Plenary speakers include Nancy Shute (Editor in chief of Science News), Fernando Baptista (Senior Graphics Editor, National Geographic), Dr. Callan Bentley (Geology professor, blogger, and contributing Editor for EARTH magazine), Jen Christiansen (Senior Graphics Editor at Scientific American), Dr. Kirk Johnson (Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and paleontologist), and Liz Neeley (Executive Director of The Story Collider, a science story telling production company specializing in live shows and podcasts).

Monday, July 16, 2018

@1018, courtesy Ella Maru Studio

A skyrmion swirls among the atoms of a magnetic material. Here, cones point in the direction of each atom’s magnetization. Skyrmions come in several types; this one, a Néel skyrmion, is found in thin materials.

Nancy Shute

Visualizing Science Journalism In The YouTube Era

High-quality visuals can power people’s engagement with science, and that’s especially true in journalism, where science is all too often treated as a niche beat, and editors don’t always get the picture. We’ll discuss how to make the case for visual storytelling and how to get it funded.

©2014, Daniela Santamarina

Fernando Baptista working on the model for a gatefold graphic about Trajan's Column.

Fernando Gomez Baptista

Science Visualization at National Geographic

Fernando Baptista, renowned artist from National Geographic Magazine, will share his process, challenges, and successes creating science visualization graphics. Transforming complex concepts into clear compelling visuals for the readers requires more than what one would think, often involving a specialized team, traveling offsite, numerous sketches and models, and an absolute obsession for detail. Fernando will talk about how he balances traditional and digital art techniques, and share his approach of innovating his art through stop motion animation, paper modeling, and interactive online graphics, all culminating into how he creates award-winning graphics that combine science, journalism and art.

Modified (by CB) from Rene Magritte's "The Treachery of Images" and NASA's Blue Marble.

It's not a planet. It's a picture of a planet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Callan Bentley

Visualization in Geology: a brief history, best practices, & dispatches from the future

Callan Bentley will present an overview of visualization in geoscience, including a brief history with key milestones in the science. He will give examples of best practices and dispatches from the future of digital media, an area in which he has been leading the development of new resources for teaching and outreach.

Jan Willem Tulp (graphic) and Jessica Huppi (illustrations)

"Detail from "Trillions of Insects Migrate," in Scientific American, April 2017. (Source: “Mass Seasonal Bioflows of High-Flying Insect Migrants.

Jen Christiansen

Visualizing Science: Illustration and Beyond

Where does the illustrator end, and the infographer begin? How does data visualization fit in? And what does science have to say about the design decisions we make? With the goal of strengthening connections between communities, Jen Christiansen hopes to get folks thinking about what they can learn from—and teach to—different visual sub-disciplines within the broader orb of science communication.

©2007 Ray Troll

Cover plate from "Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway", An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-Mile Paleo Road Trip

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kirk R. Johnson

Fossils, Lost Worlds, and the Hero's Journey

Scientific storytelling is presently undergoing a golden age as we realize how important narrative, imagery, objects, humor, and surprise are to the absorption of meaning. Fossils are exquisite objects but they are also fragments of very ancient stories, and paleontologists are time travelers on planet earth. Dr. Johnson became a paleontologist to explore these lost worlds. But “fossil” can also be a derogatory term and he found that many people were bored by rocks. He began to watch people to see how they responded to scientific information. Using their cues, he learned he could make fossils funny or describe geology in terms of food without losing the thread of insight. He began to write like he spoke. He realized you need to look at your audience, respect them, and look for what makes them smile. In 1998, he began to travel with artist Ray Troll in search of fossils, rock shops and museums, and to meet the people who found fossils and worked at those rock shops and museums. They spent ten years traveling together searching for the remains of the prehistoric Pacific. Dr. Johnson will share the story of their quest and the book which came out of it.

(c) The Story Collider, courtesy Michael Bonfigli

Liz Neeley on The Story Collider stage, Busboys & Poets, Washington DC.

Liz Neeley

Storytelling for Eyes, Ears, Brains, and Minds.

The field of science communication is striving to become more scientific, challenging professionals to ground their practices in academic theories and follow evidence-based best practices. And yet, compared to evidence-based communication, it seems to be the delicious case that stories - these profoundly subjective, emotional, aesthetic things - are demonstrably more effective in engagement, education, and persuasion. Liz will start at the interface of art and science, wrestle with tensions between theory and practice, and explore ideas about the power of narratives that manifest across storytelling formats and modes.