Day One  |  Day Two  |  Day Three

Located in room 1005 Beckman Institute, unless noted. Schedule subject to revision.

Day zero

Participants will receive Assignment No. 1 via email. Due at 5 p.m. Friday, April 5.


Day one

5-6 p.m.

Dinner; meet and greet

6-6:15 p.m.

Sandra: Welcome and Course Overview

    • Why science communication?
    • Grad students and sci comm training (or lack of) – some common experiences, desired outcomes
    • Professional importance of science communication (competition is intense, science skills are high)
    • Science culture’s sometime biases against communication (culture of academic publishing, culture of tenure, intellectual hazing, ugly slides, imposter syndrome)
    • The Richard Feynman standard

6:15 – 8:15 p.m.

Lightning round

30 students share their questionnaire results with the group. Listeners take notes:

  • What was particularly memorable?
  • What did you not understand (terminology)?

8:15 – 8:45 p.m.

Stretch and coffee break

8:25 – 9 p.m.

Sandra: Loh Down on Science Communication lecture 

Rohit Bargava “60-Second Science” example structure: Cooking show vs. science talk

Quick Overview of five-part six-minute “Mini-TED” structure:

  • Title
  • S.P.I.N. Opening (Rod Serling, Twilight Zone)
  • Middle (history postcard, the DREDS, the “WOW”)
  • Pre-Conclusion (in two-three years. . . )
  • “Pie in the Sky” finish
  • Titles and jargon

Assignment No. 2: (to work on in the a.m.)


Day two

8:30 – 9 a.m.


9 – 10 a.m.

Writing time (S.P.I.N. openings, and if time, sketch rest of talk)

10– 10:30 a.m.

Share S.P.I.N. openings orally within pods

  • Anonymous vote on most effective, top one is picked

10:30 – 10:40 a.m.


10:40 – 11:30 a.m.

Five top “S.P.I.N.” openings presented to full group

11:30– noon

Sandra: Expanding on the Middle

  • History postcard, aka: earlier solutions tried
  • DREDS Rule (too difficult/rare/expensive/dangerous/slow)
  • The WOW (Working backwards from)
  • Scientific vs. colloquial language
  • Using metaphors to essence highly technical material

Noon – 1 p.m.

Working lunch

  • Review Sandra’s mark-ups of Assignment No. 1

Assignment No. 3

  • Middle (expanded – fill in the rubric)
  • Sketch pre-conclusion, ending

1 – 2 p.m.

Writing time

2 – 3 p.m.

Share middles/pre-c/conclusion within pods

  • Anonymous vote on most effective, top is picked

3– 3:10 p.m.

Stretch break

3:10 – 4 p.m.

Top five middles/plus presented to group

– 4:45 p.m.

Sandra: The Loh Down on Science (90-second radio spots)

  • Vocal techniques (fast/slow, pauses, ending)
  • “Melinda Gates Elevator Assignment:” Can you explain your work to a layperson in 90 seconds?

Assignment No. 4
90-second “Loh Down” on your research (follow rubric)


Day three

8:30 – 9 a.m.


– 10:45 a.m.

Writing time/open lab

10:45 – 11 a.m.

Stretch break

11 a.m. – noon

30 Students Present 90-second “Loh Downs” (with student scoring)

  • Will be located in the Beckman Institute Auditorium

noon – 1 p.m.

Lunch/wrap up

Sandra: What to take away

  • Careers in science communication
  • Science and politics (example: climate change)
  • Global importance of scientists communicating the next generation: K-12 science education needs updating
  • Announcements of top three Loh Downs)