The Growler

Talking About Science in a Changing Society

•Jayatri spoke about how you break down complex scientific concepts such that they are easy to understand for someone with little or no scientific background.
•She explained that most often, communicating science requires that you understand a concept thoroughly, so that you can create a compelling narrative that people will find exciting and understandable.
•She explained that she sees herself as more of a guide than a teacher, meaning she engages with people to discover what they may already know and understand so that she can engage with them so that they understand whatever it is she’s communicating.
•Jayatri speaks about how arts and the humanities can be incorporated into how we communicate science to create visuals and experiences so that people can understand complex things like the human brain.
•Finally she explained that part of her job is showing other scientists how they can effectively communicate what they do in the lab, field, or clinic to someone who may know very little about their research. In doing so, they necessarily engage the public in the process of discovery, which is pretty exciting.

Dr. Jayatri Das, Chief Bioscientist at The Franklin Institute, explains her passion for communicating science to the public, a task more essential than ever in today’s changing society.

Currently, Dr. Das is working on new exhibits at The Franklin Institute about the human brain and sports. She is also involved in national programs to help communicate advances in nanotechnology and materials science to audiences in science centers across the country.

Her career in science began as a double-major at Penn State University where she earned a B.S. in biology and a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology. Awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship in Biological Sciences, she went on to earn her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. Afterwards, she took a position as a postdoctoral researcher in biology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before joining The Franklin Institute, Jayatri was awarded a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship from The National Academies, during which she conducted evaluation and developed programs for the Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington, DC. Currently, she serves on the advisory board of Cogito.org, an online community of gifted precollege students run by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is also an invited Fellow of the Center for Neuroscience & Society at the University of Pennsylvania.