Shawn Lawrence Otto | Appearances
Author, science advocate and filmmaker Shawn Lawrence Otto has delivered the message of the changing rules for prosperity and health in the Century of Science to audiences worldwide
Using engaging photography, graphics and video, his interactive presentations are entertaining, thoughtful and inspirational experiences custom tailored to your organization's annual meeting or topical discussion.
Can Democracy Survive the Age of Science?
"Whenever the people are well-informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens now, two centuries later, when the world has become much more complex and science influences every aspect of life? Many of our most pressing problems come out of the scientific advances of the past that policymakers have seen coming for decades but have been unable or unwilling to do anything about. Problems like climate change, biodiversity loss, and crashing fisheries populations are examples where human behavior enabled by the power of science and engineering has outstripped policymaking. Will democracy remain an effective form of government? Do we need science-civics classes? Are the people still well-enough informed? This program explores the relationships between science and democracy, regulation and freedom, and the individual and the collective that lie at the center of the greatest dilemmas facing humanity - and suggests some practical solutions.
The Anti-Science Crisis
Is the current denial of science by politicians driving you crazy? Are you concerned about economic competitiveness? Or science education? Or the environment? Or climate change? Or the deteriorating relationship between science and religion, or the slipping press coverage of science issues that affect all our lives? Shawn tells the story of Science Debate 2008 - an effort to get the candidates for US president to debate America's growing unsolved science policy challenges, that became the largest political initiative in the history of science. He relates how Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton did their best to avoid the topic on the campaign trail, and how he finally got Obama and McCain to agree. This inspirational, humorous, alarming and outrageous story sets the context for a sweeping look at America's complex love-hate relationship with science, and where we need to go as companies, churches, civic organizations and a nation to save the environment, prosper economically, and meet our future challenges proactively.
Sample Talk: 2009 Nobel Conference Keynote
Limitless: Redefining Competitiveness for a New Century
Shawn talks about the relationship between science and engineering, democracy, freedom, and the rise of US competitiveness. His talk provides some startling insights into the relationship between regulation, freedom and ideology that can redefine how we look at economic competitiveness and how we project power abroad and deliver sustainable growth at home.
Faith, meet Science
Shawn engages religious audiences with a fascinating exploration of the intertwined relationship of science and Western religion, from the age of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation through the emergence of modern science from religion, into the current day. As science refines our knowledge, it forces us to refine our values, creating a dynamic tension with religion that can yield new insights into meaning and living.
Still Crazy After All These Years
Climate change is now said by some to be a "hoax" perpetrated by scientists with economic motives. The same exact thing was once said about the theory of relativity. “This world is a strange madhouse,” Einstein wrote a friend in 1920. “Currently every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.” Shawn tells great stories from the history of science to show how science, creativity and innovation have always been political, and why they are so important to our lives, and so political today - and what this means for the new innovation any organization produces.
The Top 15 Science Questions Facing the World
Shawn tells the story of how the 39,000 scientists and engineers that signed on to the Science Debate effort joined with the National Academies, the AAAS, the Council on Competitiveness, and several other organizations to develop the Top 14 Science Questions Facing America, what those questions are, and why there is one more question that wasn't included but is the most important of all.
How to Talk to Normal People
Shawn teaches scientists and engineers strategies for engaging the lay public about complex science topics and overcoming antiscience in the community. He will provide training to scientists, nonprofits, NGOs, government agencies, universities and companies in handling the media, crafting messages, and communicating science-based topics to the general public. Hands-on workshop covers media training in front of a live camera, how to handle a call from a reporter, what a message box is and how to use it, and dozens of other tools to become a skilled communicator in today's interactive and entertainment-driven news media environment.
Shawn tells what he learned on the presidential campaign trail about the news media and their approach to story, and how that differs from the approaches of scientists and lawmakers, producing humorous but also very serious consequences that are placing American democracy at risk. Perfect for general audiences and journalists.
The Science of AntiScience
Shawn tells amusing stories from recent research to help audiences understand why people reject science, even to their own detriment - from climate science to evolution to vaccines to cell phones - and how to build communication strategies that overcome that rejection.
Let's Have a Science Debate!
Shawn gives workshops to science advocates, scientists, news media and civic-minded individuals and organizations to teach them about the critical need for non-partisan political debates that focus on today's major science challenges, and how to hold a successful science debates at the senatorial, congressional, gubernatorial, and parliamentary level.
Sustainability and Science
Shawn talks about the political and economic dynamics of sustainability science.
Story in Film, Politics, Business and Life
Shawn talks about his work as a filmmaker and writer and the secrets to writing a great movie. His inspirational presentation explores how to use narrative to make powerful presentations, how the narrative form grew out of our brain structure and how you can use it as a personal guide to living a more dynamic, exciting, achieving and fulfilling life.
Masters Classes in screenwriting
Shawn provides masters classes and in depth workshops for university film, english and theater programs. Topics include secrets of successful adaptation, structure, character, action, how to enter the film business, and much much more.
To inquire about booking a speaking engagement, please use the form here