How many people do you know outside the scientific world that appreciates scientific blogs or websites? How many of them look for news or trends besides what the media usually broadcasts? As a life science researcher, I was always interested in new discoveries, while most people around me showed no interest at all.
During my academic life, I got closer to people that had the same interests as me and I felt like I had found my people. The only problem was that the gap between me and people not sensible to my studying field in life science was getting wider.
This distance between scientific and non-scientific worlds bothered me a lot. It reached a point where I started making up funny analogies about my research in an attempt to approach lay people to it. With this strategy I did not mean to decrease the importance of my research, On the contrary, it was a simple and fun way to explain complicated things.
As a biologist, I studied agonistic behaviour in crustaceans during most part of my academic life. Well, the term “agonistic behaviour” is not very popular, so I came up with a metaphor. I used to say:
– Have you ever heard about cockfights? Well, that is exactly what I do. Except I use lobsters. And it is legal.
It worked. As soon as I tried to talk a “non-scientific” language, people around me started to get interested and ask more questions about what I was researching. With time, talking about science became a fun topic instead of the boring and complicated explanation everyone was used to.
As much as I would like to take the merit of reconquering the interest of many people, the idea of transforming science into something softer was not mine. Many communication channels use fun in order to approach people to scientific discoveries. This is not only a strategy embedded by scientists but also is the identity of many scientific blogs and websites.
A good exemple of this is Wired. At Wired you can get updated on the most different news including life science. Not only, Wired has an especial section called Absurd Creatures showing the most bizzare aspects of wild animals with humour.
The strategy of telling a funny story filled with scientific content works amazingly. Not only Wired, but many other channels use this in a way to approach the audience and transform a complex content into something effortless.
We don’t have to think about funny scientific stories while writing a paper. However, the way we communicate at presentations and share our main findings can be a little more fun. Can you imagine how science would be if we made all scientific information easy and fun to understand?