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PX376 Communicating Science

Organiser: Michael Pounds
Weighting: 15 CATS

Employers look for many things in would-be employees. Sometimes they will be looking for specific knowledge, but often they will be more interested in more general skills frequently referred to as transferable skills. One such transferable skill is the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Over the past two years you may have had experience in writing for an academic audience in the form of your laboratory reports. The aim of this module is to introduce you to the different approaches required to write for other audiences.

This module is not available to students taking the four year MPhys degree.


To provide experience in presenting technical material in different formats to a variety of audiences.


At the end of the module you should have an appreciation of the problems encountered in presenting technical material to different groups, and have had some experience in overcoming them.


You will analyse short articles in a number of scientific publications of different levels to see how the selection of material and style of writing has to be tailored to suit the intended readership. You will be asked to produce a number of short pieces written in these different styles, which will be assessed for the accuracy of the science, the appropriateness of the level of presentation and the quality of the English. The module will also include some experience of group working.

Information for the assignments will be readily available using journals, such as Scientific American, Physics World and New Scientist, academic staff and the internet.

Commitment: 10 Seminars of 2 hours duration

Assessment: 100% assessed by coursework

This module has a home page.


  1. Explanation of a physical principle - 2 sides of A4
  2. Critique of a scientific article - 1000 words
  3. Feature article - 1500-2000 words
  4. Oral presentation - 15 minutes
  5. Poster - A1 size