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Jun 6, 2012

Talking About Science: Why Do You Do What You Do?

I often find myself in conversations about how to communicate with the public (i.e., a non-expert audience) about science. One of the things I often bring up is the importance of explaining WHY a given piece of research was done. This not only helps people understand the work, it also helps them relate to it.… 

Jun 4, 2012

Scientists Engaging With the Public: Let’s Get Started

Talking with the public about science is important. Note that I said talking “with,” not talking “to” – and certainly not talking “at.” A conversation is necessary. Engagement is necessary. And, frankly, the science community, in general, is not doing a very good job in this area. We’ve known for years that the level of… 

Mar 12, 2012

Local and Mobile

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Adriana de Souza e Silva, associate professor of communication in NC State’s Department of Communication, who is chairing an international conference, Local and Mobile, for researchers and students of mobility studies. We no longer enter the Internet. Instead, we carry it with us. We experience it as we… 

Feb 21, 2012

Education Professor’s Book Recognized

Dr. Brad Mehlenbacher, associate professor of distance learning, won the Best Book in Technical and Scientific Communication award at the 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication. 

Feb 16, 2012

History, One Post at a Time

Your blog may be cool, but it isn't new. Find out more and hear a Harvard expert during free History Weekend events. 

Feb 6, 2012

Historical Blogging

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Lauren Williams, a communication intern in NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Think our ancestors didn’t blog? Think again. Although the term blogging and our electronic way of doing it are relatively new, the idea of disseminating information via informal writing is certainly not. As part… 

Jan 13, 2012

The Big (Moving) Picture

Why do some science stories fire the public’s imagination, while others go unnoticed? We welcome your input on this question because, frankly, we are often surprised when one piece of research takes off and another goes nowhere. However, we have seen one common thread among some of our biggest science stories: video. With that in… 

Dec 14, 2011

Helping Museums Pursue Interactive Technology

In an attempt to better engage and educate the public about everything from space exploration to art history, museums are becoming increasingly interactive. But many museums lack the resources or expertise to take full advantage of emerging technologies. What to do? Researchers from NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences are working to… 

Nov 4, 2011

Want To Study New Kinds Of Wireless Systems? Build Your Own

The idea of wireless mesh networks, which expand the reach of traditional Wi-Fi, is not new. But a lot of fundamental questions still need to be addressed (think design and security). To address those questions, one team of computer science researchers has decided to build their own mesh network – and to share that system… 

Mar 16, 2011

Going Nuclear: Putting Some Media Coverage Into Perspective

Note: This is a guest piece written by Steve Skutnik, a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at NC State. Among other things, Skutnik is a regular contributor to the nuclear engineering blog The Neutron Economy, where a version of this post originally ran. In times of crisis, mainstream media can make mistakes – particularly when the… 

Mar 2, 2011

Food Safety: The Disconnect Between What’s Yucky And What’s Dangerous

Note: This is a guest piece written by Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety expert at NC State. Among other things, Chapman is a regular contributor to the food safety blog Barfblog, where a version of this post originally ran. While it might be nice to know whether there has been an insect… 

Feb 18, 2011

Let’s Talk About ScienceOnline2012

The Abstract crew is pretty excited that NC State is going to host the ScienceOnline2012 (Scio12) conference next January. If you’re not familiar with ScienceOnline, it’s a gathering of researchers, bloggers, reporters, authors and students (I can think of some people who are all of the above) who are passionate about science. And they’re not just… 

Jan 14, 2011

Loaded Question: A Problem With Public Opinion Polls On Science

When it comes to science and technology, it appears that people don’t actually dislike the things they say they dislike. At the very least, a new study shows, people don’t dislike those things as much as they think they do. The fault, dear reader, lies not in ourselves, but in our polls. The study, published… 

Nov 29, 2010

Food Fables: Learning Food Safety From Unhappy Endings

Stories have long been used to teach people about the consequences of their actions – just ask Aesop. A new study finds that storytelling is also a critical component when it comes to teaching kitchen workers the importance of food-safety practices – and hopefully saving lives. But the researchers behind this study are telling stories… 

Nov 10, 2010

Sci/Med Writers: Are We Part Of The Problem?

Research is an incremental process, and there are precious few “Eureka!” moments when an idea springs forth fully formed, unfettered by qualifiers and questions that muddy the waters. As a result, those of us who write about science and medicine often take pains to ensure that we do not overstate research results. We use our…