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Media Release: Scientists take to the stage to tackle scepticism

Three Canberra scientists will step out of the lab and onto the stage in a play this week to tackle anti-science sentiment and help the public understand how science works.

The scientists, each from research areas with some controversy, will make cameos in the play The Poet’s Guide to Science – A Sceptic Think Tank, on Friday 24th August.

Climate scientist Dr Nerilie Abram from ANU Research School of Earth Sciences said the play was important and fun way to dispel some of the misunderstandings about scientific research.

“Science is such a complex pursuit for every day people to grapple with – this play really gets to the heart of the issues in a very approachable way,” Dr Abram said.

Dr Abram is one of three scientists who meet the characters of the play and have a discussion about the controversies in their area of research.

Joining her are two scientists from ANU John Curtin School of Medicine, Dr Anne-Sophie Dielen, who discusses genetically modified crops, and immunology PhD student, Henry Sutton, who discusses vaccines.

The way the play deals with faith and uncertainty is important said Dr Dielen.

“As a scientist you learn that some things are certain, while other theories are still being debated. The play shows that an all-or-nothing approach to knowledge is problematic, although that can seem a more convenient approach to opinions,” she said.

The play developed through a collaboration between actor/directors Michele Conyngham and Patrick Davies Trumper and science communicator Dr Phil Dooley from Phil Up On Science.

“When public opinion and scientific opinion diverge on topics such as genetic modification, it’s a problem for society. We decided to take on these topics with a different approach that goes deeper than just arguments about facts,” Dr Dooley said.

“Despite the serious subject matter, there’s a lot of comedy in this play.”

The Poet’s guide to Science is supported by National Science Week, and is on for one night only at Smiths Alternative, on Friday 24th August. Ticket $25, $20 concession.

More Info: Tickets:

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