From the intricate dynamics of ecosystems to the convolutions of quantum physics, science thrives in complexity. However, this richness and depth can make it challenging to convey scientific concepts to the public. The balance between communicating scientific complexity effectively and not overwhelming audiences is a delicate dance. In this blog post, we'll discuss why communicating the complexity of science is difficult and offer three practical tools that can be employed to convey complex science without oversimplification or 'dumbing down.'
The Challenge of Conveying Complexity
The complexity in science comes from its layered nature – a single concept may involve multiple interconnected components, each of which may be a field of study inits own right. Furthermore, scientific research often includes uncertainties, probabilities, and assumptions, all of which can add layers of complexity. For non-scientists, these aspects can be challenging to grasp without specialized training. There's also a risk of 'information overload,' where too much complexity can overwhelm and disengage the audience. The challenge for science communicators is, therefore, to reveal the complexity without causing confusion or loss of interest.