Are you a scientist who’s excited about your work, and interested in sharing that excitement with others? Do you want to help people have a serendipitous encounter with how cool the natural world is? Is there a public transportation system near you?
Then join us for #ScienceTrain, a day of mobile Ask-A-Scientist events! The first #ScienceTrain took place over the summer, comprised of three astronomers riding the C train on a Saturday afternoon in NYC. This time around, we would like to open it up to any scientists who want to join in, wherever they happen to be.
If you are in NYC, #ScienceTrain will take place the afternoon of this coming Sunday, October 27, and we will meet up at Die Stammkneipe/ Der Schwarze Kölner at 5pm for post-#ScienceTrain celebrating!
What you need:
- Yourself and a friend, preferably with a similar scientific background. ScienceTrain seems to go best with people working in pairs (one pair per car).
- A sign. We found that putting a few questions on the sign to draw people in is helpful, so pick some intriguing ones from your discipline (just putting open-ended statements or prompting people to make up their own question turned out to be intimidating, as people were concerned with coming up with a “good” question). Whether you can hang the sign or not depends on what the rules are for your transportation system, so use your best judgment.
- Patience and respect. Lots of people may want to talk to you, or no one might. Their questions might be interesting, or nuts. To participate, you just need to be willing to engage with others and talk to them about science, but you should also be mindful that they might not want to talk to you, and that’s fine too. Moreover, be considerate of the fact that the public transportation system is not actually a science museum, so if the car is getting crowded, or you are in people’s way either physically or metaphorically, hop off and ride a different train/bus/bike/whatever.
- Optional: writing implements and outreach materials (flyers, pictures, etc). Last time, we brought some mini whiteboards with us and dry erase markers, as well as some Zooniverse flyers. We ended up not using the whiteboards much (flailing hand gestures are much more fun!), but we did give away the flyers to anyone interested in learning more.
If you’re planning to join in #ScienceTrain, either here or elsewhere, please feel free to let me know! I’m @shaka_lulu on Twitter, or you can be in touch using the form below.