Behind the scenes of “Skype a Scientist” with founder Sarah McAnulty

July 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight that successfully landed humans on the moon for the first time. In the last half a century, the world has seen stupendous success in the field of science and technology. We went from development of polio and smallpox vaccines to CRISPR technology, from first communication satellites to almost 24/7 access to the internet, from first and second generation of computers to smartphones, cloud computing, and AI. The list can go on. This is the result of decades of collaboration between scientists, governments, and citizens across the globe. More recently, however, there has been a growing distrust regarding science and scientists among non-scientists. While this may be attributed to a number of factors, it is important to rebuild the bridges of trust and confidence to ensure that decades of unprecedented scientific and technological advances are not undone.

We spoke with Sarah McAnulty, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut, who recognized this problem and launched an initiative called Skype A Scientist to encourage one-on-one dialogue between scientists and non-scientists. In this interview, Sarah discusses the inspiration behind this initiative, the challenges that she faced on the way, and the importance of science communication.Read more