Were you aware that we know very little about the ocean floor? It’s true! In fact, scientists have mapped more of the surface of the moon than the ocean floor! Part of the reason is, in many ways, its easier to observe the moon’s surface than the ocean floor. Here to help get people excited about science and oceanography, in particular, is Dr. Dawn Wright.
Dr. Wright is a leading authority in the application of geographic information system (GIS) technology to the field of ocean science. She has played a key role in creating the first GIS data model for the oceans. Dr. Wright is Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (aka Esri). She has also been a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University since 1995.
What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks
- [1:10] Mark introduces his guest, Dr. Dawn Wright.
- [3:45] Why the world’s oceans are so important.
- [6:30] Is the use of emotion an effective way to connect people to scientific work?
- [9:10] How did Dr. Wright get interested in oceanography?
- [13:10] Why have we spent more time mapping the moon than the ocean?
- [19:00] How media, maps, and images help connect people to the ocean.
- [21:30] Improving science communication.
- [25:30] Spreading the power of science through maps.
Connect with Dr. Dawn Wright
Resources & People Mentioned
- Dr. Alan Townsend’s Story
- Dr. Walter Smith
- Dr. David Sandwell
- Dr. Jonathan Foley
- American Geophysical Union: AGU
- Leopold Leadership Program
Why oceans are so important
The ocean matters significantly to each person on the planet regardless if they live next to one or not. Oceans provide over half of the oxygen that we breathe, they also regulate our weather patterns. Unfortunately, oceanography doesn’t get as much attention as other fields of science but it really does matter, we are talking about over 70% of the planet’s surface! Thankfully, spirited leaders like Dr. Wright are doing everything they can to appeal to the public’s sense of curiosity to explore this last frontier of discovery here in our own backyard.
One way Dr. Wright and her colleagues are working to get people excited about exploring the ocean floor is with the use of media and maps. Think back to when you were a kid and you came across a map, wasn’t that exciting? That thrill of exploration and charting a path to undiscovered regions is innate most of us. Dr. Wright finds that when people see images and video of the amazing world that exists under the surface of the ocean, it really unlocks a level of excitement that interest that wasn’t there before their exposure.
Let’s get people excited about science
Similar to Dr. Wright’s approach to getting people excited about exploring the ocean floor, the campaign, Let Science Speak, brings the human element to the forefront of science studies. Let Science Speak started as a direct response to escalating efforts to suppress environmental science and silence scientists. Their campaign includes short films, podcasts, editorials, social content and more. I think you’ll find this campaign beneficial and moving, make sure to check out the links some of the videos included in the resources section of this post!
Dr. Wright’s work, campaigns like Let Science Speak, and organizations like Compass and the Leopold Leadership Program are already paying dividends. Conversations about science and its intersection with everyday concerns seem to be skyrocketing. Dr. Wright is encouraged by the efforts around science communication and she sees it a movement that is gaining substantial momentum. How will Dr. Wright’s perspective impact your view of this subject?
Don’t miss a minute of this intriguing episode of When Science Speaks featuring Dr. Wright’s unique insights!
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