Author: Daniel Beverly, PhD candidate studying plant physiology
My Name is Daniel Beverly and I will be running the SciComm blog this week.
I am a fluxer—doing science to understand changes of mass and energy—interested in how plants use water and carbon. However, I am here to focus on how we can better express and communicate science to non-specialist audiences.
Science is a vital tool though it is too often misconstrued with poor communication. My goals for promoting science communication is reducing the stigma of not understanding scientific inquiry. I want to make scientific concepts fun and exciting for vastly different audiences, while trying to alleviate the misconception that science is not for everyone. Secondly, can we (as a community) promote critical thinking on how scientific finding expand our understanding of the world.
A little background about me: I grew up Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was fortunate to have the Garden of the Gods as my backyard, where I would spend time roaming and exploring the park and climbing the rocks (against my mom’s requests). From there, I valued being outside exploring, fishing, and hunting inspiring my interest of biology.
Entering the ecology program looking to study mega-fauna, as everyone does, my interest shifted my sophomore year. I became entranced with plants (physiology) and took a positon as an ecophysiological technician with the Forest Service. I received my BS and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and continued having ecological questions.
Currently, I am working my PhD in hydrology quantifying at how plants influence water movement through ecosystems. Forest transpire upwards of 60% of the water that falls from the sky; however, questions still loom as the remaining precipitation does not add up to the total outputs. This may sound inconsequential, but western United States is highly dependent on mountain water yields for cities and agriculture. Thus, poor communication where the water goes decreases clean water available for water managers and municipalities.
I consider my research to be highly interdisciplinary integrating ecology, hydrology, and geophysics to map water. However, communication about the importance and personal connections to water research is still lacking. Our goal and responsibility as scientist needs to be capturing the abstract with language and art to tell the story of how the world works.
Looking forward for seeing how we can improve science communications, I will be posting about art, science, and communicating science with local communities. For now, I will leave off with a quote my favorite science communicator, Aldo Leopold:
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values [or data] as yet uncaptured by language.”
—Cheers until next time,
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