Brandie Jefferson, senior news director for engineering and brain sciences in University Marketing & Communications at Washington University in St. Louis, was one of three presenters on an Oct. 8 panel at ScienceWriters2021, a joint meeting of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.
The virtual panel discussion, titled “Making the Invisible Visible: Challenges to Explaining Deep Tech,” attracted approximately 120 attendees and featured an in-depth discussion about how to convey the intricacies of complex scientific topics such as quantum physics and artificial intelligence to a wider audience.
The panel, which also featured Emily Mullin, an award-winning freelance journalist, and Kenna Castleberry, a science communicator for JILA, a lab that explores the frontiers of physics run jointly by the University of Colorado Boulder, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, addressed the importance of counteracting misleading media representations of subjects such as quantum mechanics. The panelists also discussed how to craft analogies helpful to the public without oversimplifying the science. Jefferson focused on the challenges of sharing some of the more esoteric engineering research conducted at WashU.
NASW, with 2,373 members and 454 students, aims to foster the interpretation of science and its meaning to society. As a media relations professional, Jefferson offered a unique perspective to the meeting, most often attended by journalists.