That’s how we know you’re not a scientist!



“No methods or control.” (h/t @Schrokit)

Apparently, that’s how we know I’m not a scientist. To be fair, I never claimed I was a scientist. But I think that ‘not being a scientist’ is why I enjoyed speaking at the Spot On London science fest so much, alongside my wonderful WonkComms co-collaborators Leonora Merry and Nick Scott.

The instant feedback you get as a speaker, if you take a second to check twitter on your phone while you’re on a panel, can be great. Looking at the expressions on the faces of your audience can tell you something, but scanning ten tweets can tell you a lot more. Admittedly, it requires a little multi-tasking, but I think that extra engagement is worth trying.

During our Q&A, brilliant chaired by surely the most charismatic man in the world of science, I got asked a question about networking. To be honest, I’d already said all I had to say on the topic, so I went a bit off script.

We’d all been given name badges with gadgets in them that allowed us to ‘tap’ each other and electronically exchange contact details. Revolutionary: the end of the business card is nigh! Or… maybe not. Imagine, if you will, 200 scientists attempting to ‘tap’ each other. Awkward. Then imagine doing it without making some inappropriate innuendo; easier said than done. So, in front of an audience of scientists, I proposed an experiment. I took off my badge, handed it to someone in the front row and allowed it to roam free around the conference.

Sixty five taps later, it returned on its journey and was placed back on my lapel. The moral of the story? Engage. As on twitter, as in life.

“Where’s the negative control for that experiment?” asked Becky. Errr, I’ll get back to you on that one.

Richard Darlington is Head of News at IPPR
(for the avoidance of doubt, he is not a scientist)

Catch up on Richard Darlington’s slides from the event

Catch up on the debate with Sarah Chapman‘s storify


WonkComms Original: founder and editorial board member

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One comment on “That’s how we know you’re not a scientist!
  1. Duncan says:

    Doesn’t that rather rule out Newton (gravity), Einstein (relativity) and Bohr (theory of the atom)? Oops.

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