What is it that scientists do all day while they are watching their shrimp walk on a treadmill? How do scientists know how Tyrannosaurus may have chewed or ran? How do they know if a molecule will work as a drug to target some disease? Scientists often find it difficult to translate their work’s importance to the public in a way they can understand without losing some of its content. Often “laypeople” are left confused with what looks like a waste of money in the name of big science.
So, how can the general public learn more about the inner workings of a research laboratory? Perhaps the key is to train student researchers early in their careers on how to write about science to the average person.
As a social experiment this year, members of the Holliday lab will try to bridge this gap by writing their own short pieces on relevant and interesting science.
By learning to translate often wonky, jargon-laden research to more palatable, engaging prose, lab members will hope to shed light on what happens in our lab, what questions we are asking, what discoveries we hope to make, and most importantly, why anyone should care.
Of course, this should help the writers learn about science as well. Although the lab focuses on Vertebrate Functional Anatomy and Evolution, do not be surprised if other topics creep in.