Video: Talk with Professor John Abraham

Dr. John Abraham (virtually) visited the School of the Environment on November 19th, 2020, discussing his role as a dual scientist-journalist. A professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, he has become well-versed in communicating complex science to the public. He emphasized that it is important for scientists to distill their conclusions into short and clear remarks, and for them not to dwell on scientific uncertainty. He also discussed his “match-making” service—the Climate Science Rapid Response Team—which pairs journalists with reputable scientists to better cover scientific events. The backlash for scientists moving into the public sphere was also discussed; Professor Abraham suggested that structural change is needed to provide incentives for scientists to engage in public discourse conversation. Abraham also outlined how to have tough conversations with climate deniers, noting that you have to find common ground. It matters less about why people think a changing climate is a problem, as long as they agree it is a problem.