Yesterday, I returned from a short trip to the Koffler Scientific Reserve (KSR). KSR is a research-facility owned and operated by the University of Toronto. I have been fortuitous enough to have had a few opportunities for visits here and be very shortly involved in the ongoing research. In 2011, I briefly volunteered at the lab of Prof. Art Weis, who aims to study adaptive mechanisms in response to climate change and assortative mating in plants. The lab atmosphere has attracted well-rounded people who also have a talent for communicating concepts and applications to lay audiences. I especially benefitted from it, since my background is largely in the applied physical sciences, but through my casual involvement in the lab research, I have become somewhat conversant in some areas of ecology and evolutionary biology!
As I attempt to break into the world of science communications, opportunities to interact (even socially and informally!) with researchers in their own habitat (pun somewhat intended) is a great way to get into their headspace and culture. In the past, and even in the present, far too many examples of science communication is replete with the obvious notion that the communicator him- or herself knows minimally about the culture of science. This is why I have such big love for the emerging fields of tech anthropology and digital humanities. We need these intersectional places to make sense of our increasingly complex world. The burgeoning science communication community can benefit from the ongoing academic research on the scientific humanities to better frame their work for the public at large, with greater consistency and coherency in light of context.
Finally, I have realized, my efforts to simply reach out to my researcher friends and running an interview series on them, is perhaps not enough. Beyond the scope of the series, it would be advantageous to expose myself to different researcher communities and their unique idiosyncrasies. So if anyone wants to show me around their lab/place of research and talk to me about what they do, shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!