Can Bill Nye – Or Any Other Science Show – Really Save The World?

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Will Bill Nye’s new show find a wider audience than Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘Cosmos’ did? Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

By: Heather Akin, University of Pennsylvania; Bruce W. Hardy, Temple University; Dietram A. Scheufele, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dominique Brossard, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Netflix’s new talk show, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” debuted the night before people around the world joined together to demonstrate and March for Science. Many have lauded the timing and relevance of the show, featuring the famous “Science Guy” as its host because it aims to myth-bust and debunk anti-scientific claims in an alternative-fact era.

But are more facts really the kryptonite that will rein in what some suggest is a rapidly spreading “anti-science” sentiment in the U.S.?

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Saving Science Education: What Can Parents Do?

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That’s my boy…touching a real brain!

It was a cool January night and my two boys were ready for bed when I said I had a surprise for them. They were going to see Jupiter that night, and they seemed genuinely excited.

We grabbed our binoculars and ran outside. I watched as they stood in the driveway staring at the little white dot just to the left of the full moon. It took only ten minutes, but that night they realized science was more than just something you read about in books; it was real and it is everywhere.

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Understanding & Respecting the Connection Between Teaching and Research

UTC students collecting giant water bugs to study mating and parental care behavior. The work was recently published in the journal Ethology and the students were co-authors on the publication.

UTC students collecting giant water bugs to study mating and parental care behavior. The work was recently published in the journal Ethology and the students were co-authors on the publication.

I started my new job as Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communication at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in January.

One of the most surprising things about this school is that its professors and students are doing amazing research, but the research hasn’t been widely shared or promoted. I desperately want to remedy the situation. Continue reading

Broader Impact Statements: Are Researchers Thinking Broadly Enough?

shutterstock_210478717

Shutterstock 210478717

I’m working on a project focused on helping Georgia Tech faculty access the information and support they may need to help write more effective broader impact statements for National Science Foundation grant proposals. I started this work by doing some research of my own to find out what resources currently exist, and if there are examples of best practices.

I came across an interesting masters thesis, written by Sarah Wiley of The Ames Laboratory. She took a deep dive into a stack of NSF grant proposals to see what researchers were actually proposing to meet the broader impact criterion. It seems many are simply listing the things they already do – like teach, present at conferences and publish papers. Continue reading