Friday 24 July 2015

Her Day As A Petrosains Science Communicator

The following article is a part of the ASPAC network's blog train project on the theme “A Day In The Life of A Science Communicator”. 

In the morning..
She's still awake even though it was 12.00 midnight. Surfing and searching for a juicy science story that has freshly happened in the world. She needs to present it to all staff by 9.00 am tomorrow at the science centre's morning assembly. Yup! It's our 'roll-call'! Science communicators take turns to present a 3-4 minute 'Science Fact' every morning here at Petrosains. 

Oh gosh! She's always nervous even though she has to communicate the science fact in front of people that she knows. Not surprising, because they are her colleagues, bosses and even the CEO on most mornings. The audience have various backgrounds ranging from customer service, finance, marketing people, sales people and a group of people talented in sharing science. Half of them are very excited to listen to the latest news in science but half of them might not like science that much. 

It's very challenging but actually very interesting to do. So, here's one formula shared by one of our science communicators on how to communicate science to people from varying backgrounds in one session. First, read several materials from different sources, then summarize the points into  3 parts: 1) What the science fact is all about, 2) Mention proven research that has been done and 3) In what way the science fact benefits the audience. And by doing this, it makes it much more interesting for all to listen to the science fact!

In the centre..
The day has started. Her job is to facilitate exhibitions, perform science shows and conduct mini science demos at a few hotspots throughout the centre.  Most of the visitors are families with  children. How do you explain science to a crowd that could range from chatty toddlers to working adults that could be engineers or even professors? Another challenge in her day as a science communicator but here's how she gets through..

First she gets them to interact with the exhibits! She will start talking to them about something that they are familiar with. Maybe something that they've seen or experienced before at home. From the pre-conversations, she will have an idea of the audience's level of knowledge. It is very important to know their backgrounds so that she could tailor her knowledge and style of communication specific to the people she talks to. As a result, visitors will feel more comfortable to learn science that they might be apprehensive about at first & even spend more time at the science centre!

In a small class..

Later in the afternoon, she has to conduct a workshop in a small classroom. From busy and noisy surroundings to the quiet set up of a classroom. She has to be more focused, concentrate and geared for a proper learning environment. Usually, people who join workshops are the ones who want to go for deeper learning and investigation on a particular science topic. A simple 2-minute activity as an ice breaker at the beginning of the classroom is conducted so that she and the participants can get to know each other before continuing the session. Sometimes it's a workshop for families and sometimes for schools. Having a little bit of knowledge about the school curriculum is also good so that the audience feels the relevance of joining the class or workshop at the science centre.

Workshop is done by 5.00pm. She will have a little bit of time to prepare for the next day. Every day is not exactly the same for a science communicator as they meet different people every day! 

What you've read is a bit of a taster of what we do in Petrosains. Our science communicators always tailor their knowledge and style of communication specifically to their audiences to ensure everybody receives a greater impact in the learning process!

If you like this topic, make sure that you check out the blog written by our colleague at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), Japan who are next on the blog train!

Pavel Hejcik is a physicist involved in Miraikan's activities promoting independent and creative thinking. As a member of their science communication team, Pavel also works as a display interpreter and gives short lectures on topics related to modern science and technology. Pavel holds a PhD degree in engineering and before coming to Miraikan, he worked as a researcher in interdisciplinary fields applying mathematical methods to various subjects including biology and medicine.

Check the ASPAC blog train schedule, and go for a ride! 

•             17 July – Introductory Post (
•             27 July – Petrosains
•             28 July – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) (
•             29 July – The Mind Museum (
•             30 July – Scitech (To be hosted at ASPAC website –
•             31 July – Science Centre Singapore (

Posted by Ayu


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Its a good writeup but its sound beyter if 'she' in replace by 'I' indicating the
    Presence tense...current & ongoing.

  3. Thank you Jin Kaur for the feedback:)