Opening Plenary Speaker - Sunday November 11, 2018

Randy Olson
Independent Filmmaker
Narrative is Everything:  Communicating Science in the Age of Information

Randy Olson is a scientist-turned-filmmaker who is the author of three of the most popular books ever written on science communication.  He earned his PhD in biology from Harvard University, then achieved tenure as a professor of biology at the University of New Hampshire before departing academia for film school at the University of Southern California, followed by two decades of filmmaking in Hollywood, and now has circled back to science and academia to relate what he has learned.  His first book, “Don’t Be Such A Scientist,” sold over 50,000 copies and will be released as a second edition with 50 pages of new content in March, 2018.  He was the writer/director of the feature documentary, “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus,” that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime for two years.


In addition to being featured as the opening plenary speaker Dr. Olson will be conducting a DEMO DAY, the beginning of his story circles communication training on Monday, November 12. Story Circles is a new form of communication training for research scientists and communicators, applicable to everything from grant proposals to research papers to oral presentations.

The program consists of two parts:

DEMO DAY - a one day event for up to 50 participants which provides an introduction and explanation of what is involved in committing to the full program, and then

STORY CIRCLES - the training itself which consists of 10 one-hour sessions spread over three months. Story Circles was created by scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson, author of three books on science communication including the recent, “Houston, We Have A Narrative” from University of Chicago Press. It is built around the ABT Framework developed by Olson and to date has involved over 1,000 scientists and communicators from a range of universities and government agencies including USDA, National Park Service, NASA, USGS and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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