MPE Wednesday 27 January 2021: Science Communication

MPE Wednesday 27 January 2021: Science Communication

The theme of this month’s MPE Wednesday is Science Communication, and it will be chaired by the Student Committee comprising Chiara Maiocchi, Sebastiano Roncoroni, and Ryosuke Kurashina.  The meeting will take place online via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 817 8161 6508
Passcode: MPEWeds27

We are pleased to announce the following speakers have been confirmed, and details of their talks:

*Liz Sigourney: Communications Manager, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Working Group III), Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London

Communicating Climate Science: policymakers, press and the public

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) maintains a strong presence in the realm of climate communications and has a neutral assignment: to deliver reports that are policy Relevant, but not policy prescriptive. My talk will focus on communicating the efforts of IPCC Working Group III (Climate Mitigation) and our reports, particularly the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) and the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which is due for release in 2021. I’ll discuss the practicalities of implementing our communications strategy and working within the UN system, including developing key messages, and working with scientists/experts, policymakers, the public, and press.


**Anjana Ahuja: A British Indian science journalist and a former columnist for The Times. Anjana is now a contributing writer at the Financial Times. She also contributes to The Daily Telegraph, Prospect, New Scientist and the Radio Times. She was named Best Science Commentator at the 2013 Comment Awards. There will be a roundtable interview with Anjana.


***Paul Williams: Professor of Atmospheric Science in the University of Reading Dept of Meteorology and NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Science, an award-winning science communicator, and a Royal Society University Research Fellow.

When Science Communication Becomes Difficult: Advice From The Battlefields

I have been a professional atmospheric scientist and amateur science communicator since my PhD 20 years ago.  In this talk, I will draw on that experience to give some personal thoughts about how to communicate science and mathematics effectively, especially in difficult circumstances.  For example, I will talk about being embarrassingly misquoted by a national newspaper, and I will also touch on publicly debating with climate change sceptics.  I will finish with a plea not to over-simplify the scientific content when communicating with the public.  There is evidence that doing so inclines people to under-value experts, which I believe may be a factor in public cynicism regarding climate change.  I believe there is a genuine public appetite for appropriate technical content in the mainstream media.  We must make the most of that appetite, in order to enthuse and inspire the next generation of Earth scientists.

Here’s the programme and zoom link:

11.20 Zoom call will open:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 817 8161 6508
Passcode: MPEWeds27

11.30 Welcome and Introduction to the day: Chiara Maiocchi, MPE Student Reading


11.40 Sigourney Luz, * Communications Manager, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group III: “Communicating Climate Science: policymakers, press and the public” (talk and Q&A)

Chaired by Chiara Maiocchi


12.20 Jennifer Scott, MPE Director at Reading will set a project for students to discuss over lunch


12.25 Breakout discussion groups and lunch


14.00 In conversation with Anjana AhuJa, ** British Indian Science Journalist: *** an interview led by MPE Students Sebastiano Roncoroni, Chiara Maiocchi and Ryosuke Kurashina
14.40 Paul Williams, *** Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Reading: “When Science Communication Becomes Difficult: Advice From The Battlefields” (talk and Q&A)

Chaired by Ryosuke Kurashina, MPE Student Imperial

15.20 Comfort break


15.30 Feedback from discussion breakouts, Chaired by Jennifer


16.00 Expected finish