When Science Speaks is a web series profiling innovative and interesting people working in science and technical fields - from academia, to industry, to the non-profit world. Mark and his guests explore: how to be a powerhouse advocate for science and your research; how to advance your career in meaningful ways that make you happy; how to push back on the assault on science; and other related issues of interest happening in the world. You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on your favorite app or podcast player.
How to Make Your Next Presentation Memorable
3:20As the podcast enters its fifth season (220 episodes and counting!), I'm incorporating shorter segments with my commentary on key communication topics - like: How to make your presentation engaging and memorable The most effective ways to translate complexity so your listeners understand and retain your message Shaping your writing so it's crisp and captures your readers attention The show will still include interviews as always. Have a topic about writing, presentating, or moving your priorities forward? Drop a comment at the show's Youtube channel at WhenScienceSpeaks podcast.
Crafting Compelling Narratives: A Deep Dive into Atomic Storytelling Techniques with Chris Hare
33:49On this episode of When Science Speaks, host by Mark Bayer dives into the world of storytelling with guest Chris Hare, exploring the impact and importance of a high-impact storytelling approach Chris has developed and used with his clients called "Atomic Storytelling." Episode Highlights: The Quest for Effective Storytelling: Mark and Chris kick off the episode discussing the widespread discussion on storytelling and the lack of informed advice. Chris introduces the concept of Atomic Storytelling and its transformative power. Chris's Journey with Microsoft: Chris shares a pivotal moment in his career, working on a project for Microsoft and discovering the effectiveness of content derived from successful developers. The Pitfalls of Manufacturing Stories: The duo explores the common challenge of manufacturing stories and emphasizes the need for genuine, impactful narratives in business contexts. Atomic Storytelling in Action: Chris provides a practical example involving a defibrillator company, illustrating how Atomic Storytelling can create a powerful emotional connection. Balancing Emotion and Rationality: Mark and Chris discuss the importance of blending emotional and rational elements in storytelling, especially in B2B contexts. Overcoming Storytelling Challenges: Chris addresses the common belief that not everyone is a natural storyteller, emphasizing the learnable nature of storytelling skills. The Scientist's Strength in Vision: Chris highlights the strength scientists possess in envisioning the future and emphasizes the importance of sequencing and storytelling to bring others along on the journey. Brian Janous's Journey at Microsoft: An intriguing anecdote about Brian Janous's mission to make then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer understand and appreciate the energy vision at Microsoft, showcasing the persistence required in long-term storytelling. Unveiling the Narrative at Amazon: Chris discusses Amazon's narrative of being data-driven and its potential limitations. The story unfolds as he reveals a crucial insight about the third-party seller side and the initial focus on resellers. The pivotal shift occurs when a VP starts meeting with sellers, leading to the discovery that brand owners drive a significant portion of Amazon's business. The Human Connection in Storytelling: Emphasizing the importance of understanding data while maintaining a broader perspective. Chris highlights the role of continuous human connection and the value of not relying solely on data-driven insights. Embracing Imperfections in Stories: Acknowledging the messiness of stories and the common misconception that a story must be perfect. Sharing a personal coaching session experience that emphasized the power of authenticity and imperfection in storytelling. Co-Creation and Feedback: Advocating for involving stakeholders in the storytelling process. Encouraging feedback and collaboration to enhance the narrative and ensure internal alignment within organizations. Exploring whether a good story can overcome poor delivery and vice versa. Chris shares a personal experience of overcoming a challenging delivery by grounding the presentation in powerful storytelling. The Moth Experience: Recommending listening to storytelling platforms like The Moth and 99 Percent Invisible to understand diverse storytelling styles. Resources mentioned in the episode: Guest Chris Hare's LinkedIn profile Chris's podcast, The Storied Future
Dopamine and Desire: The Neuroscience of Captivating Writing with Bill Birchard
55:15In this enlightening podcast episode, Bill Birchard, a seasoned journalist and business writer, delves into the fascinating world of writing and its impact on the brain. Through extensive research, Bill discovered a treasure trove of information on how language can stimulate various regions of the brain, and in turn, enhance reader experience. Episode Highlights: The Discovery of a Goldmine: Bill shares how his late-career exploration led him to a wealth of research on how language affects the brain. He stumbled upon decades of behavioral and imaging experiments that uncovered the neurological responses triggered by different types of language. Writing with Impact: The discussion centers around Bill's quest to write with more impact, ultimately resulting in his book. He explains how specific words and phrases, when crafted effectively, can fire up the brain and release dopamine, creating what he calls a "brain buzz." Embodied Cognition: Bill explores the concept of embodied cognition, where specific words engage not only the language processing circuit but also parts of the brain associated with physical experiences. This, he argues, leads to a more immersive reading experience. The Role of Dopamine: Bill breaks down the neurochemical process in the brain, highlighting dopamine's crucial role in the reward circuit. He explains how this neurotransmitter influences desire, pleasure, and, ultimately, the learning process. Principles of Great Writing: The conversation unfolds as Bill discusses eight principles of great writing, each backed by research showcasing its impact on different brain regions and the reward circuit. Key Takeaways: Specificity is Power: Bill emphasizes the neurological underpinnings of the principle that specificity in writing is more powerful than generalities. He explains how our brains engage more deeply when words evoke sensory and motor experiences. Abstract Words and Simulation: While specificity reigns supreme, Bill acknowledges that abstract words also play a role in stimulating the brain through associations and simulations. Conclusion: Listeners are treated to a thought-provoking exploration of the intersection between language, the brain, and the art of writing. Bill Birchard's insights provide a roadmap for writers looking to tap into the neurological responses that make impactful writing truly unforgettable. Resources mentioned in the episode Link to purchase BIll's most recent book, Writing for Impact Bill's website
Thriving in Industry: Key Lessons for Scientists with David Giltner, Ph.D.
20:40Introduction This week's episode features David Giltner, Ph.D. David is an accomplished figure in the field of technology commercialization, product development, and career design, with over two decades of experience in developing cutting-edge photonics technologies for commercial use. In 2017, he founded Turning Science to provide training and support for scientists looking to transition into the private sector. David holds a BSS and PhD in physics and boasts seven patents in laser spectroscopy and optical communications. David's books, "Turning Science Into Things People Need" and "It's a Game, not a Formula," have been instrumental in guiding scientists through their career transitions. Transitioning from Academia to Industry We start by discussing David's early career after earning his PhD. David highlights the challenges he faced when transitioning from academia to industry. He emphasizes the lack of guidance on careers outside academia and how he navigated this transition independently. David's decision to work with lasers, a familiar field from his graduate work, led him to industry, where he contributed to the development of semiconductor laser technology. The presence of a highly educated workforce made the transition smoother, yet David admits he grappled with adapting his working habits from academic research to the corporate environment. Preparing for a Career in the Private Sector We then cover David's advice for current PhD candidates interested in pursuing careers in the private sector. David stresses two major points: the importance of designing a career path and understanding the industry game. He outlines a five-step approach, highlighting the significance of identifying strengths, defining a target, and emphasizing the art of storytelling. Furthermore, David underscores the necessity of comprehending the industry dynamics to thrive in the corporate world. Avoiding Common Mistakes in the Private Sector David discusses common missteps scientists make when transitioning to the private sector and how to avoid them. He outlines three prevalent challenges. First, he observes that many PhD scientists enter the workforce feeling the need to prove themselves as the smartest person in the room, a mindset unsuited for teamwork. Second, he notes the tendency to lose sight of company priorities and get engrossed in curiosity-driven projects, contrary to the results-oriented nature of industry. Last, David highlights the struggle scientists face in making decisive recommendations, as academia's emphasis on certainty clashes with the fast-paced decision-making required in the corporate sector. David's Books and Themes We then shift the discussion towards David's books, beginning with "Turning Science Into Things People Need." David explains that the book emerged from his desire to provide guidance to scientists seeking rewarding careers outside academia. He then introduces his second book, "It's a Game, not a Formula," which serves as a playbook for succeeding in industry. David's forthcoming third book promises to delve deeper into the diverse career paths scientists can pursue, including roles as employees, entrepreneurs, or collaborators between academia and industry. Working Internationally: Cultural Considerations We delve into the nuances of working with PhDs in industry, especially when it comes to international collaborations. David acknowledges social and communication customs vary globally, which can impact how scientists present themselves in interviews or collaborations. He emphasizes the power of storytelling as a universal tool to convey accomplishments without feeling like one is bragging. David encourages scientists to share experiences through narratives, allowing potential employers or collaborators to visualize their contributions effectively. Upcoming Goals for 2024 Mark concludes the episode by discussing David's goals for the upcoming year. Besides the release of his third book, David is eager to expand on two new workshops. The first focuses on building a scientific consultancy side gig, offering PhD candidates and postdocs opportunities to leverage their strengths. The second workshop, "Startup Basics for Scientists," aims to demystify entrepreneurship for scientists considering venturing into the world of startups. David emphasizes the importance of understanding both the benefits and challenges of starting a company, highlighting the unique strengths scientists can bring to entrepreneurship. Resources mentioned in the episode: David's books Turning Science Into Things People Need It's a Game, not a Formula
Scientists as problem-solvers: Applying scientific insights to global challenges, with Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D.
32:30Overview: This episode of the show features Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D., President and CEO of The New York Academy of Sciences. Discussion Highlights: The rapid pace of technological change, from AI to gene editing, outpacing policy-making mechanisms. Reflections on historical instances where scientific advancement outpaced understanding and regulation, like the development of nuclear weaponry. Notable scientific advancements: AI, structural biology, gene editing, and the need for regulatory frameworks. Challenges in building and restoring public trust in societal institutions. The importance of incorporating emotion and narrative in science communication to rebuild public trust. The changing role of faith-based organizations in supporting and shaping scientific endeavors. Dr. Dirks' upcoming book, "City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University," focusing on the need for universities to adapt and change. Dr. Dirks' pride in establishing a pioneering Data Science program at UC Berkeley, offering a multidisciplinary approach to computational literacy. Introduction of the International Science Reserve, a network of scientists preparing for future global crises. The Academy's initiatives in addressing the challenges and ethical considerations surrounding artificial intelligence. Resources mentioned in the episode: The New York Academy of Sciences Books by Nicholas Dirks
Navigating Transitions: Insights from Aditya Mahara on Science and Industry Shifts
19:11Introduction: Welcome to the When Science Speaks podcast. In this episode, Mark is joined by Aditya Mahara, a seasoned senior product manager in the health tech industry. Aditya shares his insights on transitioning from Nepal to the US, the importance of discomfort in personal growth, and the significance of clear communication in the biomedical field. Aditya's Transition to the US: Aditya reflects on his journey from Nepal to the US, emphasizing the value of discomfort in his growth process. He shares relatable nuggets applicable to various life transitions, including academic and industry shifts. The Power of Uncomfortable Moments: Aditya highlights how discomfort has consistently driven his growth, whether adapting to a new country or transitioning between academic and industry environments. He encourages embracing discomfort as a catalyst for personal and professional development. Discovering a Passion for Physics: Aditya traces his love for science back to high school, where he defied societal expectations to pursue his passion for physics. He emphasizes the universal nature of physics, transcending cultural boundaries. The Influence of Teachers: Mark and Aditya discuss the impact of teachers on their respective journeys. Aditya shares his positive experience with professors at Rollins College, underscoring their role in shaping his academic path. Biomedical Engineering and Effective Communication: The conversation shifts to the unique communication skills of biomedical engineers. Aditya suggests that the interdisciplinary nature of the field fosters strong communicators who can bridge the gap between different stakeholders. Communication in Academia vs. Industry: Aditya contrasts communication in academia, where expertise tends to be highly specialized, with the business-oriented approach in industry. He emphasizes the need for clear, generalizable communication when multiple disciplines collaborate. Aditya's 2023 Reflection and Goals: Aditya reflects on his accomplishments in 2023, touching on family, full-time work, and side projects. He shares his experiences with his growing toddler, professional development as a product manager, and the unexpected success of his industry transition support venture. Resources Mentioned in the Episode: Connecting with Adidya on LinkedIN
From Basic Research to Community-Building and Entrepreneurship with Elena Itskovich, Ph.D.
40:32Early Academic Journey Elena's journey from studying physics and computer science to discovering her passion for life sciences and medicine. Overcoming challenges in academic pursuits and finding her calling in translational research. Translating Complex Science for Wider Audiences Practical techniques for effective science communication, emphasizing the importance of practice and feedback loops. Building community through volunteering and honing skills in event organization and speaker recruitment. The Multilingual Advantage Elena's experience as a trilingual communicator (Hebrew, English, Russian) and the benefits of immersing oneself in a language for effective communication. Overcoming initial translation challenges by thinking and generating content directly in the target language. mAcademia Podcast: Bridging Industry and Academia Exploring the journey from basic research to practical applications, and understanding career trajectories for scientists. Insights into the collaborative nature of academia and the importance of interdisciplinary ventures. Pursuing a PhD in genetics to becoming a passionate advocate for science communication and entrepreneurship. Emphasizing the importance of building communities and seeking out opportunities, especially for foreign students and scientists. Discussing her role as a board member of Science Abroad, a nonprofit organization that supports Israeli scientists living abroad. Highlighting the impact of community-building and mutual support in overcoming the challenges faced by international students. Resources mentioned in the episode: Nest Catalyst, an entrepreneurship program she co-founded to empower Israeli scientists in building companies based on research and science. mAcademia, a podcast exploring the bridge between the industry and academia to understand how basic scientific findings take shape into products and strategies and following the career paths of researchers who are in academia or outside of it ScienceAbroad, an Israel-based nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of senior Israeli scientists living abroad. Through its wide-reaching professional and social network
Science Policy Lessons and a Passion for the Marine Environment with Amber Mace, Ph.D.
32:01This week's episode features Amber Mace, Ph.D., CEO of the California Council on Science & Technology (CCST). We discuss Amber's early career in science policy, her upcoming transition from CCST to the California Academy of Sciences, and the institution's ambitious mission, with a focus on Amber's approach to building strategic partnerships and her enthusiasm for learning and collaboration in her new role. [00:01:30] Amber's Early Career Amber reflects on her early career, which began with teaching scuba diving and water safety at Berkeley. Her deep connection to the ocean and interest in marine ecology laid the foundation for her journey into science policy. [00:06:00] Environmental Policy and Marine Ecology We explore the common thread in Amber's career: a focus on environmental policy and marine ecology. We discuss the pivotal experiences that shaped her passion for bridging the gap between science and policy. [00:10:15] Transition to Science Policy Amber shares insights into her transition from an academic background to science policy. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the disconnect between science and policy, and how this inspired her to advocate for better communication. [00:15:30] Mission and Vision at the California Academy of Sciences Amber discusses her upcoming transition in late September from her position as CCST's CEO after a decade of innovative and strategic leadership. CCST Deputy Director Sarah Brady, Ph.D. has been appointed by the Board of Directors as Interim CEO. Amber discusses her new role at the California Academy of Sciences and the Academy's bold mission to reverse biodiversity decline. She emphasizes the critical role of strategic partnerships in achieving this vision. [00:20:45] Building Strategic Partnerships Amber outlines her approach to building strategic partnerships, emphasizing the need for collaboration across sectors. She highlights the importance of galvanizing support from philanthropy, policy, and the private sector. [00:25:20] Learning and Collaboration Amber expresses her excitement about the learning opportunities and collaborations that await her at the California Academy of Sciences. She looks forward to combining her background in policy with her passion for ecology and conservation. [00:30:00] Conclusion Mark congratulates Amber on her upcoming role and looks forward to future discussions on conservation, biodiversity, and the Academy's mission to regenerate the natural world. Resources mentioned in the episode California Council on Science & Technology (CCST) California Academy of Sciences
Secrets of Successful Career Development with Alaina G. Levine
54:33In this episode, we delve into the remarkable journey of Alaina G. Levine, who defied conventional boundaries and nurtured a diverse tapestry of interests. From STEM to performing arts, business to communications, Alaina's life is a testament to the power of weaving different threads into a vibrant career. Let's explore her captivating journey and the influences that shaped her unique path. Episode Highlights: Early Curiosity and Multidimensional Interests: Alaina reminisces about her childhood characterized by an insatiable curiosity for a multitude of subjects. Her fascination spanned across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), performing arts, business, and communications. From early interactions with mathematical puzzles to her community theater experiences, Alaina's interests were diverse and unquenchable. Threads of Passion: Throughout her life, four essential threads interwove Alaina's experiences—STEM, performing arts, business, and communications. These passions guided her choices and led to unique opportunities that nurtured her multifaceted interests. Influential Figures: Alaina credits her mother, a writer, for igniting her love for literature, books, and writing. Growing up in a family of science, engineering, and mathematics enthusiasts, Alaina inherited a passion for these disciplines. Her mother's support and belief in her zest for life allowed Alaina to explore her interests unabated. Nurturing Multiple Passions: Alaina's mother advocated for her to engage in activities that fostered her diverse interests. This support allowed Alaina to immerse herself in performing arts, business ventures, and writing. Her experiences in high school, such as excelling in magazine sales and performing on stage, exemplify her ability to blend different interests. Art and Science Convergence: The conversation turns to the intriguing intersection of art and science. This convergence is emblematic of the creativity and innovation inherent in scientific endeavors. Academic Choices: Alaina discusses her academic journey, which led her to major in both mathematics and anthropology at the University of Arizona. Her initial aspirations for theoretical astrophysics shifted toward mathematics due to her passion for numbers and equations. Additionally, she saw a meaningful correlation between anthropology and mathematics, exploring how these seemingly disparate fields could intertwine. Innovation through Interdisciplinarity: Alaina underscores the significance of interdisciplinary studies and how they foster innovation. By connecting diverse subjects like math and anthropology, individuals can approach complex challenges with a fresh perspective. This approach, Alaina believes, is crucial for addressing grand challenges like climate change and other global issues. True Innovation Defined: The episode discusses true innovation, where Alaina outlines the concept of solving problems by interconnecting diverse domains. This approach, akin to systems thinking, allows individuals to navigate uncharted territories and make groundbreaking discoveries. Embrace Your Authenticity: Alaina and Mark discuss the importance of embracing authenticity and individuality in STEM careers, allowing joy to be a guiding force. Connecting with Emotions: Alaina emphasizes the significance of sharing personal experiences and emotions to foster a sense of community and solve challenges collectively. Joy and Humor in STEM: The conversation explores the misconception that STEM fields are overly serious and highlights the importance of finding joy and humor in scientific pursuits. Overcoming Practical Pressures: Alaina discusses the increasing pressure on college students to choose practical career paths due to financial considerations and offers insights into balancing passion and practicality. Building Your Unicorn Career: Alaina outlines her upcoming book, "Create Your Unicorn Career," guiding listeners through a step-by-step process to build a personalized, fulfilling, and successful STEM career. Recognizing Value: Alaina encourages STEM professionals to recognize their value and skill set, enabling them to confidently explore new opportunities and career paths. Shifting Mindsets: Alaina shares strategies to shift mindsets, overcome fear, and navigate transitions while staying true to oneself and embracing change. Upcoming Webinars: Alaina announces upcoming webinars aimed at helping STEM professionals develop successful career strategies, job search tactics, and unicorn career creation techniques. Tune in to this inspiring episode of the When Science Speaks podcast to learn how to create your own unicorn career in STEM and find joy, meaning, and financial success. Stay updated on upcoming webinars and connect with Alaina G. Levine to unlock valuable insights and strategies for your STEM journey. Resources mentioned in the episode Free career consult with Alaina: Anyone is welcome to book a free career consultation with Alaina to answer any questions about how to Create Your Unicorn Career: https://calendly.com/alaina-levine/15min Website: www.alainalevine.com Socials: X, LI, IG: @AlainaGLevine
From Economics to Life Sciences: An Unconventional Path to Academia and Beyond with Ali Divan, Ph.D.
23:01Main Topic Time Stamps: [00:02:28] Music and science connection. [00:04:23] Journey to PhD. [00:09:49] Lyme disease treatment exploration. [00:12:38] Modeling neurologic Lyme disease. [00:14:06] Lyme disease and animal studies. [00:19:09] Mountains and their significance. [00:20:51] Overcoming obstacles and pivoting. Summary In this episode featuring Ali Divan, Ph.D., Ali talks about his career journey and why he decided to pursue a Ph.D. Now the founder and principal of his own firm, Trulitica, Ali specializes in providing technical due diligence services to investors in the life science industry. His aim is to ensure that investors allocate their funds to companies with genuine technology and a significant impact on human health. By carefully examining the milestones and claims made by startups, Ali speaker assesses their technical feasibility and truthfulness. Through his comprehensive technical due diligence, Ali strives to empower investors to make informed decisions and avoid investing in companies solely focused on generating hype and seeking acquisition, rather than creating meaningful contributions to human health. Ali's ultimate goal is to collaborate with strong founders and innovative technology to make a lasting impact and contribute to successful product launches that foster camaraderie and teamwork within the team. He expresses his desire to be involved in several product launches where he witnesses the creation of meaningful products for the market. Ali firmly believes that by working alongside determined founders and leveraging cutting-edge technology, he can achieve this objective. Furthermore, he highlights how successful product launches can cultivate a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the individuals involved. Overall, Ali's aspiration is to contribute to the success of product launches and cultivate a positive work environment. Resources mentioned in the episode Trulitica