University of South Carolina

Biology prof named Google Science Communication fellow

Dr. Brian Helmuth, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a Google Science Communication fellow.

Helmuth is one of 21fellows chosen from around the country who will work on ways to communicate the science surrounding climate change to diverse audiences. The new program selects early- to mid-career scientists with the potential to become excellent communicators. It’s part of Google’s effort to use technology, new media and computational thinking in the communication of science.

“Computational thinking takes the tangled web of complex problems, like climate change, looks at the pieces and makes sense out of something that on the surface initially looks like chaos,” Helmuth said.

Google wants to tie technology into the way we approach problems and plans to teach the fellows how to use technological tools to help the public understand the complexities of science.

Helmuth and the other fellows will attend a three-day course this summer at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters where they will participate in hands-on training and brainstorming on topics of technology and science communication. Following the workshop, fellows will be given the opportunity to apply for grants to put their ideas into practice.

Helmuth already had received a National Science Foundation grant to work with science teachers in Richland School District 2 on better ways to teach students about weather. Through an NSF pilot program, Helmuth works with science teachers at the Center for Inquiry to explain better how weather affects plants and animals. This summer, the teachers will come to USC for a series of hands-on workshops followed by a trip to the central coast of Oregon in August to conduct research with Helmuth and several USC students.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 02/23/11 @ 10:25 AM | Updated: 02/23/11 @ 10:31 AM | Permalink