Sunday, April 05, 2015

Periscope and science communication: Chris Hadfield leads the way

I really like how astronaut Chris Hadfield has been making waves using Twitter's new live video streaming app Periscope. His broadcasts are often science communication at their best as he answers questions about space flight and the space memorabilia he has around his house (exploding space shuttle bolt book ends anyone?). Oh and he plays some soothing guitar riffs too.

What I like most about these live broadcasts is not just the sense that I'm hanging out with the world's nicest guy but the way he deals with the (wide ranging!) science questions from the live audience. As he chats away looking straight down the camera lens, people pose tweet-like questions that they've typed on their phones, which then appear on screen and he answers speaking into the camera. 

His answers are always respectful of where the person is coming from (no knowledge deficit model of science communication here) and his explanations are clear and often fascinating. He's not shy of being provocative either - when asked by someone if the plans for Mars trips were fake he surprised me with his answer - "they're not fake but they're not real either - it's science fiction." Ouch. 

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