10 September 2018

“Nobody ever told me to engage with school groups and public audiences,” Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan said during her ‘Science Friday @Stellenbosch’ talk at CREST on 7 September 2018. “It was just something I intuitively knew was important to do!”

Professor Chinsamy-Turan is a palaeobiologist from the University of Cape Town, and has an A-rating from the National Research Foundation. She firmly believes that scientists have an obligation to engage with society, but it is also evident that she values and enjoys the contact with people from all walks of life. She shared the highlights of her science engagement activities over the years, including her popular books, media engagements, public talks and her involvement in science centres and open online courses.

Here are her top tips for effective science engagement:

  • Use easy-to-understand language, but don’t ever talk down to your audience
  • Capitalise on ‘hot topics’ that are currently in the news
  • Visit schools, but also bring schools groups into your lab
  • Help schools to brighten up classrooms by providing free downloadable posters. See, for example, downloadable science posters from UCT
  • Promote new scientific publications via press releases, but also consider creating an online video or a visual abstract
  • Write a popular book about your research
  • Go online – extend your reach via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and similar networks
  • Think about presenting a MOOC (massive open online course)
  • Always, tell a good story!

Follow her on Twitter: @palaeo_prof