March 12, 2013

How food tastes in space



Way back in 2008 I came across a video featuring Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explaining to kids how a space toilet works.

I was impressed with the simplicity of his explanation, his use of humor, and his way of making science accessible, all in under two minutes.

Since then he's become quite a celebrity, most recently joining the Barenaked Ladies and the Chieftains in live musical performances from his post on the International Space Station.

Today I came across another of his videos, this time explaining how food tastes in space, and why it's hard to taste food when astronauts first arrive in space. Once again, a simple explanation, complete with props -- snacks sent up to the ISS from his fellow Canadians.

Science (finance, medicine, law, etc.) doesn't need to be boring to lay audiences. It also doesn't need to be complicated. If you want to get your message across to the widest audience, keep it simple. Not dumbed-down. Just simple. (Also see Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's engaging way of talking astrophysics.)

It's no coincidence that you see a lot of these two men, and other experts like them. Which interview would you rather watch: A boring, dry, pompous scientist who can't connect with the audience and spews nothing but statistics and data, or an engaging, approachable, unpretentious scientist who's passionate about her topic and wants everyone else to feel the same way?

Want to get those interviews, conference presentation slots and public appearances? Be real, approachable, understandable and fun!

Who are your favorite science, political, legal, and medical experts who are great at getting their message across? Share in the comments!

2 comments. Please add yours! :

Peter Billingham said...

Hi Lisa - have you ever come across @ProfBrianCox? He is a scientific celebrity here in the UK for doing exactly what you say - taking something of a technical nature, making it really simple and engaging to watch and listen to - people here love him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qwgfU228clE

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for the tip, Peter. I'll check him out!

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