Colloquium: March 1, 2016

The Art and Science of Science Communication

Steven Novella

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 2:00 P.M. in the Pearl Young Theater
(video within Langley firewall only)


Scientific and critical thinking literacy is essential in a modern democratic society. While formal education is essential to the goal of scientific literacy, most information is consumed outside of this setting. Science communicators fill a critical role in the public understanding and acceptance of science, and face numerous challenges. These include translating technical information so that it is understandable by a non-expert without sacrificing accuracy, creating excitement without hype, and countering misinformation and pseudoscience popular in the public domain. The lecture will cover examples of the best and worst of science communication, the challenges faced, opportunities and the skills required to face these challenges.


Dr. Steven Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. He is the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. He is the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. He is also a senior fellow and Director of Science-Based Medicine at the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine. Dr. Novella is also the founder, executive editor, and regular contributor to Science-Based Medicine, a blog dedicated to issues of science and medicine. He also authors The NeuroLogicaBlog which covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society.