The National Science Foundation will be sponsoring an interactive panel on communicating complicated science topics to the general public on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in room G06 of White Hall at West Virginia University.

The program, called the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, will feature two authors—Alison Bass and James Kakalios—who have written books about science and medicine that are targeted to the general public.

The partnership between scientists and journalists has never been so important. Various political debates currently taking over the front page of newspapers across the country, such as health care policies and energy crises, involve complicated topics and ideas.

Alison Bass, assistant professor of journalism at WVU, is the author of “Side Effects,” which explores how the pharmaceutical industry systematically withheld data about the safety and the usefulness of a popular antidepressant. It tells the true story of three people who exposed the deception behind the making of this drug. The book won the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Award in 2009.

James Kakalios, professor of physics at the University of Minnesota, is the author of “The Physics of Superheroes,” in which he explains how the laws of physics create the worlds in which our favorite heroes work and save the day. Kakalios has served as a science consultant to movies like “Watchmen” and “The Amazing Spiderman.”

For more information, contact Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, at



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