Science decoded

Australian twins Imogen (left) and Freya Wadlow have been decoding climate science talks in Queenstown for the past week. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Australian twins Imogen (left) and Freya Wadlow have been decoding climate science talks in Queenstown for the past week. Photo by Christina McDonald.

Climate scientists have been forced by a pair of 18-year-old Australian twins to think about how well they are communicating their research.

About 280 international and national climate scientists have been in Queenstown attending the Stratosphere-troposphere processes and their role in climate (SPARC) general assembly since last Sunday.

Sydney twins Imogen and Freya Wadlow were co-funded to attend the conference - which discussed the upper atmosphere and its effect on climate - by Macquarie University, where they are studying, and SPARC for a communications role.

Today is the last day of the conference. The twins had been to every talk on the programme as of yesterday, as well as interviewing scientists and posting updates online.

They had given out a questionnaire about how scientists communicate and many of the responses received so far suggested the scientists also thought their communication techniques needed work.

The results would be collated and put in a report to present to their university, with the hope it would influence future science communication.

Interviews they had done with scientists at the conference with the kicker 'why do you love being a scientist?' would be used by schools, the pair said.

The twins have operated two science websites, planetpatrol.info and ifink.com, since they were 10 years old and both are studying multiple science disciplines and politics at Macquarie.

Aside from the night of dancing last night, which Imogen said she heard was now a tradition, the conference allowed for scientists to network and collaborate on future research.

Their experience at the conference had affirmed ''that what we are doing is really important''.

''It's really given us motivation to just keep going and work really hard at it.''

SPARC was founded in 1992 and is one of the four core projects in the World Climate Research Programme.

The conference concludes today.