What is Science Communication?
Science Communication is the practise of communicating complex science-related information to the public in an accessible manner in order to inform, educate, and entertain. A science communication audience should not need prior experience in science to understand the content.
According to Brett Cherry, science communication is as old as science itself - but the term has grown in popularity since the late 1930s. This is the result of rapid growth in scientific research, and the increasing role of science in our day-to-day lives.
As we understand it now, science communication is anything which helps non-scientists (and in some cases other scientists) to better understand science-related topics. This ranges from journalism, infographics and blogs, to informative videos, emergent communication tools, interactive science workshops, and animation & illustration.
Science Communication Benefits
Communicating scientific research to the public is important for gaining future support for STEM, as well as for helping communities and governments make informed, high-level decisions that are in the public’s interest - like those related to climate change, for example.
Science communication is therefore not just a valuable tool for researchers, but for communities and the general public.
At Cooked Illustrations, we take your science and translate it into tailored visual creations that have positive long-term impacts on engagement, information retention and learning outcomes. We have found that visual communication engages our client’s intended audience and makes them more receptive to what is being taught. And it looks cool, you know.
Targeting an Audience
As science communication is all about breaking down barriers and building effective bridges between science and your non-scientist audiences, it is crucial to know and understand your audience.
To ensure we create the right visuals for your audience, we tailor each client’s project to their specific demographic.
Example of Effective Science Communication
A great example of valuable and effective science communication is the multilingual Martina and the Bridge of Time which communicates the idea of Deep Time: how our idea of history goes beyond even the earliest human migrations, and looks deep into the fossil record to see how a country’s geography forms. All communicated in a vibrant and accessible comic book form.
This project came about as a collaboration between Dr Dr Aaron O’Dea of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Panama’s Department for Science and Technology; SENACYT; and us at Cooked Illustrations. The aim was to transform complex scientific research into something suitable for people of all ages in Panama (and beyond), that would also fill in the gaps in Panama’s limited education system - the same education system that Martina addresses within its pages.
The hopes are that Martina, the character, and PanaMartina, the project, will become a science communication icon - not just in Panama, but across Central America.
All in all, science communication is a valuable, and indeed essential service, for those interested in relaying their scientific knowledge to a non-scientist audience. It provides a greater understanding of current scientific research, sparks meaningful debates, leads to more funding for crucial STEM projects, and encourages a fusion between public and scientific values.