Here’s NASA’s Dr. Gavin Schmidt in “The Secret Life of Scientists” (NOVA) revealing how he started juggling in high school to impress girls. . . and how that worked out. The other clips on his PBS/NOVA page are a bit more serious, but equally impressive as models of effective communication: a 30-second “elevator speech” describing his climate modeling work, an example of the great metaphors Gavin uses so effectively to explain climate science, a quick and funny Q&A, and more.
In a sign that science agencies have finally awakened to the need for professional incentives and recognition for communication, not just research, the American Geophysical Union recently awarded Gavin it’s first “Climate Communications Prize.” For his “excellence in climate communication,” AGU will soon hand Gavin a check for $25,000.
Dr. Schmidt has been the driving force behind RealClimate.com, which gives voice to actual climate scientists amidst all the noise in the blogosphere. RealClimate quickly became the “go to” place for reliable and accessible information on hot topics.
Learn more about Gavin’s research (no mention of juggling or girls, however) his NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies page, and about his “characteristic knack for explaining complex scientific issues with clarity and wit” at RealClimate’s tribute.
Like in our previous post featuring Katharine Hayhoe, the essential points for communicators is this: Before you launch into your spiel about climate change, first make a personal connection. Reveal something human, let the audience get to know you a bit, reach for some common values, and draw them in with a good story.