Katharine Hayhoe: on the climate of climate communication

Spring has finally sprung — and with it, a new Science Soapbox episode! Stepping onto this month’s soapbox, we have one of our favorite climate scientists, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. An atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, Dr. Hayhoe is known not only for her leadership in climate science, but also for her phenomenal outreach and communication work. She has effectively joined her identity as both an evangelical Christian and a staunch advocate for climate action to engage with communities that are traditionally thought to be skeptical of science. Her work is a testament to the power of bringing our full identities to our science and outreach efforts. We’ve been following Dr. Hayhoe on social media for years and were thrilled to chat with her about her approach to public engagement and how (and why) she finds hope in the face of our changing climate.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on April 17, 2018 in the Rockefeller University Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Mónica Feliú-Mójer: Ciencia Para Hacer Patria

A neuroscientist turned science communication expert, Dr. Mónica Feliú-Mójer understands all to well that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to public engagement with science. A Puerto Rican native, she is a prominent advocate for culturally relevant approach to science communication to increase access to the scientific endeavor and ensure that science serves society at large. She has put her communication philosophy and expertise to use serving as the Director of Communications & Science Outreach for Ciencia Puerto Rico and the Associate Director of Diversity & Communication Training for iBiology. We had the incredible privilege of catching up with Mónica at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin where we got the chance to pick her brain about how she found science in Puerto Rico, how she has given back to her community through her bilingual science communication and mentorship endeavors, and why she believes science belongs to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on February 17, 2018 at the Austin Convention Center during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Book Club: on C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures

Another month, another podcast! Join the Science Soapbox team as we delve into a work that has inspired some of our science policy heroes — C.P Snow’s lecture ‘The Two Cultures’. Published in 1959, the brief lecture has received worldwide renown for addressing matters on the culture of science. We first heard of this work during our interview with Dr. John Holdren — President Barack Obama’s former science advisor — and decided to read it ourselves to discuss on the podcast. While many things have changed since the time of this lecture, it provides a stepping stone and fascinating reference point towards the state of our contemporary science community.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

Below are pictures of the plastic objects Marcus retrieved from the waters.

This episode was recorded on November 13, 2017 in the Rockefeller University Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Marcus Eriksen: on the smog of the seas

We close another year of Science Soapbox by learning about the battle being waged against plastic pollution in our waters and its impact on public policy and perception. We talk with Marcus Eriksen — science educator, researcher, and founder of 5 Gyres Institute — to hear about his advocacy on behalf of our planet’s waters. He talks about his new book Junk Raft, which documents his three-month trip across the pacific on a raft made of recycled junk with a cessna hull for a cabin. Through our conversation, we learned about lobbying tactics used by the plastic industry and got to handle plastic trash from the ocean with bite marks from turtles and fish.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

Below are pictures of the plastic objects Marcus retrieved from the waters.

This episode was recorded on November 13, 2017 in the Rockefeller University Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Joe Kennedy: on the taxation of knowledge

Congressman Joe Kennedy is as passionate as we are about STEM education, making it a priority for his district and the nation. So the Science Soapbox team was thrilled to visit his office to talk about what inspired his interest in STEM education and its relationship as a critical concern for our economy. The Congressman also discussed how his degree in Management Science and Engineering influences his outlook on policy, and how it’s informed his concerns around the looming tax reform, especially its impact on graduate students. This episode was recorded one day before the House voted to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Bill, so we hope you find our conversation timely and useful.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on November 15, 2017 at The United States House of Representatives. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Harold Varmus: on reforming the culture of science

The Science Soapbox team always values an opportunity to talk with someone who brings multiple perspectives on science policy. So we were obviously thrilled to lend our soapbox to Dr. Harold Varmus, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, previous head of the National Institutes of Health from 1993-1999, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 2000 – 2010, and head of the National Cancer Institute from 2010 – 2015. He currently runs a lab at Weill Cornell Medical College working on the molecular mechanisms behind the spreading of cancer. In this episode, Dr. Varmus shares his insights into setting priorities for a national agency, the purpose of Ph.D. training, and science funding reform.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on July 26, 2017 at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Sabriya Stukes: on unpacking a Ph.D.

Science Soapbox sits down with longtime friend, Dr. Sabriya Stukes. Sabriya received her Ph.D. in microbiology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and is currently the Assistant Director of the Master’s in Translational Medicine program at City College. She has also been a longtime advocate for increasing diversity and awareness in the science fields for women and underrepresented minority communities. In this episode, we chat about the value of graduate science training and the merit of non-academic science careers.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on June 27, 2017 at The Rockefeller University Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.

Ploy Achakulwisut & Geoffrey Supran: on the scientist as activist

Science Soapbox always loves showcasing early career scientists who are making waves in the world of science advocacy. This week’s soapbox belongs to Ploy Achakulwisut and Geoffrey Supran, who have made their mark as scientist-activists helping to lead divestment campaigns at MIT and Harvard University and the #StandUpForScience movement. Ploy is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. Geoffrey is a postdoctoral researcher in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT and in the Department of History of Science at Harvard University. In this episode, we chat about their career development and the need for more scientists to enter into the territory of activism.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on June 27, 2017 at Harvard University’s Science Center. Special thanks to Visager for music. Photo from Amanda Kowalski at ClimateTruth.org

John Holdren: on bridging two cultures

In President Obama’s first Inaugural Address, he pledged to “restore science to its rightful place.” Integral to that promise was Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor and Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP). The Science Soapbox team has long been eager to chat with Dr. Holdren about the role he played in the Obama administration, so we were thrilled to travel up to the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy, where Dr. Holdren is now a professor. In this interview, Dr. Holdren shares his early inspiration for working at the intersection of science and society, his experiences serving President Obama, and his concerns around the current administration’s treatment of science.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on June 27, 2017 at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Special thanks to Patricia McLaughlin for arranging the interview and to Visager for music. Photo from NASA HQ

Jayde Lovell: on the science of marketing and marketing for science

Back in March, her “Deepness” Sylvia Earle said on our podcast: “It’s all about the marketing.” And we took it to heart. Communicating science to the public is a key component of the scientific enterprise. So we sat down to chat with Jayde Lovell, who is host of the YouTube channel SciQ and founder of ReAgency, a PR firm focused on “science story telling.” We talk with Jayde about how we can capitalize on the tools of marketing to promote science and why it is so important for scientists to understand the media.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:

This episode was recorded on June 7, 2017 in the Rockefeller University Library. Special thanks to Visager for music.