The Princeton Center for Complex Materials presents Communicating Science to Nonspecialists at the 2018 MRS Fall Meeting from their Science Communication and Education Network Workshop Series. This session is based in the “Portal to the Public” National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded method, a proven model for scientists to engage in public and face-to-face interactions with group activities, discussions and lectures.  It is designed to increase confidence in scientists while communicating their work and to become part of a community of researchers who share an interest in science outreach and engagement. All participants will receive feedback and time to reflect. There will be three modules discussing different topics in science communication:

  • Module 1: How People Learn
    Grasping different concepts of learning behaviors and several different strategies to facilitate the learning experience.
  • Module 2: Communicating to Nonspecialists
    Identifying and developing concepts and strategies that scientists can use to share their work with public audiences
  • Module 3: Unraveling the Scientific Language
    Using language as a tool and reflecting on the importance of word use to create meaningful learning experiences

This is an excellent program to aid researchers in fulfilling their Broader Impacts criterion for governmental agency grant proposals.

This session required advance sign-up and is now full. Please feel free to check in the morning of the session at the Public Garden to see if any spots have become available. 


Daniel Steinberg, Princeton University

Daniel Steinberg is the Director of Education Outreach at Princeton University’s Princeton Center for Complex Materials, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). He has been at Princeton University for 15 years. Previously, he was a Space Telescope Science Institute operations astronomer for the Hubble Space Telescope. He has a PhD degree in geophysics from Binghamton University, The State University of New York, and was a National Research Council (NRC) Postdoc at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center. Steinberg has been Chairman of the NSF MRSEC Educators Network and has given science education and outreach presentations for national laboratories, professional science societies and science engagement organizations such as the Materials Research Society (MRS), American Geophysical Union (AGU), Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) and the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network. He has reviewed science education materials for NASA, the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) and over a dozen children’s science books.  He has given numerous talks for the public on Astronomy, Climate Change, Materials Science and Nanotechnology. In addition to lectures/science shows, Steinberg has produced dozens of other large-scale science events for local public schools, libraries, Underrepresented Minority (URM) community organizations and clubs where many research scientists interact directly with the public. For the past 20 years, he has helped scientists to communicate and teach their research to nonscientists.

Sara Rodriguez, Princeton University

Sara Rodriguez is the Education Outreach Coordinator at the Princeton Center for Complex Materials. She has been working at Princeton University for the past three years, managing over 15 programs that run yearly in science education and communication. Among these are the following: Science Days and Shows such as Dia de la Ciencia, a bilingual science day with over 40 volunteer Princeton University members showcasing their science, an English and Spanish-speaking scientist at every table and over 500 audience members; Summer Academies for middle- and high-school students and Research Experiences for Undergraduates, where undergraduates from all levels and around the country work in our laboratories pursuing research in materials science all Summer; and Science Communication workshops, as well as Mentorship training for graduate students, postdocs and faculty. She is extremely interested in helping scientists portray their science, so they may share it with nonspecialists and develop their own scientific demos. Among her passions are tinkering and creating spaces to do so in educational environments, as well as science semiology and talking about the scientific language.