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Workshop on science journalism and communication

Abstract: “It is suicidal to create a society dependent upon science and technology in which hardly anybody knows anything about science and technology”, Carl Sagan, the eminent science writer once said. Today, with the rapid developments in science and technology impacting the society and environment we live in, the community at large is fast realizing the need and importance of science, technology and environment journalism and communication and public awareness and engagement in such issues. Science communication involves communicating science in a professional (journals, seminars, conferences) as well as popular (science journalism, public understanding and learning of science for better science policy decisions) context. It is mandatory for scientists in US to communicate their work and its significance to the common public as per National Science Foundation (NSF). Also, science journalism and communication is growing as a specialist field of scientific expertise and as a creative and lucrative profession/career option for science/engineering graduates, but this field suffers from a paucity of talent all across the globe - people who would bring facts to public and stimulate public debates over areas that have a direct effect on our world. The workshop is a three-to-four hour event, starting with a basic introduction to science journalism and communication and its need and significance. It shall focus on following points: a) b) c) d) What is science journalism and communication all about Various modes and means of effective science communication - interface of science and media Why is this field gaining importance in India and abroad What challenges exist and what are the career opportunities for science/engineering graduates in this field (vocation and avocation) e) How can students get started into this field right away through freelancing or other means (with examples of background from which some eminent people in this field come from) Various modes of journalism/communication– print (magazines/ newspapers/popular science books), video (documentaries/ TV shows), audio (radio scripts), science cartoons, public debates shall be taken as examples to bring to light the need for different modes depending on the audience and the content. It shall contain exercises for better popular and professional communication and also the analysis of science news (print and video) clips from various newspapers/ magazines/ TV channels. About the speaker: Mohit Kumar Jolly is the Co-founder and Student Coordinator of NERD (www.iitk.ac.in/nerd) – the campus science and technology magazine of IIT Kanpur. He is the only Indian engineering student to present a paper on science communication at the 6th International Conference on Hands-on Science (HSCI 2009). He has interviewed more than 50 eminent scientists/engineers all across including Dr. M. Chalfie (Nobel Laureate, 2008, Chemistry), Dr. R. Langer (the most cited engineer in history), Dr. R. Chidambaram (Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt. of India) and Dr. G. Padmanabhan (ex-Director, IISc Bangalore). He has conducted similar workshops at the annual technical festivals of IIT Kanpur (Techkriti’10), IIT Delhi (Tryst’10) and IIT Rajasthan (Nimble’10), and also at the first national level UG conference- ICARUS’10, and IISER Pune. Who can attend? Any student, undergraduate or postgraduate, from any discipline- NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE NEEDED – Just be enthusiastic!