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A “Renaisscience” Man

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Adam Ruben, Ph.D., uses comedy, storytelling, and writing to communicate the relevance of science in our everyday lives.

Author: Evelyn Head | Category: Career Development | Of Interest | October 26, 2014

In basketball, players are taught what is known as a “triple threat.” This refers to the three choices a player can make after being passed the ball. This includes passing it to another player, dribbling, or shooting the ball. Coaches utilize this concept to teach players that there are multiple to ways to win a game, which is the ultimate goal of any basketball team.

Similarly, one of Adam Ruben’s goals includes communicating science. He has embodied the idea of the “triple threat” through the various ways he has chosen to talk about science, including humor, narratives, and journalism. Through this approach, science is no longer relegated to the pages of scientific journals and has been catapulted into the mainstream.

The following is a short Q&A we had with Adam Ruben:

1) What motivated you to take “the road less traveled” in regards to science?
For me, all of my side work in science communication--whether it's comedy, storytelling, or writing--is the only way I know how to be in science. Science raises so many questions, and so many aspects beg to be explored in media outside of science itself, that I need an outlet away from the bench to be able to explore these things. That may entail making fun of science, attempting to humanize science, or simply asking a question about science and thinking about the answer while typing.

2) When did you realize you could combine your humorous nature, your writing skills, and science expertise into one awesome job?
For a long time, I actively resisted combining science and comedy. I wanted to do both, and I think I was enamored with the idea of completely switching which half of my brain was operating to go do the other one. I wanted to be a scientist, purely, plus a comedian and writer, purely. That was a stupid plan. Part of comedy and writing is finding your niche--which, in my case, is science. So while I still do stand-up comedy about nonscientific topics, I no longer shy away from talking about science to a non-scientific crowd. That is, after all, the point of science communication.

3) If you could tell your past self anything, what would it be?
Don't date that girl during your sophomore year of high school. She's bad news. Also, take a biostatistics class at some point. You have a Ph.D. now but understand very little about statistics, and that's not okay.

Adam Ruben’s down-to-earth, relatable approach to science is refreshing and invaluable. Don’t miss the chance to witness this “renaisscience” man in action! Adam is the keynote speaker for the first annual GSA Career Day. On October 30, 2014, Adam will present in MED 409L from 12:00 - 1:00 pm. RSVP HERE

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