science writer | photographer

francesco fiondella

ESSAY | 2014 Climate Models Calendar

My colleague Rebecca Fowler and I, both science communicators at Columbia University, created The Climate Models wall calendar [#climatemodels on Twitter] with the help of talented photographers Charlie Naebeck and Jordan Matter, creator of Dancers Among Us. We held a fashion photo shoot this summer with 13 Columbia University climate scientists who use computer models of the Earth, atmosphere and oceans to learn about climate. This calendar uses scientists as models to promote good science and the people behind it.

Why ? Our goal is to humanize science and increase understanding of current climate research. We believe part of the reason there’s a disconnect between the public and science communities is because many members of the public don’t have much opportunity to interact with scientists on a regular basis, and who only see the products of science, not the process and those behind it. There are misconceptions and stereotypes too, when it comes to who scientists are and what they look like and how they act. We hope this calendar will help remove some of these barriers and bring scientists into people’s every-​day environment. We hope it will inspire young people to become scientists, and to have them regard scientists as role models.

As of today, 300+ people have pledged more than $11,000 on our Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to cover the cost of the calendar’s design and production. We plan to set aside some of the leftover proceeds to specifically fund more “nontraditional” communication projects that promote learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), especially to young people. We will also donate calendars to area schools and interested nonprofits. Please email me to learn more about this project, or visit cli​mate​-mod​els​.org !