About Sideways Science!

The idea for Sideways Science! started with a passion for story telling in science research. The fact of the matter is, science is cool! Too often, the coolness of what scientists do on a daily basis is lost (sometimes even to the scientists themselves). Sideways Science! started as a way to share the stories of scientific research...but with a twist.

Science can be hard to talk about. Communicating our work is something scientists are notoriously bad at—even to other scientists in our field! But, this problem becomes more apparent when talking to scientists outside our own fields or even the general public.

Imagine trying to communicate a complex idea. A lot of detail might be needed for someone with no familiarity with the subject to keep up; without detail, none of the message will be comprehendible. Simultaneously, a high level of detail would bore someone educated on the topic and even detract from the main story. So, the communicator needs to walk a fine line between boring the expert and alienating the novice.

This problem, together with an aptly timed class on science communication, birthed the idea for Sideways Science!

The idea is simple enough. The storyteller can simply tell their story, in a way that they would communicate to a peer. If the reader comes across a word, phrase, or concept they're unfamiliar with, they can simply click and more detail will appear on the right! Their spot in the main story is saved and visible just on the left, whereas the new detail is available on the right, written by the same author to help maintain the same voice!

The ability to have the additional content immediately available on the right encourages learning (by making the content easily accessible) and minimize distraction (the content is controlled and finite, avoiding a "Wikipedia rabbit hole"). Sideways Science! borrows this idea from lateral (or sideways) reading, a novel learning technique that encourages readers to seek answers to questions immediately.

Sideways Science! was started by Collin Holgate. While most of the initial content for Sideways Science! will focus on Materials Science due to Collin's familarity with the topic, stories from all branches of science are welcome here!

If you have a passion for sharing stories about science and have a story you think would be of interest to a general population, please reach out! We would love to feature your story on Sideways Science!