Cover Story: Pushing for science literacy

This article first appeared in Options, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 29, 2020 - July 05, 2020.
Cover Story: Pushing for science literacy
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Scientists need to be storytellers when they engage stakeholders by using language everyone can understand, says a science communicator


There is a disconnect between what goes on in biotechnology laboratories and what people construe. To bridge this gap, scientists have to step out and engage with the public, using words the layman can understand.

Science communication requires a vocabulary that speaks directly to and resonates with whoever you are addressing. Apart from students and the ordinary person, your target audience could be stakeholders who can make science more accessible and popular, decide policy based on empirical data, monitor procedures or draw up regulations for their application, says Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan, executive director of the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (Mabic).

Maha — “Call me that”, she says — sees science in everything and is zealous about convincing anyone who will listen that it is not an isolated subject or only for the elite. “It is not easy, but not impossible to communicate science. It’s for everyone and affects everything we do,” she says.

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