provided was correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of publication. It is important to remember, however, that information on websites can be transient and is not always validated or verifiable. The reader is urged to follow up with individual guest speakers and their institutions for further clarification of statements made during the workshop or to obtain additional reference materials.
Important Note about Open Discussions: Each chapter in this document ends with a summary of discussion topics introduced by speakers and participants in the immediate session (chapter), as well as all preceding workshop sessions.
The workshop began with an introduction to informal learning and how it relates to chemistry, including how the public obtains scientific information and effective methods used to communicate science more broadly. There were then several panels of speakers focused around media formats and venues where chemistry content is communicated, which form the structure of this document: print, hands-on outreach, museums, video & radio, gaming, and libraries. The workshop ended with a wrap-up panel consisting of four participants, who attended both days of the event and agreed in advance to comment on important messages they heard during the workshop.
Key issues raised during the workshop include the following:
• The deficiency in public understanding of chemistry;
• Chemists’ ability or inability to communicate effectively;
• The need for different approaches to communication for different goals (i.e., promotional, marketing, advocacy, educational);
• The importance of highlighting the human side of chemistry;
• The difficulty in assessing the effectiveness of various communication venues;
• The need for studying and evaluating different approaches to communicating chemistry;
• The importance of formal education in setting the stage for informal interactions with chemistry and chemists;
• The role that technology plays in communicating chemistry in informal environments;
• Losing the “chemistry” when communicating about chemistry applications;
• The need for chemists to connect more with professional writers, artists, or videographers, who know how to communicate with and interest general audiences.
In this session, an introduction to informal education was provided by Kirsten Ellenbogen, Science Museum of Minnesota and member of the National Research Council Committee on Learning Science in Informal Environments. The connection between chemistry and informal education was presented by David Ucko of the National Science Foundation. Stephen Lyons, with Moreno-Lyons Productions, discussed the role of documentary films in communicating science and how chemistry is one of the few fields that have been neglected by informal media sources.
Chemistry in Print
This session focused on the ways chemistry is presented informally through literature, print media, and blogs. John Emsley from the University of Cambridge discussed steps to becoming a science writer and explained how the struggles of a chemistry writer may differ from other types of writers. Ivan Amato of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a former writer and editor at Chemical and Engineering News, pointed out how chemistry is ignored by media, but also discussed the opportunities that exist to highlight chemistry, especially through chemical imagery. Joy Moore from Seed Media Group provided insights into how her company has been using print media and science blogs to promote a better understanding of chemistry.
Local Outreach Efforts
This session included personal experiences from local outreach experts and how they introduce informal science to their communities. Jeanette Brown of the New Jersey American Chemical Society (ACS) local section shared her experience as a chemistry ambassador, conducting hands-on activities at festivals and other events, as well as creating educational resources about African-American chemists. Ruth Woodall of the Nashville ACS local section also discussed being a chemistry ambassador and how she introduces chemistry to public audiences, especially young people. Catherine Conrad from St. Mary’s University presented a very different approach to local outreach called citizen science, where nonscientists help collect real scientific data. Conrad explained how she became involved in citizen science and how it has benefited her research as well as her local community.
Chemistry in Museums
In this session, speakers described various approaches to informal learning of chemistry in museums. Sapna Batish of the Koshland Science Museum showed current exhibits featured at the museum and how chemistry content is incorporated into the exhibits. Susanne Rehn of the Deutsche