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From Aristotle to South Park: The ABT Framework as a New Tool for Science Communication

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Twenty years ago, scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson left his tenured professorship of marine biology for Hollywood. He had a single goal — the search for something that might improve the communication of science. He found it in a narrative template he crafted and labeled as “The ABT.” The ABT is adapted from the co-creators of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning animated series, South Park. In a 2011 documentary about the show, they talked about their “Rule of Replacing” which they use for editing scripts. Their rule involves replacing the word “and” with “but” or “therefore." From this Olson devised his “And, But, Therefore” template (the ABT). This has become the central tool for his new book, “Houston, We Have A Narrative,” his work with individual scientists, and his Story Circles Narrative Training program he has been developing over the past year with NIH and USDA. In this webinar, co-sponsored by the Society for Conservation Biology and the American Geophysical Union/AGU's Sharing Science program, he will present what he has termed “The ABT Framework” which refers to “the ABT way of thinking.” He will tell about how he has expanded it into The Narrative Spectrum, present examples of it working with scientists, and talk about the universal importance of narrative structure.

Speaker: Randy Olson, marine biologist-turned-filmmaker, author of Houston, We Have a Narrative. 
Moderator: Aaron Huertas, Senior Washington Director at Cater Communications
Audience Partners: The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, New York Hall of Sciences, Surfrider Foundation, USDA Agricultural Research Service.