SfN18: Telling Stories of Science

Guest post by Kayt Sukel 

There’s an old Hopi proverb: “Those who tell the stories rule the world.”

In today’s world, where science seems to often get short shrift, Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at New York University and a member of the Dana Alliance, believes that storytelling can be a powerful tool for scientists to share, teach, and connect with the world outside their laboratories. She convened the second storytelling session at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting this year, recruiting scientists and science educators like Monica Feliu-Mojer, director of communications and science outreach at Ciencia Puerto Rico; Rachel Yehuda, director of the traumatic stress studies division at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine; Paula Croxson, senior manager for education programs at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute; Jean Mary Zarate, senior editor at Nature Neuroscience; and Uri Hasson, professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, to discuss why stories can be so compelling—and what they can offer the average budding neuroscientist. Part storytelling event and part scientific presentation, each participant demonstrated how personal narratives can transform science communication in different ways.

Monica Feliu-Mojer tackled the elephant in the room with the first presentation in the session, “Who Speaks for Science?”  Continue reading

braiNY Storytelling Now on Podcast

As part of braiNY (the NYC celebration of Brain Awareness Week), Story Collider hosted an evening of brain awareness-themed storytelling in Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to attend the event and my recap was featured on this blog.

Now you, too, can listen to many of these often humorous and inspiring tales for free through podcasts on the Story Collider website. Specifically look for Stuart Firestein, Andrew Revkin, and Paula Croxson (who also helped to organize the event), among the many available podcasts.

Story Collider regularly hosts storytelling events with a science angle.

– Ann L. Whitman

World Science Festival: Why We Tell Stories

Watch the video below. What do you see?

If you are like most people (117 out of 120 in the original study), these shapes tell a story. Humans are primed to see a narrative, even when the characters involved are shapes. We experience pleasure “even watching this really rudimentary fiction,” said Dr. Jonathan Gottschall at a World Science Festival event. Dr. Gottschall’s work explores the connections between science and the humanities.

Dr. Gottschall was joined at the event, “Why We Tell Stories: The Science of Narrative,” by novelists Jeffrey Eugenides and Joyce Carol Oates, psychologists Keith Oatley and Paul Bloom, and moderator Jay Allison.

Continue reading

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