Science in Plain English

Science in Plain English is about honing your ability to discuss your science with someone who isn’t a scientist or a science student, in a non-academic situation. Imagine explaining your work to

•       an elderly uncle at a holiday dinner

•       someone you meet at a social engagement

•       a TV news reporter

•       a city council member at a hearing

•       a researcher in a non-science field


Think brief, clear, and plain English—i.e., avoiding technical terms.  If you’ve got what it takes to explain complex scientific research so that a 5th-grader can understand it, sign up for the 2018 Science In Plain English competition.


All you may bring to the competition is your words—no props, no PowerPoint, no audio or video. You'll have three minutes to talk about your research. The judges will stop you promptly at the 3-minute mark.

Judges will score presenters on

•       brevity

•       clarity

•       avoidance of jargon or appropriate use & explanation of technical terms

•       speaking style (engaging? eye contact? gestures? vocal tics? hurried delivery?)


The decision of the judges is final. 

First prize: All-expenses-paid (registration, airfare & ground transportation, accommodations, meals) trip to the 2019 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (February 14-17, Washington, D.C.) 

Second prize: $100

Contestants must be current UT Austin students. Contest sponsored by the UT Science Communication Interest Group and supported by University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council member Ken Capps and Austin Radiological Association. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL)
101 21ST ST E, Austin, Texas 78705

Event Type

Science & Tech


University of Texas Libraries

Target Audience


Campus Announcements



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