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Science with a Capital "S" with George Sparks

Season 2, Episode 2

As the President of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), George Sparks always has good science communication on his mind. For him, this begins at the very fundamentals: a better definition of science – one with a lowercase “s.” We often think of science as a cerebral, individual activity, like chess; really, George says, it’s more like rugby: it’s a team sport. It’s ugly. It’s messy. Scientists are humans, too, with the same biases as the rest of us, and the quest for truth couldn’t be further from a straight line. For better public policy, then, we need a transparent triad between journalists, policymakers, and scientists – one that’s ripe with honesty, centered around values, and grounded in better relationships.

George Sparks prides himself on the museum’s efforts to distribute inquiry-based learning methods more widely. Among his favorite projects: science-in-a-box. Just as with Blue Apron, a teacher can request a lesson on, say, “energy in Colorado,” and DMNS will ship a monopoly-like board game that has students buying power plants and making trade-offs between energy density and carbon intensity. Most recently, George created the Institute for Science and Policy, which aims to find a more effective policy space for science. Tune in to hear more about George’s projects, what’s keeping him optimistic about the future, and why he’s replaced the word “science” with “data, evidence, and reason.”

Here's a full transcript of the interview.

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