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Cover for Escape from the Ivory Tower

Escape from the Ivory Tower

A Guide to Making Your Science Matter

Nancy Baron


List Price: 58.00*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (8/20/2010)


Most scientists and researchers aren’t prepared to talk to the press or to policymakers—or to deal with backlash. Many researchers have the horror stories to prove it. What’s clear, according to Nancy Baron, is that scientists, journalists and public policymakers come from different cultures. They follow different sets of rules, pursue different goals, and speak their own language. To effectively reach journalists and public officials, scientists need to learn new skills and rules of engagement. No matter what your specialty, the keys to success are clear thinking, knowing what you want to say, understanding your audience, and using everyday language to get your main points across.
In this practical and entertaining guide to communicating science, Baron explains how to engage your audience and explain why a particular finding matters. She explores how to ace your interview, promote a paper, enter the political fray, and use new media to connect with your audience. The book includes advice from journalists, decision makers, new media experts, bloggers and some of the thousands of scientists who have participated in her communication workshops. Many of the researchers she has worked with have gone on to become well-known spokespeople for science-related issues. Baron and her protégées describe the risks and rewards of “speaking up,” how to deal with criticism, and the link between communications and leadership. The final chapter, ‘Leading the Way’ offers guidance to scientists who want to become agents of change and make your science matter. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran looking to hone your skills, Escape From the Ivory Tower can help make your science understood, appreciated and perhaps acted upon.

Praise For Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter

"No one understands scientists the way Nancy Baron does. This book helps connect the worlds of science, journalism, and policy in very entertaining and insightful ways. If you care about linking science with action, this is the book to read."
— Pat Matson , Scientific Director of the Leopold Leadership Program

"By challenging scientists to find and use their own voice, Nancy Baron has done more than anyone in the last decade to raise public awareness about our imperiled oceans. Her fingerprints can be found on nearly every preeminent paper and salient symposium. Not since Sir Peter Medawar published the classic Advice to a Young Scientist has so much wisdom been shared so concisely. Whether you are a scientist or writer, young or old, you don't have to read this book—unless you are committed to saving our blue planet."
— Larry Crowder, Director, Duke Center for Marine Conservation

"At last! The definitive manual on communicating science effectively in an era of environmental change—Baron's book provides the practical tools to make a difference."
— Diana Wall, Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability

"In our age of information overload it is easy for research to disappear without trace. If you want yours to get noticed, read Nancy Baron's excellent guide."
— Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation, University of York

"Nancy Baron has been helping scientists talk to the media and to their public patrons for a decade…Her extraordinary leadership has changed the lives of young scientists; here she has produced a book that will help both senior scientists and their students…to deal with journalists, interviewers, the Rotary Club, and even Congressional committees."
— Donald Kennedy, Editor of "Science" magazine 2000-2008, Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration

"Nancy Baron is a master of the art of science communication. Escape from the Ivory Tower is essential reading for scientists who want their work understood by the public and decision makers."
— Natasha Loder, science and technology correspondent, "The Economist"

"[Readers will] be grateful for the investment when they can pull... [the] book off the shelf in times of need. Aspiring journalists and public information officers will also find valuable insights into scientific culture and the way their own work is perceived... Escape from the Ivory Tower should be embraced by a broad scientific audience; it's impossible to predict may be jolted out of your comfort zone and forced to convince the world that your data matter."
— American Scientist

"In the world of science we sometimes forget that a book can be an easy, pleasant read and still teach us quite a bit. Nancy Baron knows that, and she has delivered that book. The result is unlike anything you've read before—and it is something you need to begin reading now. This is not a book for your bookshelf. It is a book for your backpack, your briefcase, your graduate students, and the trunk of your car...This is a book to be read, enjoyed, and dogeared— assuming, of course, you want your science to matter."
— BioScience

"Overall, this book is valuable and a worthwhile read for marine scientists. Almost all of us can improve our outreach efforts... Escape from the Ivory Tower has helpful hints for all of us interested in various levels of outreach."
— Oceanography

"Even if you believe that you will never have an occasion to share your science beyond your laboratory or the kitchen table, this book may persuade you otherwise. Consider adding it to your library as an investment to bring credible science to public discourse."
— Lab Matters

"I highly recommend the book as a starting point for any scientist interested in engaging the public. Baron's insight into both ends of scientific communication offers a helpful starting point for anyone interested in more effective communication with the public or with scientists."
— Earthzine

"...I tend to go back to it again and again—like a cookbook you would never expect to memorize but use frequently—as I try to craft clear messages for press releases, prepare for radio interviews, or speak to policymakers about wildlife health issues."
— Wildlife Professional

Island Press, 9781597266635, 272pp.

Publication Date: August 13, 2010

About the Author

Nancy Baron is Outreach Director of COMPASS, the Communications Partnership for Science and the Sea. She designed and leads the communications trainings for the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program. She and her COMPASS team offer a wide range of workshops for academic scientists as well as scientists who work for the government and non-governmental organizations in North America and abroad. Her experience as a Canadian National Parks biologist and science writer inspired her to help bridge the gaps among scientists, journalists, and policymakers. An ardent naturalist, Baron has led natural history expeditions around the world. She wrote the popular introductory field guide, Birds of the Pacific Northwest, as a way to help people engage with the natural world.