel gesetzt – zum Beispiel ein Gedicht über meine Forschung zu schreiben. Nach und nach wurden dann Freundinnen und Freunde und auch das Kollegium darauf aufmerksam und wollten mitmachen. Außerdem habe ich die Promovierenden am Kiel Science Outreach Campus (KiSOC) motiviert, sich zu beteiligen. So wächst das Netzwerk langsam. Wir freuen uns über jede und jeden, die mitmachen möchte: Einfach unseren Blog besuchen, eine E-Mail schicken oder @scicommchall auf Twitter oder Facebook folgen!

Wer macht mit und wie viele?

Das ist schwierig zu sagen, das Format ist ja noch neu und im Wachstum. Ich kriege nur mit, wenn Leute tatsächlich Produkte einreichen oder Feedback geben. Ich nehme an, dass es zusätzlich einige gibt, die sich einfach inspirieren lassen und dann vielleicht doch nichts einreichen. Unter den Einreichenden sind auch jeden Monat andere Leute. Zuerst habe ich mich stark darauf fokussiert, unsere Promovierenden zu motivieren und das Projekt dann nach und nach geöffnet.

Warum finden Sie es wichtig, dass die Promovierenden ihre Forschung kommunizieren?

Wissenschaftskommunikation ist ein Thema, das uns im KiSOC speziell am Herzen liegt. Nicht nur, weil es unser eigener Forschungsgegenstand ist, sondern auch, weil wir die Praxis verbessern und gerne mit gutem Beispiel vorangehen möchten. Pro Wissenschaftskommunikation gelten natürlich die typischen Argumente, etwa, dass wir mit öffentlichen Mitteln finanziert werden und dass gesellschaftliche Unterstützung und Teilhabe an der Forschung wünschenswert sind. Außerdem glaube ich, dass es auch der Forschung zu Gute kommt, wenn die Leute schon während der Promotion Wissenschaftskommunikation machen. Da bekommt man einen ganz anderen Blick auf das Feld. Abgesehen davon, dass es natürlich auch motiviert, wenn man Feedback von außen für seine Arbeit bekommt, und dass es Spaß bringt.

Wie ist die Resonanz aus der Community der Wissenschaftskommunikation?

Bisher gibt es nur vereinzeltes Feedback. Eine tolle Rückmeldung kam aber zum Beispiel von Sam Illingworth. Er arbeitet in Großbritannien und hat viel im Bereich Wissenschaftsgedichte gemacht. Als er dann bei uns angefragt hat, ob er eine Monatsaufgabe stellen darf, war das natürlich ein tolles Feedback. Die Oktoberchallenge kommt dann von ihm.

Haben Sie am KiSOC noch weitere Motivationsprojekte zur Wissenschaftskommunikation neben der #SciCommChall?

Ja, der Großteil unserer Promovierenden hat Instagram-Accounts, in denen es darum geht, den persönlichen Alltag in der Forschung darzustellen, und deren Highlights sammeln wir auf dem Account @kisoc_kiel. Dabei stellen wir beispielsweise vor, was wir inhaltlich machen und welche Methoden wir dafür anwenden. Das ist für uns intern ein wichtiges Projekt. Zwar haben wir noch nicht besonders viele Follower, aber wir haben es zum Beispiel geschafft, dass sich auch andere Kolleginnen und Kollegen am IPN, darunter auch eine Professorin, eigene Instagram-Accounts zugelegt haben und jetzt aktiv online Wissenschaftskommunikation machen. Der Impact ist also auf institutioneller Ebene da und wir stehen auch mit anderen Leibniz-Zentren in Kontakt, die uns einladen, um sie zu beraten. Wir erreichen so also unser eigenes Netzwerk und das ist für uns erfolgreich.

My March on Instagram

My private #SciCommChall for March was to start a science communication Instagram account, fascinocean_kiel. I had a pretty clear idea of where I wanted to go with this account:

  • The target group are people who live close to Kiel fjord who I want to talk to about oceanographic phenomena you can spot when walking along Kiel fjord
  • For that, I wanted to post daily pictures of whatever is going on that day, plus short explanations in German
  • I wanted to do this as a proof of concept, to get an idea of the amount of work involved, and to get a feel for how many people you can reach organically with this kind of content; basically to build my portfolio as a science communicator.

This post is for all of you who are curious about

a) how that has been going (I will reflect on that below); or

b) what I have actually done on Instagram, since you don’t actually use the app.

So here we go! :-)

a) How Instagram is working for me (or, at least, the first couple of weeks)

My first impression after four weeks on Instagram: It’s fun! I thought it would be less work than writing a blogpost, but it’s actually not, it is just different. I have to take and select pictures a lot more carefully, crop them, sometimes put a filter on or something (except the green lakes — those were 100% real!), but now I have to think about relevant hashtags so people can find my posts…

And social media are really that, social. Through Instagram, I have connected with a lot of people who I only met through Instagram: On my very first day actively posting on Instagram, I have received an invitation to visit something really cool (will let you know when it’s not a big secret any more). Then, several people who I didn’t know before, messaged me to tell me they liked my “feed”. And then I got recommended for an interview about scientists and social media by someone I don’t even know! I am very impressed with the community on Instagram. And connection also works the other way round: I have found amazing science communicators on Instagram whose posts I look forward to reading every day, for example stories.of.a.scientist, science.sam, bakingsciencetraveller, and sci_wilson, just to name a few.

As for how many people I’ve been reaching (after less than a month on Instagram!): A picture typically get 30-40 “likes”. My best picture currently has 87 likes, but that’s a really awesome picture if I say so myself (see below). I think this picture performed so well for two reasons: because it’s a really cool picture, but also because it’s showing an exclusive view of my favourite restaurant in really really bad weather. I think that people recognized the spot and that I had an exclusive pic really helped.

Continue reading

Are you following fascinocean_kiel on Instagram already? You definitely should!

fascinocean_kiel is my latest scicomm project — I am posting daily pictures from Kiel fjord together with a german description of some cool oceanography stuff you can see on the picture. But Instagram has a pretty good translator built in, and I am happy to translate any post if you leave me a comment with the picture you are interested in!

My latest post is the picture above: Here you can calculate the dominant wave length from the length of the pier and where waves are breaking through the floor boards of said pier. Storms are awesome when you are safely on land!

And below you can take a look at the whole fascinocean_kiel Instagram feed. See you over on Instagram? :-)

Dipping a toe into instagramming

This month’s private* #scicommchall: Run a scicomm Instagram feed! See the feed below. I’m doing this for several reasons: First: curiosity, how Instagram works for me personally as a scicomm format. Second: more curiosity, whether I can actually reach a german-speaking audience** that isn’t “just” scientists who are interested in the topic anyway. Third: Building my portfolio as a scicommer. Fourth: A little bit of laziness. You might have noticed my long blogging hiatus. I was sick for a long time, and now that I am back at work, I feel like I should pay a little more attention to what I spend all my time and energy on. Of course I still have to talk about water! But maybe this format is a little better suited for me at the moment. So I will definitely still write posts on this blog, but maybe not as many as you’ve gotten used to over the last years. But if you want to hear from me regularly, follow me on Instagram!

*”private” as opposed to the public #scicommchall that I have started. Since the beginning of this year, I am one of two scientific coordinators for the Kiel Science Outreach Campus (KiSOC), and I am challenging my colleagues there now, too. But I will report on that one another time…

**if you see a post you are interested in and would like to know what it says, just comment on that post and I’ll happily provide a translation! I’ve just decided against posting in two languages because I am lazy… ;-)

Seeing is believing — A #scipoem

Seeing is believing

Climate change communication
Needs a good vis’alization
Political protesters and
politicians should best be shunned
to avoid defens’ve reaction’.

Show behaviour in relation:
not one car, but road congestion.
action’ble steps that can confront
Climate change…

Use real people’s real emotion
unfamiliar, thought-provoking.
Not overwhelmed, but rather stunned,
that’s how people best understand
unconscious habits’ implication’.
Climate change…

*This poem is a „rondeau”, and it is based on the findings in the “Climate Visuals – 7 Key Principles for Visual Climate Change Communication” report (http://climateoutreach.org/resources/visual-climate-change-communication/)

“A brief history of climate in the Nordic Seas” — A #scipoem

A brief history of climate in the Nordic Seas*

Understanding of climate change
explaining a record’s full range
playing the cause-and-effect game
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

data: proxies or direct obs
predicted future poses probs
relationship is not the same:
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

mechanism seems to differ
Gulf Stream currently seems stiffer
than in future or past, we claim,
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

Understanding of climate change
needs a closed, mechanistic frame

*based on an article by Eldevik et al. (2014). Form is a “kyrielle sonett”

Greenhouse Gases — A #SciPoem

Greenhouse Gases

Air around us: full of water
Vapour, clouds or rain
Warmer air holds
more. A feedback.

CO2 belongs in the air
Volcanoes or
Breathing cattle
Not burnt fossils

Natural sources for methane
Ampl’fied by us:
Farting cattle
Agriculture

Soil cultivation produces
nitrous oxide
Fertilizers
Burnt biomass

Chlorofluorocarbons are
synthetic stuff
industrial
reg’lated now

Those five main components changing
concentration
radiation
Changing climate

“Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”: A #SciPoem

“Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”

This quote’s source: the IPCC
On what in total ninety-sev’n
Percent of scientists agree
The evidence of climate change

Risen by more than one degree
The av’rage surface temperature
Since anno nineteenhundr’d. See?
The evidence of climate change

The oceans have absorbed some heat
And have become a lot warmer
Espec’lly in the surface sheet
The evidence of climate change

Combined, four-hundred k-m-square
In Greenland and Antarctica
Of ice did melt, flowed off somewhere
The evidence of climate change

And everywhere around the sphere
Glaciers are retreating. Andes,
Himalayas and everywhere
The evidence of climate change

Satellite observations show
Northern Hemisphere snow cover
Was much more five decades ago
The evidence of climate change

Sea levels rising by the flow
Accumulated in the sea
Of all that melting ice and snow
The evidence of climate change

Not changing levels of the sea
But its own area and height
Arct’c sea ice declines rapidly
The evidence of climate change

Intense rainfalls destroy down streams
Temperatures are at record highs
The weather reaching new extremes
The evidence of climate change

Getting sourer through and through
Ocean waters acidify
When oceans absorb CO2
The evidence of climate change

“Grubletegninger” — using sketches presenting alternative explanations of a situation to spark discussions

In my personal #SciCommChallenge, one thing on my things-to-try list were “grubletegninger” — pondering sketches, or sketches to ponder. It’s a format developed in Norway and there is quite a collection available at naturfag.no. (And that my sketches below happen to be on a Norway-themed note pad is pure coincidence :-))

The idea is that the sketch of a situation is given, along with a couple of people who each give a statement explaining the situation. For example on the topic of whether a sundial can be used in both hemispheres, the characters state things like “yes, you just have to position it the other way round”, “yes, if you swap the numbers”, “no, because the sun moves in the opposite direction”, “it will work, but with a 12 hour offset”.

This can then be used to spark discussion in a student group. Since many possible misconceptions are made explicit on the sketch itself, it is easy for students to identify with one of the answers and explain why they think that it is the correct one. It is also useful to use answers to argue against, to use them as a starting point for experimentation, to bridge between school science and the real world. I really like this format and think it could be a very useful tool in science outreach, too!

And I think making many different possible answers explicit is actually the most important feature of this tool. My first Grubletegning-sketch (which I did based on a vage memory and before checking out the naturfag.no website) is not nearly as good for sparking thoughts and discussions as it could be if it was laying out different lines of argumentation!

Of course, in the end it is not very different from a multiple-choice exercise, with the different distractors giving the different answer options. But how much more appealing is it when combined with a nice sketch, and actual people (albeit sketched ones) giving the answers, rather than your teacher giving you one correct answer and a couple false ones, and not telling you which one is which? I think this might actually be an excellent tool in outreach to engage people in discussions.

And I am looking forward to coming up with situations that could be used for grubletegninger, and to actually sketching them in a slightly nicer way than I did above. I am trying out a sketch pad next weekend, there might be a huge increase in the quality of graphics on this blog in the near future ;-) Or not, we’ll see ;-)