Stephan v Duin

About Stephan van Duin

Stephan enjoys the process of understanding complex matters and being able to present them in a comprehensible way. His vision is that science and society can benefit from clear science communication, and that technology can aid this development in various ways, from science websites for the public to academic e-learning for students.

Why you should make science communications easy to understand

If you read our blogs, you’ll notice that we talk a lot about making whatever you publish about science easy to understand. This may feel repetitive sometimes. And being scientists ourselves we get why you may think it’s the least important part of any presentation. Facts are everything right? Well….not really. Facts are key, but if no one is able to reproduce what you’re saying, then all the facts in the world are not going to make a difference. In short: Facts + clarity = impact To quench that thirst for a more in-depth explanation of that other side if the medal, here’s an entire blog devoted to why we think it is key to any talk, article or website to be easy to understand. Introducing mental bandwidth Every person, whether they’re old, young, rich, poor, man, woman, soldier or scientist, has a certain mental bandwidth. That bandwidth, like a talent, varies between people, but what doesn’t change is that it’s finite. And various things can take it up. When you have to keep track of a shopping list you are using bandwidth. When you have to remember until what time your parking meter has been paid, you are using it too. But it also works on a longer term: financial troubles or a sick child can take up a lot of bandwidth. And just like with an internet connection, trying to download too much at the same time will slow everything down. If nobody can understand your message, no facts will make a difference in the impact you have with your communication! Not all burdens are created equal Some people are incredible at keeping lists in their head, while others find it easy to [...]


How to write your scientific presentation in 5 easy steps

You have been invited to a well-known international conference to give a presentation – what an honour! Your first thought may be to get started right away by copying graphs from your publications into a slide, or dragging and dropping content from your archive of premade slides and clip-art into an empty presentation… Don’t open PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi just yet. If you really want to make an impact with this presentation, you need to think about why you want to present. Get your goal clear first, because when nobody understands why you’re giving a presentation, none of the tips we’ll share here will save you. This blog will help you go through the storytelling process and get to the point where you can actually start building it (and where this blog about improving your slide design will help you further). 1 Define your goal: what do you want to achieve with this talk? More often than not, you will be asked to give a presentation without being provided with a goal for that presentation by the people who invite you. So you are free to pick your own! And unless you’re merely entertaining (and aren’t you better than that?) you will need to think about your goals and what you want to achieve with your talk. Even when your only goal is to entertain, that is your goal. Examples of presentation goals: I want to get more grants and impress the subsidizers in the audience I want to advocate for my science and show my peers that my latest research is important for the progress in this field I want to change policy, and raise an alarm with the public officials about this trend [...]