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Conversation Series: Ask A Biologist and Embryo Project Encyclopedia

October 28, 2019

Author: Elizabeth Dietz

On September 25, 2019, Charles Kazilek, creator of Ask A Biologist and Karla Moeller, Ask A Biologist manager, joined Carolina Abboud and Dina Ziganshina, Embryo Project Encyclopedia editors, for a lunchtime Conversation called “Taking research to classrooms and the general public.” Conversation Series events allow the ASU community to engage in an informal talk with the panelists about an interesting topic that often extends outside of usual academic work. This year the Conversations focus on expanding scientific knowledge to a broader world.

  Ask A Biologist and Embryo Project Encyclopedia are products of ASU faculty,   staff, graduate and undergraduate students. They are available at   http://askabiologist.asu.edu and http://embryo.asu.edu. Both have a global   reach, as well as a local presence. Ask A Biologist had visitors from every   country in the world except the Vatican last year. Embryo Project Encyclopedia   engages with Arizona community through outreach events, while publishing   balanced explanations of controversial topics in reproductive law, medicine,   and ethics. Embryo Project Encyclopedia also receives significant engagement from the UK, India, and Australia.

            The panelists encouraged an audience of staff, faculty, and graduate students to write with a purposeful narrative. They also called to resist the increasing obscurity and inaccessibility of technical scientific writing. Ask A Biologist furthers its scientific accessibility mission both by enlisting translators to make many of its pieces available in up to seventeen different languages and through the PLOSable project, which provides lay summaries of new scientific publications. The Embryo Project Encyclopedia produces rigorously fact checked articles that do not shy away from sensitive topics, privileging objectivity and fact-based accounts that make points of uncertainty clear. The panelists encouraged the audience to think about accessibility in these terms, particularly when writing for an audience of non-native English speakers – do not leave out the people in writing (science, after all, does not just happen), and avoid idioms and euphemisms.

           This was the first Conversation Series of 2019-2020 academic year. Please join us for the following Conversation Series events that continue the theme of expanding the reach of science to broader audiences:

We hope to see you there! In case you cannot attend one of the events or want to catch up on all the previous Conversations, the videos of each event are uploaded here.


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