The Chairman of the STFC Council, Professor Sir Michael Sterling, set the scene by inspiring us that public engagement is "Good for you, good for your science and good for your career".
We then had a great presentation from Andrew Cohen, the head of science for BBC TV. He stressed the point of knowing your audience, exemplified by the different channels. BBC Four viewers will be actively seeking new knowledge, and are therefore much easier to write for. The challenge is taking people "across the divide" and programmes must be Important, Relevant and Entertaining. There were many clips of great scientific communication, from the "Science of Dr. Who" to Horizon. Our take home tips were to:
- Position the story correctly (BBC4 or BBC1?)
- Aim beyond the scientifically literate
- Support your fellow scientists who engage
- Watch the new film Gravity! (Apparently a great example of science in the public!)