COVID-19—the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus—has brought nearly all nonessential research activities—almost any research not related to the disease effort—to a halt. Many scientists now find themselves with a bit more time away from the bench and may have a little more time to write scientific articles, analyze data or develop grants.
The need for social distancing has also resulted in the cancellation or postponement of virtually all major national and international scientific meetings. Conferences are a prime place for researchers to share their ideas, learn about state-of-the-art developments in their field and work on the art of science communication.
One form of science communication that I have found particularly enriching during this time is podcasting. Podcasts are an accessible way to share science. You can talk about your own background, research and scientific interests or teach mini lessons on a topic in a “research overview” type of episode. This not only helps you review your science facts and foundations but also practice your science communication skills.
Podcasting is also an informal way to meet new scientists and learn about their research. On my recently launched podcast, “Science & Chill,” I have interviewed researchers in and out of my field. Some of these people I’ve never met in person because they live halfway around the globe!
Many scientists are often more than happy to sit down for a chat and share their research, especially if their work is similar to yours. It’s fun, relatively easy and lets them (and you) garner excitement about the work they are doing. Not only will you get a nice conversation out of the experience, but you’ll build your network, too. In addition to creating my own podcast, I listen to several science podcasts each week, including The Peter Attia Drive, Sean Carrol’s Mindscape and Ologies with Alie Ward.
Right now, it’s important to stay excited about our work. Harnessing the power of the podcast could be a great way to develop new skills and perhaps a new hobby during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brady Holmer is a PhD student in exercise physiology at the University of Florida. His lab focuses on cardiovascular physiology; mainly how exercise can play a role in health, disease and aging. Holmer hosts a podcast called “Science & Chill,” where he sits down with scientists in the fields of physiology, biology, health and nutrition to discuss their work.