Sunday, September 20, 2015

Talking Physics with Chris Duffy of NPR's "You're the Expert"

We've all been there: you're reading a textbook when, suddenly, the word “Clearly” precedes an equation that came straight out of left field.  You question where this came from, why and if this matters, and even your own intelligence.  More often than not this is exactly how our friends and loved ones feel when we try to talk to them about our Newtonian passions. 

Chris Duffy, host of “You’re the Expert,” knows the value and challenge of communicating scientific ideas with those outside of the academic bubble.  On his radio show, Duffy hosts a conversation between a professor and several comedians, making the learning experience more available through comedy.

The Department hosted Duffy for this week’s seminar, which was an interactive workshop on how the students and faculty can better engage the general populous with scientific thought.  This included recognizing audience mannerisms, maintaining a proper communication link, and the importance of answering questions authentically. 

These are certainly skills that we, as members of the scientific community, must be familiar with, both in the classroom and outside.  We thank Chris Duffy for coming to James Madison to make us laugh, remind us of the importance of public outreach, and teach us how to do both!

You can listen to previous entries of Chris Duffy’s “You’re the Expert” for free in the Podcast section of iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud, with new episodes added semiweekly!