Alan Alda, best known as an actor, writer and director, spoke Saturday evening to attendees at AAAS Annual Meeting at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park.Titled “Getting Beyond a Blind Date with Science,” Alda spoke about the importance of communication in relation to science. His acting and improvisational theater background has led to his current position as a visiting professor at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, a multidisciplinary program designed specifically for science students to learn how to communicate their stories.
“If you want commitment, you’re going to have to listen to one another.”
“If the meaning of your talk is clear to you in your head, it’s not a good idea to assume that they hear it too.” Alda pictured with audience member, Spencer Davis, demonstrated the importance of clear communication through a melody tapping exercise.
“Ignorance is a wonderful thing, as long as it has curiosity attached to it.”
“You don’t have to say everything you know. Often you just have to let them get interested in knowing more.”
“Take the glass carefully and put it on the table, but don’t spill a drop or your entire village will die…When we are involved in this story, we care.” Alda explained the importance of stories by having audience member Donna Nelson cross the stage with a full glass of water.
“You hear about know your audience and it’s something we all know intellectually. But to actually come into contact, to make communion with your audience, that takes effort. That takes practice.”