Science Communication Echo Chambers – Now What?

Posted 17 November 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Anechoic chamber - This room has long wedges of foam all over the walls so there are no echoes. Image credit: Gillie Rhodes,

Echo chambers are a hot topic in the online science community of late. I recently wrote a blog post about whether science blogs are echo chambers, and that post continues to get a lot of play on Twitter and elsewhere. And then just this last weekend at #SciCommCamp, we had an “un-conference” session on “Echo Chambers” in which a group of scientists and science communicators discussed how to break out of them, so to speak. “It is well known that when... Read more

Best Practices in Environmental Communication – A Scientific Paper

Posted 8 November 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Infographic created by Paige Jarreau.

When it comes to communicating about environmental issues, it turns out we have a lot to learn from psychologists and audiences alike. Along with colleagues Zeynep Altinay and Amy Reynolds, I recently had a paper published in the journal of Environmental Communication, in which we used Louisiana's coastal crisis as a case study for best practices in environmental communication. In our study, we interviewed communicators and psychologists, and surveyed Louisiana residents, in order to identify gaps in what we should be doing vs.... Read more

How would you make better coatings for medical implants? Sushi!

Posted 7 November 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Wakame. Image credit: Loozrboy,

They say opposites attract. But this isn’t just a romantic phrase. Materials scientists have long used layers of oppositely charged chemical compounds to create coated surfaces with desirable properties for various applications: biomedical implants, engineered bone tissue, “anti-stick” medical devices – you name it. This sandwiching of oppositely charged compounds into films that stack up on a surface, known as polyelectrolyte multilayers or PEMs, can be accomplished with natural compounds such as fucoidans, sugar polymers found in species of brown... Read more

Have you ever read any of these science blogs? Take their reader surveys!

Posted 21 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Have you ever read one of these science blogs? Then head on over to fill out a readership survey for their blogs! We will learn much more about why people read science blogs, and you'll get awesome prizes for participating, from science art to cash! (Note - you have to completely fill out a readership survey for one of these blogs before taking the survey for another one of these blogs - but the survey will be shorter for the second... Read more

A living boat full of stingers? The crazy survival skills of red fire ants!

Posted 21 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

A young fire ant queen (Solenopsis invicta) tends to her first eggs. Image by Alex Wild, @Myrmecos on Twitter.

If you live in the southern United States like I do, you probably know the red imported fire ant - especially if you've ever been stung by one! This little ant packs quite a sting. But, do you really KNOW the red imported fire ant? If you are like me, you might not know that the red imported fire ant can accomplish the zombie-like feat of creating a living raft that literally floats a colony to safety if a flood comes along. That... Read more

Jennifer Frazer, The Artful Amoeba: “The more I know about what draws people in and keeps them reading, the better!”

Posted 16 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau


Jennifer Frazer is an award-winning science writer and science blogger at Scientific American. Her blog, The Artful Amoeba, documents the "weird wonderfulness of life on Earth." Jennifer even once got to ride in a deep-sea submarine 551 feet under the sea to write about the experience on her blog. She also won the AAAS Science Journalism Award in 2007. She is pretty much a science blogging boss. Jennifer is also one of the confirmed science blogger collaborators for my project... Read more

The Readers Talk Back – Results of STARtorialist blog reader survey

Posted 14 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau


The following post was published on Research Media's blog this morning. Research Media is a communications agency that provides integrated creative services for the research sector. What’s up with science blogs? I mean, why do people read them, anyway? You might be surprised to know that a question as simple as this hasn’t been tackled by the science communication research community. But as any good writer knows, effective communication strategies involve knowing the audience. Who are they? What are they... Read more

Have a research paper you’d like to see blogged? I’m blogging science, for science!

Posted 11 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau


Exciting news! In the next 6 days, any scientific research paper you send me, I'll blog about! It could be research you've done that you want a wider audience to read about, or a research paper you need to read for work or school but that you're having a tough time translating. All I need from you in return is a $25.00 pledge to see my own science communication research put into action! It's a win-win!   I'm currently crowd-funding a research... Read more

Astroquizzical blogger wants to know, what are you curious about? She’ll blog about it!

Posted 11 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Photo compliments of Jillian Schudder

Jillian Scudder, @Jillian_Scudder on Twitter, is the author of the science blog Astroquizzical. Jillian is currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, in Brighton, UK. She is very interested in science communication and outreach, and created her own blog in order to answer questions about space. Her blog is awesome, by the way! She uses her blog to answer all kinds of reader questions about space, such as "Does a black hole have a shape? Is there a front and... Read more

Inkfish wants to know who her readers are and how they arrive at her blog

Posted 11 October 2015 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Screenshot from the Inkfish blog

Elizabeth Preston, @Inkfish on Twitter, writes for Discover Magazine via her blog Inkfish. From the blog's sidebar: "Like the wily and many-armed cephalopod, Inkfish reaches into the far corners of science news and brings you back surprises (and the occasional sea creature). The ink is virtual but the research is real." Elizabeth's posts are always fun and informative reads, from "Poop on a Stick Tests Penguins’ Sense of Smell" to "Chickens Help Scientists Study Dinosaur Death Pose." I am excited that Elizabeth is one... Read more