I’m making a pitstop back in scienceville today, in between a few political/social posts I’ve been writing.
I chanced across this great blog called ‘Compound Interest – everyday exploration of chemical compounds‘ – take a look! Infographics abound aplenty. It’s a fantastic resource for chemistry teachers, and a great ‘how to’ example if you’re communicating science of any subject, to any audience. Some of their posts are more technical chemistry, while some are popular science that would be interesting to most. They have downloadable PDFs and posters for sale for a lot of the posts.
Effective communication is definitely one aspect of science that gets a little forgotten sometimes. What’s the point of finding something out if you can’t communicate it to others? For example, this post simply laying out the scientific method from I Fucking Love Science is missing a step 7. And a step 8 (don’t get me wrong, I fucking love I Fucking Love Science, I think it does a lot to further knowledge of our world for the general public who didn’t study science at school or uni). I’m nitpicking, because I Fucking Love Science is about science communication to the masses, and so a simplified visual like this gets the point across. But right after step 6 “conclusion – experiments show my hypothesis was…”, should be step 7 with “submit research for peer review” and step 8 “communicate research – submit to a journal, make a press release, blog about it, etc”. The point being, that ‘step 8’ is really important, and people need to know how to do it effectively.
*edit: IFLS did another scientific method post just after the one I talk about above, which I like much better!
Compound Interest definitely shows how to communicate it effectively; here are a few good example posts:
- A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science – This should be on the wall of every science classroom.
- Toxicity & Aphrodisia – The Chemistry of Chocolate – A bit of popular science.
- The Colours & Chemistry of pH Indicators – This is a perfect compilation. I wish I had this in my lab when I was a lab technician a few years back.
For a comparison:
- This is how all our chemistry teachers’ diagrams looked (click to go to the full-size image):
- This is how Compound Interest displays the same thing (click to go to the full-size image):
Which do you prefer?
Come to think of it, Compound Interest is actually a lot like The Oatmeal – sure, The Oatmeal is a lot more wordy and a lot less sciency, but the topics is does cover are presented extremely effectively using bold visuals interspersed with succinct text.
My favourites from The Oatmeal are the grammar posts (I may be biased since I teach English occasionally), which can be purchased as posters and I think should be on the wall of every English classroom across the world. Matthew Inman (author of The Oatmeal) is fairly eclectic in his writing- some of his other great posts cover:
- why Christopher Columbus was actually a bit of an asshole,
- how to suck at your religion (and how not to), and
- The Blerch (a.k.a. why he runs).
So why am I not blogging using visuals?