Communicating science in a post-truth world

Plenary session on Oct. 17 to help researchers improve their science communications

Attendees listen as journalists discuss science communication at the 2017 COMPASS plenary session at Penn State. Credit: Kevin Sliman / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For scientists who dedicate years of time, energy and resources to their research, they can find that sharing their knowledge through the media can be challenging.

To help researchers improve their science communications, the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) and the Science Communication Program in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications will host "Communicating Science in a Post-Truth World," a plenary session featuring four national journalists. The session will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in 233 HUB-Robeson Center. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. A question-and-answer session and a reception will follow the plenary.

The event will provide faculty, graduate students and other members of the Penn State community, as well as the public, with a behind-the-scenes look at the changing world of journalism. Leading journalists will discuss how the media is changing and what it means for communicating science to the public and policymakers.

“Being able to communicate your science is so important to helping others understand what you do and why it matters,” said Lara Fowler, assistant director for outreach and engagement in the Institutes of Energy and the Environment and senior lecturer at Penn State Law. “The journalists brought in by COMPASS have always done a fabulous job sharing what their world looks like and how scientists and journalists can work together.”

The journalists attending are David Malakoff, Science Magazine; Angus Chen, freelance (Scientific American, Science, NPR); Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor; and Maddie Sofia, NPR Science Desk.

The plenary is a part of science communications training provided by IEE through COMPASS, which includes a graduate student workshop earlier in the day on Oct. 17. The workshop is open to the first 50 who register for the event.

COMPASS is an organization that was founded to help scientists share their knowledge in a way that effectively communicates their message to the general public but doesn’t compromise the accuracy of the science.

IEE is one of seven interdisciplinary research institutes at Penn State. It fosters and facilitates interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration to positively impact important energy and environmental challenges. IEE brings together more than 500 extraordinary faculty, staff and students to advance the energy and environmental research missions of the University.

For more information on the event and to register, visit

Last Updated September 27, 2019