drury, sara explains

NSF Funds Rhetoric/Chemistry Efforts to Translate Science

In an era of climate change, disease outbreaks, and rapidly advancing technology, understanding science is more important than ever. Yet scientists and the general public often don’t seem to speak the same language.

Teaching Wabash students how to bridge that communications divide is the goal of two Wabash professors whose work was recently funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

wysocki2Assistant Professor of Chemistry Laura Wysocki (left) and Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Sara Drury (above) were awarded a two-year, $208,954 grant by the NSF to study and develop ways of teaching the effective communication of scientific research.

Wysocki and Drury plan to create modules in chemistry classes that will enable chemistry majors to translate complex concepts or results into understandable terms for the general public. They also hope to increase the ability of non-science majors to understand the importance of research and evidence in public decision-making.

“This grant focuses on an interdisciplinary, liberal arts effort to connect chemistry and rhetoric inside and outside Wabash courses,” says Professor Drury. “Communicating scientific knowledge is an important part of addressing public problems in our society. We’ll provide opportunities for Wabash chemistry students to learn, practice, and apply science communication practices whether they are majoring in chemistry or taking a chemistry course as part of the liberal arts and science curriculum at Wabash College.”