I like curling and I like science. In 2012, I saw the chance to talk about both of them in a ScienceOnline session with fellow Canadian Marie-Claire Shanahan. How did these two disparate things fit together?
Both science and curling can seem boring or confusing if you don’t know the language or the process. The ScienceOnline conference takes place in Raleigh and we (correctly) guessed that most participants wouldn’t understand curling. We used curling to look at different ways of communicating a new topic. We had curling posts in the manner of many science stories:
We then discussed if people ‘got’ curling. What would have helped them? Video and photos were suggested. For more on the session, you can check out the Storify included at the end of this post.
More connections with science and curling?
The Olympics has brought lots of other ways that curling is being portrayed in ways that science is often communicated.
Many people have sent me the video clip of Sir David Attenborough’s commentary on curling. (Note: he is amazing and my hero workshop was solidified after he sent a handwritten note to one of the high school students in Future Science Leaders.)
I love it! But the pedantic part of me has to note: curling (frisking in the video) does make a difference at the Olympic level.
The Russian curler Anna Sidorova posed for some lingerie shots to promote her sport. Apparently this has made curling more popular this Olympics – but is it popular for the right reasons? Does this sound similar to some of the ‘hot women scientist’ discussions? (Some of the same points have been made for the Kate Upton zero gravity bikini shoot.)
The Canadian Olympics site has a curling infographic for everyone. It is very Canadian (sorry).
Do you have any other examples where curling is being explained?
Do you know more about curling with these various communication efforts? What ones do you find the most useful? Can you see what has helped get you interested vs. explain vs. ?? Perhaps this can help you decide how to communicate your science based on your ultimate goal.