Science stories come in many forms, and there are many different mediums one can use, each with its own merits. We asked five different professionals how they approach science storytelling. Here are the videos of the resulting series.
The first time we hear about scientific developments or breakthroughs is frequently through the press. Skilled science journalists are in tune with the twists and turns of scientific discovery and able to translate that into universally understandable words within hours: they are right at the front line of science communication. In this short film, veteran science journalist, Tim Radford, tells us the ‘three great stories in science’ and explains what is, and is not, important when reporting science to the masses.
Running time: 2 m 51 s
Science crops up everywhere: videogames, movies and even romantic novels. But just because the premise of a story may be invented doesn’t give the author free reign to bypass accurate science. When Louisa Young wrote My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2011, the Galaxy Book of the Year Award 2011 and the Wellcome Book Prize 2011), it was very important to her that the science at the heart of the fiction was factual and accurate. In this short film, Louisa touches on her inspiration for the book and her process for creating a romantic novel set amidst the pain of the Great War.
Running time: 2 m 52 s
Being a visual medium, effective communication of science through film relies on the filmmaker being able to conjure up relevant and powerful imagery. This imagery might be literal or metaphorical but it must support the Director’s vision, the story he is trying to tell. In this short film we meet the highly experienced director, Tim Usborne, on the set of his latest documentary for BBC’s Horizon.
Running time: 2 m 54 s
The Internet affords a creative outlet for everyone with an interest in writing. The gap between the thoughts in one’s head and the ability to share those thoughts across the web has, in the last few years, vanished. In this new climate, ideas are liberated into the blogosphere, competing for one’s attention and, in a kind of web-based natural selection, some flourish while others die in the mires of inaccuracy. In this short film, neuroscience blogger, Mo Costandi, provides insights into what makes a successful blog and how a former security guard ended up writing the Guardians Neurophilisophy blog.
Running time: 2 m 39 s
Popular science writing
Popular science writing is one of the most cherished arts in the communication of science. The writer demonstrates the ability to successfully take complex concepts and terminology and weave them into an enthralling narrative, rich with life, drama and story. In this short film bestselling author, Bill Bryson, explains how his passion to understand the world around him led him to tackle A Short History of Nearly Everything, winner of both the Aventis Prize for Science Books 2004 and the Descartes Science Communication Prize 2005.
Running time: 3 m 44 s