Stony Brook’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, in collaboration with Scientific American, will launch a free, five-episode online series aimed at helping scientists and engineers write blogs and op-eds for magazines, newspapers and other news outlets. The series kicks off on Friday, October 13, 2017.
The series will feature actor and science communication advocate Alan Alda and Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina. Alda will share his personal successes using improvisational theater exercises to build empathy and connection, while DiChristina will shed light on the kind of stories Scientific American readers are craving. This first special live-streamed event will air on Friday, October 13, 2017 at 4:30pm ET, and can be watched via live stream on Facebook (@Scientific American). For information on the full series, please visit www.aldacenter.org.
“When we help scientists to be more open, they begin to talk about their work in a deeply personal way. And people want to hear the personal stories behind the research. What happened in those difficult moments in the small hours of the morning? That’s the part we can connect to,” said Alan Alda, founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. “Our Alda Center team is excited to partner with Scientific American to develop a writing series that will produce a new cohort of excellent science storytellers. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.”
“Science is a global enterprise, with an ambition—and ability—to address some of humanity’s most challenging problems,” said DiChristina. “Scientific American, with more than 170 years of authoritative coverage about the progress of science often authored by the researchers themselves, is delighted to partner with the Alda Center and Kavli on this initiative to support scientists and science communication.”
Future confirmed speakers will include Claudia Dreifus, columnist for The New York Times and professor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Curtis Brainard, Scientific American Digital Content Manager; Michael Lemonick, Scientific American opinion editor and former senior science writer at Time; Matthew Nesbit, Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University; and Ben Lillie, Co-founder and Director of Special Projects at The Story Collider.
This online series will be a companion to a 10-week private workshop for a dozen scientists. Led by Jennifer Albanese, Director of Stony Brook University’s Writing Center and a senior lecturer in the Writing and Rhetoric Program, and Claudia Wallis, former editor of Scientific American Mind, 12 scientists will receive special instruction aimed at creating blog entries for Scientific American, with another 12 to receive similar instruction early next year. Almost 600 scientists competed for this special workshop.