MSU demystifies science through video outreach campaign

Apr 25, 2016

Michigan State University's “Tomorrow” campaign seeks to explain complex scientific research in more accessible terms.

Scientific research can be difficult to explain to people outside the field.  Often, things are lost in translation from the lab to the lay person.  MSU is tackling that problem with a new video outreach series that seeks to make science more accessible. 

Current State’s Kevin Lavery talks with Dr. Brad Day, one of the people featured in the video series “Tomorrow.”

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

On MSU's collaboration for the videos

"This was a first for me. To see the big machine - the broadcasting, the communication side of MSU was very impressive. It was a great opportunity for me to communicate my science. To really sculpt my research - and the objectives of my research - into something that is accessible, regardless of education level and geography.” -- Day

On the issue of global food security

"In 34-36 years, we’re going to be just over 9 billion people on this planet. So we’re essentially going to have to double our food production to feed them.

The other part of food security is giving people access to healthy food, food that is safe from contaminants. This is a great challenge, and one that I think MSU is at the forefront of being able to tackle." -- Day

How do you communicate a complicated topic like food security in a simplified way?

“In Michigan, I think that’s a really easy job to do, because we’re spoiled. We have over 200 crops that are grown in Michigan. We’re second in agricultural output only to California. If you consider the short growing season we have, then it’s quite remarkable. On top of that, we have access to 20 percent of the world’s fresh water through the Great Lakes. Explaining the necessity of the importance of food and agriculture to residents of the state of Michigan is very easy to do. To get that message out to the rest of the world - and parts where people don’t have access to healthy or safe food - that’s where a huge responsibility comes into play. They’re eager to learn, eager to have access to these resources that we in the U.S. don’t take advantage of. It’s a responsibility that we need to respect and grow.” -- Day

On the overall mission of the videos

"Part of my mission is really getting rid of this fear of citizen science. We want people excited about what we do here at MSU, and about the important problems we’re working on. They can also participate! If you eat, then you’re involved in agriculture." -- Day