About Ordering New Releases Special Offers Questions? Call 888-624-8373

 [0]

The National Academies Press The National Academies

National Academies Communication Fair 2009

On June 23, 2009 the National Academies Office of Communications, in cooperation with Staff Development Programs and the communications officers from the various program divisions here at the Academies, presented the third Communications Fair for National Academies staff.
This year the fair featured an exciting new format with two panel discussions and a mid-day speaker to inspire new and creative ways to communicate science. We invite you to take part in what we’ve learned about communicating science by listening to podcasts of the events listed below.

Science for All Seasons: Communicating Science to Diverse Audiences

Listen to the Audio Recording

This panel explores the various ways in which science is communicated to diverse, non-specialist audiences. The mix of panelists, carefully selected to represent contrasting but complementary approaches, highlights a variety of outreach strategies, describing “best practices” scenarios from which we can all learn. This panel juxtaposes what the National Academies are already doing to communicate our messages with the outreach activities of others involved in science communication.


  • Sue Allen, Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation, The Exploratorium, and member of Committee on Learning Science in Informal Environments
  • Don Hoyt Gorman, Editor, SEEDonline
  • Meghan Murphy, Director of Outreach, X Prize Foundation
  • Shawn Otto, Co-Founder and CEO of Science Debate 2008
  • Kelly Stoetzel, Producer, TED conferences

Moderated by Barbara Kline Pope, Executive Director, Office of Communications

Information and Misinformation at the Speed of Light

Listen to the Audio Recording
Listen to the Sounds of Science Podcast based on this talk

Phil Plait is an astronomer, author, and skeptic whose blog is consistently ranked among the most popular online science columns. Phil has a long history of debunking pseudo-science. By clearing up misconceptions, most often in space science and astronomy, he brings greater visibility to science in general while also revealing the accurate and often more astonishing nature of the universe. In this humorous but informative talk, Phil discusses the ways in which science communication has been changed by the internet. He looks at how blogging, online media, and even Twitter have been able to spread science information -- and frustratingly, misinformation -- to millions of people.


Phil Plait is the president of the James Randi Education Foundation and author of the Bad Astronomy blog, hosted by Discover Magazine and consistently ranked among the most popular online science columns.

Science and Hollywood: Education Through Entertainment

Listen to the Audio Recording

Given its propensity to explore uncharted territory, science is often the basis for provocative and compelling storylines both in film and television. But beyond good storytelling, entertainment channels possess the very real ability to affect opinions, inform ideas, and even change behavior. Recognizing this, the Science and Hollywood panel focuses on the intersections of science and entertainment and examines the ways in which key ideas in science are filtered through the lens of movies and TV shows.


  • Neal Baer, Executive Producer for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Chair of the Advisory Board for Hollywood, Health, and Society, a program of the University of Southern California
  • Jim Kakalios, University of Minnesota physicist, author of The Physics of Superheroes, and science advisor to the film Watchmen
  • Bruce Joel Rubin, Screenwriter for Deep Impact, The Last Mimzy, and the forthcoming adaptation of the best-selling book, The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Anne Simon, University of Maryland virologist, author of The Real Science Behind the X-Files, and long-time advisor to the television series

Moderated by Jerry Zucker, Vice-Chair of The Science and Entertainment Exchange and Director of Ghost, First Knight, Rat Race, and Airplane