We put a lot of emphasis on narratives in science communication, so I'd like to share a story with you. Every week we have assigned readings for our "Theories and Principles of Science Communications" class. The class covers rhetorical analysis of science communication. We send in discussion questions before class and find a communication artefact (article, video, poster, etc.) that demonstrates the topic we’re discussing. Our last day of class, my classmate James, forgot. This is his e-mail to our professor, Dr. Philippa Spoel.
From: James Baxter-Gilbert
To: Philippa Spoel
Subject: How I forgot to send it in.
Sorry I did not send you my questions from the reading for Monday. I would like to tell you the story of the explanation why and how it happened.
How I forgot to send it in... a tale by James Baxter Gilbert
Our story begins with a plucky young science communication student named James. There was something unique about James, he had the uncanny ability to lose all track of time (both during the course of a day, the day of the week, and occasionally what year it is). This ability to become temporally lost has hindered James on many occasions, but it also becomes very handy when camping or doing tedious tasks. It may be linked to his aversion to wearing a watch, but no one knows for sure.
One Sunday James was preparing for a communication trip to the Far North, to attempt to establish ties with the Eabametoong Aboriginal community. James had complied a mental list of things to do, such as pack, prepare for the meetings, get a good night’s sleep, and, of course, do his rhetoric readings and send them in, as well a myriad of other things.
Sadly James' internet had been down for the past week, and he was relying on the Science North’s connection to receive his emails. So he knew he had to head in to complete all of the tasks on his list.
Throughout the course of the day James was checking thing out his list.... and then it struck. James had lost his sense of time once again and suddenly it was night. He was worried he would over sleep and miss Dr. Dave in the morning and in doing so... his flight! He rushed to bed forgetting to check his list, and forgetting to send in his questions for his rhetoric class.
Luckily he did not over sleep, and made the flight north. While sitting at breakfast the next day James' mind began to review the work he needed to do when he got home from the trip. Seeing a geologist working on her laptop he thought to himself, "I mustn't forget to send in the question for the rhetoric reading for Monday's class". And then it hit him... today was Monday... he had miss sending it in, his computer was 600km away, and he had no Internet or cell phone coverage to let anyone know. Sadly there was nothing he could do until Wednesday when he returns to Sudbury and Science North.
And here I am.