NASA Makes Science Communication Competition Interplanetary

Cheltenham Festivals (UK), NASA, and the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science (BMSIS) are pleased to announce a partnership to operate Cheltenham Festival's flagship science communication activity – FameLab® – within the USA for the first time. The competition will be held in the fields of astrobiology and planetary sciences, and is open to all scientists working in these diverse areas of research.

FameLab Astrobiology will discover and develop science communication skills within the astrobiology community. Workshops will train scientists and engineers to convey complex scientific concepts to the public. FameLab’s competition format has been honed over many competitions in more than 15 countries, and transcends cultures and languages. The training, coaching and recognition provided by these events builds the confidence needed to apply communication skills in a wide variety of situations.

The competition will commence with a series of regional heats, culminating in a grand final in Atlanta in April at AbSciCon 2012. The winner of the FameLab Astrobiology final will be invited to participate in the International FameLab Final at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival on June 16, 2012.

Dr. Claire Rocks of FameLab International said, “We are excited to launch FameLab in the United States with BMSIS, a not-for-profit organization that shares our passions and goals, and we are delighted by the opportunity to work with NASA. We expect over 21 countries from around the world to run FameLab in 2012, and the alumni will join a vibrant network of highly skilled individuals engaging international audiences but also engaging with each other.”

“FameLab Astrobiology will discover and develop science communicators within our community. We look forward to hearing the things the participants will tell us about astrobiology,” said Dr. Mary Voytek, NASA’s Senior Scientist for Astrobiology.

Sanjoy Som, President of BMSIS, added, “Communicating complex science subjects to lay audiences takes skills rarely developed by our educational institutions. By teaming up with FameLab, we hope to address this gap in planetary sciences and develop a new generation of science communicators.”

For more on the competition, see http://astrobiologyfamelab.arc.nasa.gov/