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Scientific storytelling helps researchers communicate their findings in a competitive publishing environment

Posted 25 June 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Dr. Rafael Luna speaking at LSU. Photo credit: Paige Jarreau.

Today, I attended a seminar at LSU on scientific storytelling presented by Dr. Rafael Luna. Luna is an LSU alumnus and author of The Art of Scientific Storytelling, a guide to presenting and publishing scientific research with the help of narrative elements. Too often, scientists view writing and publishing as a burden, an unwelcome add-on that slows their momentum and interferes with getting on to the next experiment. Why, then, do scientists write? There are two sets of reasons—content-related and... Read more

You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This: The Synchronous Fireflies of the Smokies

Posted 10 June 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Synchronous Firefly Event, TN. Photo by Paige B. Jarreau. Submitted to Nat Geo Travel Photo Contest.

“An entire forest can seem to flash at the same time.” — Andrew Moiseff and Jonathan Copeland Waves of twinkling lights flashed all around me. First at a distance, then filling my entire field of view, a living undulation of male Photinus carolinus fireflies pulsed like miniature sputtering candles, on display for the females resting in the foliage on the forest floor. The male fireflies, flying above the forest floor, flash quickly four to eight times, and then all together... Read more

Should we use powerful or uncertain language in science writing?

Posted 4 June 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

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Cross-posted at FromTheLabBench.com When blogging about new scientific findings and their implications, how often do you use hedging statements, with terms like “might,” “could,” “potentially,” or “possibly,” as opposed to strong statements such as "prove" or "without a doubt"? Depending on your answer, you may want to rethink your language choices in writing about science. A German study published in June in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology suggests that readers may actually be skeptical of science blog article statements that are... Read more

New to Science Blogging #12 – “It’s academia, one week at a time.”

Posted 2 June 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Graphic Created in Canva

This post is the 12th in an ongoing guest series on my blog featuring science bloggers who recently got their start in the science blogosphere. This series of posts I've been inviting from new science bloggers, or anyone who started blogging about science in the last year or so, is helping to paint a picture of how science bloggers get their start today. Cross-posted at FromTheLabBench.com -- Next up in the "New to Science Blogging" series is Karen Anthony, author of Weekademia. Karen is currently a postdoctoral... Read more

New To Science Blogging #11 – Sarasota Fins

Posted 30 May 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

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This post is the 11th in an ongoing guest series on my blog featuring science bloggers who recently got their start in the science blogosphere. This series of posts I've been inviting from new science bloggers, or anyone who started blogging about science in the last year or so, is helping to paint a picture of how science bloggers get their start today. Cross-posted at FromTheLabBench.com -- Next up in the "New to Science Blogging" series is Melissa Cristina Marquez, founder of the Sarasota Fins, a marine science education... Read more

The Sights, Sounds and Science of Yellowstone Park

Posted 29 May 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Big Cone, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone. Behind the cone is Yellowstone Lake, with rain falling on the Absaroka mountains. Shot taken with a 50mm lens on my Canon 5D, ISO 100, f/9.0, and a longish exposure of  1/50 seconds. "Jutting out into Lake Yellowstone, Big Cone, a companion to Fishing Cone, is a large sinter cone, and is sometimes seen completely submerged by the lake. Eruptions from this geyser are rare, and only reach heights of one foot or less." - West Thumb Interactive Tour

Yellowstone National Park is one of those magical places on earth that you can't imagine until you see it, or see pictures of it. And even then, to think of standing on top of an active volcano, which last erupted some 640,000 years ago (with a history of erupting every 600,000 years or so) is otherworldly. The central part of Yellowstone Park sits within the Yellowstone Caldera, miles beneath which is the Yellowstone Supervolcano. A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by... Read more

New to Science Blogging #10 – Scientist Sees Squirrel

Posted 20 May 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Graphic Created in Canva

This post is the tenth in an ongoing guest series on my blog featuring science bloggers who recently got their start in the science blogosphere. This series of posts I've been inviting from new science bloggers, or anyone who started blogging about science in the last year or so, is helping to paint a picture of how science bloggers get their start today. Cross-posted at FromTheLabBench.com -- Tenth up in the "New to Science Blogging" series is Stephen Heard. Stephen surprised me a few weeks ago by... Read more

New to Science Blogging #9 – The Science Gumbo Blog

Posted 17 May 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, by David Monniaux. Wikimedia Commons.

This post is the ninth in an ongoing guest series on my blog featuring science bloggers who recently got their start in the science blogosphere. This series of posts I've been inviting from new science bloggers, or anyone who started blogging about science in the last year or so, is helping to paint a picture of how science bloggers get their start today. Cross-posted at FromTheLabBench.com -- Ninth up in the "New to Science Blogging" series is Heather Soulen. Heather is a research technician at the Smithsonian Environmental... Read more

New to Science Blogging #8 – The Quiet Branches

Posted 12 May 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Screenshot.

This post is the eighth in a recent guest series on my blog featuring science bloggers who recently got their start in the science blogosphere. This series of posts I'll be inviting from new science bloggers, or anyone who started blogging about science in the last year or so, will help paint a picture of how science bloggers get their start today. *If you want to contribute to this series, and you recently (within the last year or so) started any form of science blogging, e-mail... Read more

What are the essential topics or materials for a science communication course?

Posted 6 May 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

LSU students - sign up now!

What would you consider the essential topics and/or materials for a 4000-level science communication course geared at both mass communication and science students? In the Fall (2015), I'll be teaching a Science Communication course at the Louisiana State University Manship School of Mass Communication. As I'm creating my syllabus, I'd love to hear from other scientists, science bloggers, communicators, etc. - what topics do you consider essential for a good understanding of science communication? What does a good science writing skill-set include?... Read more