Second City’s got nothing on these docs

Aside from the fact that as a child I would often fall asleep on the couch to the soothing intro to M.A.S.H., or that Mr. Alda and my father looked remarkably alike, now I have one more reason to admire Alan Alda — science!

From March second’s New York Times, here is a great piece on communicating science. At Before the Abstract we love reading about the tactics others take to move science to the fore.

Well done Mr. Alda!

Bedtime stories as a foundation for science? Brilliant!

The word “story” is often synonymous with imagery of dragons and princesses, beanstalks and witches. But what if the bedtime stories we tell our children had a more scientific tack? Could this help to turn the next generations’ dreams into those of conquering cancer instead of a castle? Wendy Thomas Russel thinks so, and is quite eloquent in her pitch.

Moreover, this is precisely the idea behind what we are trying to do here on Before the Abstract. Stories are so much more than just entertaining fodder. They inform, inspire and create meaning and context. And if we can push science through the clutter of the media landscape via narrative, than let’s do it!

Read more here on the PBS Newshour website.

Our favorite Tweets from the Springer Storytellers show in Seattle!

We had a terrific inaugural event in Seattle in front of a sold-out and enthusiastic crowd, with great speakers and entertaining stories about science (look for the podcasts soon!). Held alongside the American Astronomical Society’s 225th Meeting, astronomers kicked off the first Springer Storytellers show with a big bang (pun intended), sharing personal stories about the challenges they have faced in their career to find their direction, the thrill of scientific discovery and quite literally, falling off a mountain.

Rather than wax poetic about how thrilled we were to bring this storytelling event to Seattle, we thought we would let the tweets “tell the story” instead.

Our Audience

We hosted a mix of astronomers, scientists, science enthusiasts and the general public, but the storytelling format made it relevant and interesting to all.

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The Stories

It’s challenging to tell a whole story in 140 characters, but there were some great nuggets perfect for sharing.

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The Storytellers

It’s no easy feat to get up in front of a large crowd with no notes, no powerpoint slides and tell a story that grips the audience. But our Storytellers found it a rewarding experience…one that kept them “buzzing” for long after the show was over.

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And finally… 

We are glad that our giveaways – earbuds with wire management – were appreciated!

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Be sure to subscribe to updates on future shows, and to learn about our most recent posts; we’ll be fully up and running with great stories to share later this spring!

 

Some story food for thought

The end of the year is a time when most of us reflect on what happened the 12 months prior, and what we want to accomplish in the next year. My personal to-do list includes regular items like saving money and trying to shed a few of the pounds I put on on during the past month’s holiday festivities.

But if you are a researcher or scientist, no doubt funding for 2015 projects is also on your mind. We recently read this article from The New York Times that we think is a great summation of what we are trying to explore, and what we hope to encourage here at Before the Abstract (and through our Springer Storytellers project). Take a look, and the next time you are pitching for those research dollars, consider a story to help close the deal.

Enjoy the end of ’14, and we hope you visit us many times in the new year!