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Thanks to words like “biopolymers,” “endotracheal,” “rheological,” and “bacteriophage,” Scientists often sound like they’re speaking a foreign language. Science Communicators, therefore, are like Interpreters: It’s their job to translate “science speak” for non-Scientists so they can appreciate the practical benefits of scientific research and understand the real-world impact of scientific discoveries.
Imagine, for example, that a Biologist develops a new anti-cancer drug, an Astronomer discovers a new solar system, or a Meteorologist predicts a new weather pattern. Although a Scientist made the revelation, the findings benefit the general public. As a Science Communicator, you explain technical science in lay terms, thereby helping John Q. Public recognize its value, which makes it easier for governments to fund science research, for private companies to support science museums, and for schools to produce more science graduates.
The way you “communicate” science as a Science Communicator depends on whom you’re communicating for. Typically, though, you’re a Journalist who reports on science, an Author who writes about it, a Documentary Filmmaker who chronicles it, a Public Relations Specialist who promotes it, or a Motivational Speaker who talks about it.
Regardless, your process is the same: You’re paid to immerse yourself in topics as diverse as biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, astronomy, physics, meteorology, and ecology, then latch on to stories that you think will interest and inspire the public. One story at a time, you learn the science by interviewing Scientists and reading research reports, then you package it for public consumption in the form of simple — not scientific — words, images, or video. The result: “ Gastroenterologist ” becomes “Stomach Doctor, ” “antimicrobial” becomes “germ-free,” and “photosphere” becomes “sun.”