The Center for Communicating Science:

The art of connecting across difference

The Center for Communicating Science  creates and supports opportunities for scientists, scholars, health professionals, and others to develop their abilities to communicate and connect. Our differences, whether they be racial, cultural, religious, education level, academic discipline, or research specialty, can divide us. But such differences also enrich our lives, broaden our perspectives, and strengthen our collaborations. Arts tools and practices can be used to bridge these divisions, helping participants  to learn to listen deeply, interact personally, directly, spontaneously, and responsively, and express themselves vividly. It is our intention to deepen human interaction, strengthen empathy and awareness of others, and develop collaborative team and leadership capacities in students, faculty, and industry and community partners.

A message from Alan Alda on the opening of the Center: "I'm delighted to know that the founding of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech is inspired by the work we do at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. It's my dream that innovative techniques for teaching communication will make the relationship between science and the public one that's close, warm, and exciting. I congratulate Virginia Tech as it strikes out on that path."


This is the Center's logo

Please Join Us at Improv Lab March 28! 

Ready to tune up your listening and awareness skills? Want to learn to say "Yes, and"? Hungry for real connection instead of digital connection? Interested in trying some improv? Please join us at 5:30 p.m. March 28 at NCB 170 for the second of our spring Improvisation Laboratory events. 

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Upcoming Events

Jim Costa, author of Darwin’s Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory. See flyer!

March 25, 5:30 p.m.

Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg

Research a la Mode provides a monthly venue for graduate researchers to practice their communication skills and share their research with people outside of their fields--and eat ice cream! Contact Lisa Whalen at if you'd like to be a RALM speaker during spring semester.


Keynote speaker for the GSA research symposium, Joe Hanson is the host and writer for "It's Okay to Be Smart"  and the climate conversation series "Hot Mess."

March 28, 6 p.m.

Graduate Life Center auditorium

Join us Thursday evenings in room 170 of the New Classroom Building as we try out applied improv games and exercises! No registration required. Please arrive on any half hour and stay for at least half an hour.

March 28, 5:30 to 8:30

April 25, 5:30 to 8:30

An all-day workshop for faculty and post-docs interested in developing their collaboration skills. 

April 27, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., lunch and dinner included

New Classroom Building 170

Registration details available on flyer.

Recent Events

BioXFEL 2019 (a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center international conference)

Keynote address and engagement: "What's in a Nutshell? Brief Compelling Interactions with the Public"

San Diego, California

February 12

Presentation and workshop, "Connecting across Differences," for annual conference participants

November 29-December 2

San Diego, California

Presentation: Communicating science: The art of connecting across difference 

Workshop: Improvisation for scientists

August 21-23, Berkeley, CA  

Conference presentation: Building communication and collaboration skills, from the inside out

June 27, Pittsburgh, PA

Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop for visiting faculty, June 25, Graduate Life Center

Center faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin facilitated a communicating science workshop for members of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

May 3, Memphis, TN

Brenen Wynd: "Almost all my friends are dead": What does paleontology tell us about extinction?

February 25, 5:30 p.m.

Sihui Ma: The Science of Fermented Drinks

January 28, 5:30 p.m.

Rajesh Bagchi: What's the Better Deal? The Science of Purchasing Decisions

November 26, 5:30 p.m.

Michelle Stocker: Detectives at Work--The Case of the Embedded Tooth

November 1, 5:30 p.m.

Erica Feuerbacher: Dog Behavior

September 27, 5:30 p.m.

Debby Good: Is "23andMe" for You? The Promise and Peril of Genetic Testing

August 23, 5:30 p.m.

Tom Ewing: Booze and Flu(s): Science and Spirits in the 1918 Spanish Influenza

July 26, 5:30 p.m.

Brynn O'Donnell and Robin Scully: Ghost Streams and Painting Water

June 28, 5:30 p.m.

Nick Caruso: "Beyond Blaming the Dog: The Science of Animal Farts"

May 24, 5:30 p.m.

William Rhoades and Sid Roy: Lessons from Flint

April 23, 5:30 p.m.

James Wilson:  Honeybees and Beekeeping

March 26, 5:30 p.m.

Brian Malow: "An Evening of Humor with Science Comedian Brian Malow"

February 26, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Kwame Harrison: "Experiencing Blackness in Defiantly White Spaces--in a Car"

January 22, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Jake Socha: "Flying and Gliding: An Evolutionary Advantage"

November 27, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Marcella Kelly's research group: "Catching Carnivores Creatively: Using Poop and Cameras to Capture Clues about Elusive Animals"

October 23, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Abi Tyson: ""Transforming Football Helmet Design" 

September 25, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Marc Stern: "How to Build Trust" 

August 28, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Nutshell Games winners Caitlin Colleary, Anza Mitchell, and Max Ragozzino

May 6, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg