Science to Story, the second of Professor David Conover’s two courses offered this academic year, examines the translation of science into stories and digital media that successfully engage public attention.
This semester, students began the immersion into science communication by analyzing psychological and behavioral studies relating people to climate change. Early research included an introduction to Dan Kahan’s study on the Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus and Anthony Lieserowitz’s work on the public’s perception of climate change. Furthermore, the class had the opportunity to speak with MIT’s Professor of Atmospheric Science, Kerry Emanuel, as well as with Discovery Channel’s executive producer, Paul Gasek, in order to get a better sense for what real-world challenges arise when communicating science to the public. Students have viewed various films and television shows such as The Day After Tomorrow, Earth Underwater, and the 2014 Emmy Award winning television series Years of Living Dangerously, analyzing these productions for their accuracy and effectiveness in conveying climate science.
Throughout the course of the semester, students have taken a creative approach to filming and editing and will continue to practice setting up green screen shoots and interviews as they prepare for a major final production. The class has spent time filming at the Coastal Studies Center working with Marine Biology Professors David Carlon and Sarah Kingston. While scientific accuracy and creativity are paramount, students are encouraged to take strong consideration of who their audience is and how the tones and undertones of their productions shape the way viewers connect with the scientific concepts being presented.
Perspectives on Climate Change is an early semester submission by Emi Gaal ‘15.