By: Sam Sander Effron
Last week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science(AAAS) held their Annual Meetingin Washington D.C., where thousands of participants endorsed the meeting’s theme of “Science Transcending Boundaries”. This was the first AAAS meeting that I attended, and the most densely scheduled weekend I’ve voluntarily subjected myself to. Over the course of four long days in a Marriott hotel, we gathered and discussed, networked and debated, presented and listened. We traveled to D.C. from countries all around the world and represented nearly every scientific and communicative discipline. Our professions comprised journalists, researchers, digital media producers, professors, media relations officers, photographers, science advocates, podcasters, students, and policymakers—and that’s just of the people that I personally met.
The central goal of the meeting was to explore the many facets of science communication to engage the public, policymakers, and our own target audiences alike. To do this, we shared stories, asked questions, and engaged in small session discussions to learn from one another and practice these techniques. In this 3-part series, I will explore the following main ideas of this conference: the collectivity of science, the intersection of science and policy, and the complexity of science communication. With some personal reflection on my takeaways from the meeting, I will delve into the interface of science and the public, and its implications for society as a whole.