Science communication (SciComm) is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, stemming in part from a desire to boost public engagement with cutting edge research that is often only made accessible to experts. Across the globe, more academics are engaging in public-facing science communication, through media such as journalism, documentaries, podcasts, art exhibits and even stand-up comedy.
Boasting tens of thousands of university science students, a burgeoning industrial science sector and a popular not-for-profit science centre that looms over False Creek like a futuristic golf ball, Vancouver is undoubtedly a city of nerds. Thankfully, the city offers a number of platforms through which science enthusiasts can share their passion with the public.
We’ve provided a list of some of the city’s most innovative and entertaining science communication events. Why not get involved yourself?
On your marks? Set? Go! Each competitor in the Science Slam has five minutes on stage to communicate a scientific idea and compete for the grand title of Science Slam champion. There are also science-themed prizes!
While the speakers are judged on the basis of scientific accuracy and ability to engage the crowd, this is a very relaxed and incredibly supportive night that is held at a variety of exciting venues like UBC’s Beatty Biodiversity Museum and Science World. Past competitors have creatively woven dance into their set, while others have dabbled in hilarious science-themed songwriting and prop comedy.
If you’re keen to compete, drop an email to SciSlamCA@gmail.com. If you fancy coming along to watch, keep an eye on their social media accounts for new updates about their upcoming shows for the 2018/19 season.
How do you improve a night out on the town? New, like-minded friends? Sure! Beer? If you want to! Highly entertaining mini-presentations on a range of scientific topics? Definitely! Nerd Nite Vancouver is the full package.
Hosted monthly at The Fox Cabaret, this is a firm favourite among professional scientists and science enthusiasts alike. Nothing beats escaping the sometimes monotonous world of university lectures like sharing drinks and bantering about cutting-edge knowledge with some of the city’s sharpest minds.
If you’d like to contribute as a speaker, contact the Nerd Nite team via their website. If you just want to watch, drop by as a guest at one of the upcoming events on September 18 at The Rio Theatre, or October 24 at The Fox Cabaret.
This is a very popular podcast that features stories from anybody who has been affected or influenced by science, be it academics, industrial scientists, comedians, or artists — you get the gist! The one golden rule of Story Collider is for the audience not to learn anything new about science. This is because the focus of the talks is not to educate, but to share stories about how science has impacted your life. This has resulted in the production of hundreds of talks that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes silly and always inspiring.
Story Collider hosts shows across the world, but often visits Vancouver. If you’d like to share your science story, apply online. In the meantime, why not catch up on their podcasts?
Sometimes, scientific ideas can seem inaccessible and difficult to digest. Thankfully, coffee helps the digestion process! At Cafe Scientifique Vancouver, experts volunteer their time to speak about their research and chat to non-experts and experts alike about the ideas that they think about on a day-to-day basis. Held at Yagger’s Downtown, Cafe Scientifique is a very active group that hosts monthly events with distinguished speakers from a range of scientific disciplines.
Pop along to one of their events, held on the last Tuesday of every month. Contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to join their mailing list and to find out more!
What will you learn when two worlds collide? The Curiosity Collider team believes that the arts, sciences and humanities need not exist as separate entities, and it champions scientists who collaborate with artists and vice-versa. Its Collider Cafe series features speakers who do interdisciplinary work and exhibitions of stunning works that cross the threshold between art and science, creating a meeting of the minds that is not to be missed.
You can submit your idea for a speaker talk or exhibition and get all the details about their upcoming events on the Curiosity Collider website.