Worldcon Talk: How to Effectively Talk About Science to Non-Scientists

My talk was Friday morning at 10am, on the title given above. This wasn’t my choice– when I volunteered to be on programming, I said some general areas that I’d be willing to talk about, and left it at that. Somebody else made up the title and description for the talk, which made it very slightly like PowerPoint Karaoke. Happily, this is a topic I can easily discourse about, but I think in the future I’ll try to remember to suggest more specific talk titles…

I’ve posted the slides for the talk on SlideShare, and will attempt embedding them below:

(I hope that doesn’t break the blog…)

This is an image-heavy set of slides, as the last portion of the talk consists mostly of images representing various science-related books and media. You can more or less guess what would be said about them. The “Bunnies Made of Cheese” slide embeds an audio clip of the CNET Buzz podcast dramatic reading of the blog post, which I played on the tablet holding a microphone up to the speaker. The final text in the book is very slightly different, but it gets the key idea across without me having to do the dog voice forty minutes into the presentation.

The talk went very well, I thought (the usual oh-God-there-isn’t-a-projector panic aside– they got it there in plenty of time). I got some good questions afterwards, and continued the discussion out in the hall with a few people, which is always a good sign.

Other than that, Worldcon is, well, Worldcon. Half the freakin’ world is here, but I’ve seen a bunch of people I know, had a couple of good dinners, gone to some good parties, etc.. The “Philosophy of Science” panel is this morning, and Sunday evening is the panel on science blogging, both of which will revisit parts of the material from this talk, I’m sure.