The Importance of Translating the Complexity of Science for Children (Jean Craighead George)

Video Shot in: 2010

Jean Craighead George reflects on her experience traveling to Barrow (now called Utqiaġvik), Alaska, where scientists aiming to reach a wider audience through education outreach took her out on the tundra, teaching her about the depth of the permafrost and the ocean currents. Jean considers it a valuable education and acknowledges the scientists’ desire to bridge the gap between their scientific writings and a broader audience. She recounts how her son, Luke, now a professor at Humboldt College in California, accompanied her and corrected her notes based on what he heard from the scientists. Jean realizes that scientists can convey information effectively but need someone to document it in a more accessible manner. She mentions the fascinating behavior of lemmings, clarifying that they don’t actually run into the ocean but run until they exhaust themselves, falling prey to predators along the way. She recalls how the local Iñupiaq children collected lemmings for the scientists’ study on warming, showcasing their knowledge of where to find them. Jean remarks that these children would make great collectors and humorously suggests that they should be hired now.