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Article for Webinar #3

Meridian Watters

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Meridian Watters

Dear LATP Associates,

We've got a really exciting webinar on outreach and advocacy coming up in less than two weeks on Tuesday, October 28.  You'll be able to apply what you learn from this webinar to make an incredible difference for neuroscience in your home communities.

Our webinar host, Dr. Gladys Maestre, has suggested that each of you read this article and reply to this post with your thoughts and any questions you would like her to address during the webinar on Tuesday, October 28th.

Remember to plan accordingly for your time zone:

Bogota, Colombia (COT): 11:30am Queretaro, Mexico (CDT): 11:30am Caracas, Venezuela (VET): 12:00pm Washington, DC (EDT) 12:30pm Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (BRT): 1:30pm

Please contact me if you are unsure which time you should tune in.


You won't want to miss this! Meridian

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Joel Acevedo, PhD
Outreach and advocacy
19 de octubre de 2014
Public dissemination of science matters
I like so much this theme because in my country, sometimes in television and newspapers, occurred the misinformation.
Recently in a public discussion, about the marijuana, a politician Dr. Ricky Roselló, Dr. In biomedic, and the lawyer Shadiff Repullo, leader in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana, discussed in a radio and tv morning show about the marijuana advantages and disadvantages.
In the discussion the lawyer said synapses arise in brains of people who smoke marijuana and that showed no damage. Obviously the lawyer has an incomplete and poorly interpreted information because the fact that manifest synapses not evidence if a behavior is good or bad. Synapses arises as a neural process that the only thing that shows is a learning process, which can be good as bad. Dr. Roselló corrects it and explains the process correctly.
The article is very important to us as researchers because it gives us a clear notion as lead us publicly. The article gives us a clear responsibility of how to manage and disseminate scientific information. Above all, liked me that referred to the uncertainty since the information we provide as researchers depends on many factors so that it is accurate. Finally, the examples provided on the tv series are very relevant because it separates fiction from scientific reality.
This is the link

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Hello, I enjoyed the article very much. The opening paragraph of the article clearly states the main reason why many scientist do not participate in science dissemination. Time is a valuable resource in research, yet I consider that advocacy and outreach should be something that every student or researcher should do.

Taking into account that most research investment is made with public funds there is a responsibility with the whole society of not only making available the final product of research (e.g. articles, patents or books) but also improving the public scientific understanding of the world so far. An important feature of the scientific enquire is critical thinking, a tool that can be applied at any aspect of human activity in order to improve it. I fully agree with the state made by professor Eagleman regarding "a responsibility in the intellectual makeup of our countries."

Now a few questions that come to my mind are: how to create spaces and channels for the exchange of ideas between scientific community and society? And, how to gain spaces for science and debate in the media?.

Another issue is how to make a career in advocacy and outreach, as it is a possibility for job outside academia that has a great impact on society too.

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I found the paper very interesting as it clearly states the relevance of science communication. I think that an important point to make is to point out the difficulties in this matter, in order to create strategies to more effectively reach our goal of educating the public.


I listed some of the difficulties I see in this field and made a few suggestions to overcome these difficulties:


  • Language barrier: scientists sometimes get so used to technical terms that they forget to simplify their language when talking to non-scientists. The first step would be to simply acknowledged that fact and keep it in mind when talking to the general public. Universities could help by educating scientists to talk to the public.


  • Time and resource: as pointed out by the paper, public outreach demands time and money. Maybe an idea would be if funding agencies and universities requiered the results to be published to the general public (in addition to the publication in scientific journals) and also gave benefits to the scientists that did so. For that effect, it would be important to create more ways to communicate science to the general public. I think Universities, other organiztions and even individual scientists should create more means (such as magazines, papers or websites) dedicated to publish reliable scientific information to the general public. Several websites try to do that, but frequently the information is unreliable and incorrect.


  • Poor education: Here in Brazil (and prbably in most places in Latin America) basic education, and science education in particular, are far behind what they should be. As a consequence, people tend to dislike science and have many difficulties in understanding scientific information. A suggestion for that would be to give special attention to science outreach to children and adolescents. Also, scientists could find a way to help, or advise their local governments on how to improve science education.


  • Lack of resources and value to scientists: In Brazil (and maybe in the rest of Latin America) science is frequently underfunded. Moreover due to the lack of education and the fact that science does not always give imediate results, many people (and even the governement!) tend to view science as unimportant, without practical value or even a waste of time. That diminishes public interest in scientiffic information. That would only be solved with proper education, but I think scientists could help by demanding proper regulation for the profession and enough funding for research.


Well these are my ideas. Do you agree with any of these points? What other ideas do you have?

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  1. how to get a taxpayer financed our experiments?
  2. how to start a profitable career of researcher?
  3. in point number 2, it concerns to write articles on discussions of relevance such as for example to reduce the penalties to minors because their brain functions are not yet developed?
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Good evening all,

I really enjoyed reading the article as it highlights our moral responsibility as scientists to educate the public on what we do. I hope to gain guidance on how to effectively disseminate information from the webinar. 
“Science is not just about generation of facts; its about opening our eyes to the vastness of our ignorance and sharing the inspiration for further discovery”  

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Hello everyone,  I found the article very useful, since it addresses our responsibility as scientists to help people interpret the world. 

In this regard, I think the 5th reason given by the author for us to engage in public dissemination of science (i.e., clarify what science is and is not) is the most urgent, at least in my country (Brazil).

As Marina Dauar said in her post, here in Brazil we have a lack of good science education and most people don't know exactly what science is or what scientists do. Therefore, providing quality science education to children and adolescents at school age is essential to change this scenario.

However, I'd like know if there's a good way to bring adults closer to the scientific reality and help them shift from common sense to science-based thinking. From my experience, I feel that this is a more time-consuming task than teaching the younger, who are more prone to building up knowledge and changing their points of view.

I’m looking forward to webinar #3!

Best, André 

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Hello, everyone!
I just read this article, and found interesting to discuss the role of disseminating our hopes through general public. Maybe you enjoy reading this article about lobotomy.

Considering how we can inform (and even manipulate) public oppinion, I think we should be aware of this great responsability.

“see” you soon!

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