The Advanced Light Source (ALS), a division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is a national user facility that generates intense light for scientific and technological research (see http://www‐als.lbl.gov/als/). As one of the world's brightest sources of ultraviolet and soft x‐ray beams, the ALS makes previously impossible studies possible. Our facility welcomes researchers from universities, industries, and government laboratories around the world. The fields of study encompassed by the ALS include biological, materials, environmental, and space sciences. The investigative techniques employed here include microscopy, spectroscopy, crystallography, and time‐resolved studies. With 39 beamlines serving over 2000 users per year, it is a daunting task to communicate the exciting results produced at the ALS to a diverse audience of scientists from different fields, government‐funding decision‐makers, and the general public. The ALS communications group has addressed this dilemma by taking a highly leveraged approach to producing science highlights. At their core, our highlights consist of a 600‐word narrative, targeted to members of "the science‐interested public." This narrative is then adapted for various audiences and media. The first paragraph of the narrative, written to hook readers' interest as well as summarize the experimental techniques and results, is distributed in our monthly email newsletter, with links to a full write‐up on the Web. The addition of a lay‐audience sidebar in the Web version provides context and background for the general public; bullet points summarizing motivations and applications are included in PowerPoint slides provided to funding agencies; eye‐catching graphics with minimal introductory text are made into posters that decorate the ALS entry lobby. Future developments under consideration include video introductions by scientists, allowing comments on Web highlights, RSS feeds, and podcasting.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

ALS science highlights
A leveraged approach

Lori Tamura   Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Advanced Light Source (ALS), a division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is a national user facility that generates intense light for scientific and technological research (see http://www‐als.lbl.gov/als/). As one of the world's brightest sources of ultraviolet and soft x‐ray beams, the ALS makes previously impossible studies possible. Our facility welcomes researchers from universities, industries, and government laboratories around the world. The fields of study encompassed by the ALS include biological, materials, environmental, and space sciences. The investigative techniques employed here include microscopy, spectroscopy, crystallography, and time‐resolved studies. With 39 beamlines serving over 2000 users per year, it is a daunting task to communicate the exciting results produced at the ALS to a diverse audience of scientists from different fields, government‐funding decision‐makers, and the general public. The ALS communications group has addressed this dilemma by taking a highly leveraged approach to producing science highlights. At their core, our highlights consist of a 600‐word narrative, targeted to members of "the science‐interested public." This narrative is then adapted for various audiences and media. The first paragraph of the narrative, written to hook readers' interest as well as summarize the experimental techniques and results, is distributed in our monthly email newsletter, with links to a full write‐up on the Web. The addition of a lay‐audience sidebar in the Web version provides context and background for the general public; bullet points summarizing motivations and applications are included in PowerPoint slides provided to funding agencies; eye‐catching graphics with minimal introductory text are made into posters that decorate the ALS entry lobby. Future developments under consideration include video introductions by scientists, allowing comments on Web highlights, RSS feeds, and podcasting.

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