ABOUT Marc Kuchner

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Marc Kuchner is an astrophysicist and a songwriter from near Washington, DC. This blog represents his views as a citizen, not as a NASA employee. You can read an interview with Kuchner in Nature Materials, follow him on Twitter or email him at marc@marketingforscientists.com.


Marc Kuchner: All Posts


We’re Open. COME IN!

Posted 6 February 2015 by Marc Kuchner

I’ve never been very good at asking for things or telling people to do things. The other kids were better at it. Can I have the big one? Gimme gimme!  That was never my style, and I bet it wasn’t yours. Now, as a grown up and as a scientist I must regularly ask for things. Often, when I ask for something from my colleagues it’s in the form of a proposal–a formal document.  My request is indirect.  It sounds... Read more

Launching Disk Detective: A New Citizen Science Website

Posted 30 January 2014 by Marc Kuchner

Dear Colleagues, Last year, I made three science-marketing new years resolutions: clean my desk, spruce up my webpage, and launch a citizen science project. The desk and the webpage—let’s say they are still works in progress. But I am proud to say that this week is the launch of DiskDetective.org, a new citizen science project where volunteers can help me and my team sort through data from NASA’s WISE telescope to find disks where planets form and hide. Disk Detective... Read more

Top Five Science Marketing Hits of 2013

Posted 30 December 2013 by Marc Kuchner

Twenty thirteen was another topsy-turvy year for scientists in the U.S.  Many of us spent a good part of the year dealing with budgets slashed by sequestration. Government scientists, including last year’s Nobel laureates, spent October 1-16 on furlough. This year’s Nobel laureates were overheard telling their students that they would have better luck building a career if they left the country. At the same time, 2013 saw shifts in the nature of our marketing tools, as social media outlets... Read more

Lobbying for Scientists: Interview with Stephanie Vance, Part 2

Posted 15 October 2013 by Marc Kuchner

Last week, I posted the first half of my interview with advocacy expert Stephanie Vance about how scientists can influence members of Congress. Here, in the second half, Vance goes into more detail about what to bring when you visit your legislator, what to say, and how to prepare. Everybody walking into a legislator's office has an "ask"--the favor you want the legislator to do for you, and the reason for your being there.  Stephanie talks a bit here about... Read more

Lobbying for Scientists: Interview with Stephanie Vance, Part 1

Posted 8 October 2013 by Marc Kuchner

Speaking as a citizen of the United States, I can say that right now I am not happy with our Congress. If you're in the U.S.A., I bet you’re not either. So I’d like to offer you an interview with advocacy expert Stephanie Vance about how we scientists can influence our legislators. Vance started her career as a legislative aid in a DC law firm. She went on to work as a lobbyist for National Public Radio, as legislative director... Read more

Want to be A Professional Scientist? Ask to Join the Facebook Group

Posted 16 September 2013 by Marc Kuchner

(This article first appeared in Nature.) Planetary scientist Heidi Hammel was at the telescope when Facebook alerted her to an important new target: a comet had just crashed into Jupiter. “I learned about one of the impacts on Jupiter via Facebook while observing on Keck, and we were able to do immediate follow-up.” It is no secret that more and more, scientists are using Facebook not just for outreach or for fun, but to do real, ground breaking, earth-shattering science.... Read more

Caregiver or Hero—Which One Are You? The Archetypal Roles of Women in Science and Academia

Posted 20 June 2013 by Marc Kuchner

(Originally published in Nature) The hero, the outlaw, the caregiver—which one of these roles do you play when you’re at work? The theory of archetypes, originated by Carl Jung, fascinates me as a way to understand works of fiction, marketing campaigns, and also the roles we play in the academic workplace. The theory explains how a short list of roughly twelve staple characters appears over and over in movies, novels, songs, and so on. These characters, like the hero, the... Read more

What Should We Wear? Advice from Scientists about Clothing and Fashion

Posted 11 April 2013 by Marc Kuchner

Studies show that how we dress generally affects what people think of our personalities and capabilities. For example, women are more likely to be hired if they wear more masculine clothes to an interview (such as a dress suit).  People who wear conservative clothes are seen as self-controlled and reliable, while those who wear more daring clothing are viewed as more attractive and individualistic. It seemed to me that scientists are unlikely to be immune to these biases. So last week... Read more

What’s Your Science Maturity Level?

Posted 4 April 2013 by Marc Kuchner

(This article originally appeared in Nature) I went to a scientific talk the other day that seemed to leave half the audience inspired and the other half frustrated. My frustrated colleagues insisted that the speaker did not present any true “results”. However, he did make some fascinating predictions about what would be discovered ten or twenty years from now, predictions that may be crucial for marketing exercises and expensive experiments. Was this a good talk or a bad talk?  Science or... Read more

Interview with Image Consultant Kasey Smith: Part 2

Posted 21 March 2013 by Marc Kuchner

How is a scientist supposed to dress? I posed this question in an interview with professional image consultant Kasey Smith. My last post contained the first half of our interview, where Kasey introduced herself and explained what image consultants are, and why scientists need them. Here, in the second half of the interview, are some of Kasey's specific fashion tips. Take these to heart and you'll kill 'em at the next AAAS meeting--or at your next faculty interview. MK:  I remember... Read more