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Randy Olson, author of Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style and director of Sizzle: A  Global Warming Comedy.
Randy Olson, author of Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style and director of Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy.

February 15 IMPACT Speaker to Discuss Communicating Science, Show Global Warming Film

Randy Olson, author of Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, will discuss the challenges that scientists face in communicating with the public during his appearance in Georgia Tech's IMPACT Speaker Series at 4:30 p.m. February 15 in the College of Management.

A scientist turned independent filmmaker, Olson will screen his latest "mockumentary" Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, which concerns confusion over climate change, at 6 p.m. (following his IMPACT lecture). The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Judith Curry, professor and chair of Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and CNN journalist Bobbie Battista.

All of these related events will be held in LeCraw Auditorium of the Management building (800 West Peachtree Street). They are free and open to the public (pizza will be served for the film). To help event organizers order enough pizza for the Olson film, RSVP for Sizzle at http://bit.ly/wjL6O7.

Olson, whose IMPACT lecture is titled "Storytelling: Clear Proof that Scientists Descended from Humans," believes that scientists have great difficulty at conveying their work in a compelling way. "Many even suffer from 'story phobia,' which is the irrational fear of bending the science to tell a better story," he explains.

Olson, who holds a PhD from Harvard University, achieved tenure as a marine biologist at the University of New Hampshire before jumping head first into Hollywood filmmaking at age 38. In his films, he works to communicate critical science issues to the lay public. His book, Don't Be such a Scientist, is a popular text in various science courses taught at Georgia Tech.

His visit to campus, hosted by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship and the Center for Biologically Inspired Design, will also include two workshops with students: A "Video Analysis" in which students receive feedback on short videos about their research and "Individual  Story Pitches" in which students receive guidance on effective short storytelling about their projects. Both workshops are full.

Georgia Tech's IMPACT Speaker Series brings notable business executives, high-tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and intellectual leaders to the College. For the full spring 2012 lineup, visit the IMPACT Website

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