Science communication comes in a large array of shapes and sizes. Like the stuff for kids – where you go into schools, pretend your job is great and try not to say the word “fuck”. Then, there is the type of razzle dazzle science communication which is science reduced to “oh” and “ah” demonstrations regularly seen at science fairs and in schools. Sure, it’s fun to watch but it’s the product of a much deeper ability and commitment than we give it credit for; akin to watching a classical musician play the Mario theme tune. Science communication among scientists is actually, most of the time, very, very boring. The daily chatter between scientists about science is concise and impersonal, like an autistic child calling you fat, and their papers in peer reviewed journals are clinical and wordy, like lit-erotica written by a lonely gynecologist.
At scientific conferences you get to see the faces behind science and realize that they look weird and unhealthy. Conferences are amazing places; they are glorified piss ups with people who are clever enough to have convinced other people that they are really clever. If you are attending a conference remember that nothing says “I want you to think I’m really really clever but I have crippling self doubt” more, than a quick succession of 15 illegible power point slides in a 10 minute presentation; bonus points for going over time so you don’t have to answer any questions. Furthermore, use terms like “furthermore”, “thus” and “moreover” a lot.
So here I go, joining the multitude of science communicators providing background noise to the process of science. There is absolutely no good reason to listen to what I have to say. Although, like a toddler in a cafe, if I make noise regularly enough, surely someone will listen.