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Scientists brew up a new way to reach the public

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A group of UC graduate students, led by UC Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist Peggy Lemaux, is making science more accessible to the public by hosting nighttime lectures at Bay Area beer pubs, reported Nicholas Iovino of Courthouse News Service. The monthly talks have tackled topics ranging from microbial bacteria to the search for extraterrestrial life.

The PubScience lecture series grew out of an initiative at UC Berkeley called the Communication, Literacy and Education for Agricultural Research (CLEAR) project. Lemaux launched the project three years ago with a $103,000 grant from the UC Global Food Initiative. CLEAR reaches out to students, members of the community and policymakers.

“If we're not telling people about what we're doing and why they should care, then it's going to be really easy to cut funding for science,” Lemaux said.

Peggy Lemaux started CLEAR by offering a free pint to pub patrons who asked a question about science.

The CLEAR group has grown exponentially since its inception. Lemaux believes the election of President Donald Trump and the policies that stem from his administration's denial of climate change helped spark a renewed interest in communicating science to the public. 

“The group was much smaller before Trump was elected,” Lemaux said. “Seeing the rise of political extremism driven by misunderstanding of science was a huge factor.”

 

Posted on Monday, October 1, 2018 at 2:22 PM

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