Science Communication

Instructor:Masamba Kah
Updated:3 February, 2016

Course Summary

Information exists in any action, function or process. We now live in the age when sharing information by means of technology has become an integral part of our lives. The amount of available information is vast and is constantly increasing. Therefore, ability to find and process the right content is vital. In this light, understanding the technology involved in information storage, search and transfer is one of the key factors, which determine success of any venture. This course attempts to bridge the gap between natural sciences and humanities and is designed to provide students with principles behind science communication.

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Information Theory
    • concepts of information theory
    • methods of measuring information
    • requirements for information transfer
  2. Wave Theory
    • introduction to wave theory
    • relationship between light and sound waves
    • electromagnetic spectrum
  3. Control Theory
    • introduction to control theory
    • language as a function of control
  4. Computer Systems and the Internet
    • history of computer science
    • logic gates
    • general operation principles
    • introduction to networking
  5. Data Bases, Search Engines and Electronic Libraries
    • introduction to archiving
    • databases in linguistics
  6. Research Articles in Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences
    • types of academic texts
    • adapting to a target audience
    • stylistic peculiarities
  7. Academic Writing in the Digital Age
    • optimizing virtual visibility
  8. Course Review

Reading List

Required reading:

  1. MacKay, D. (2014). Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms. Cambridge University Press.

Recommended reading:

  1. Zanders, Edward (2010). Presentation Skills for Scientists. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Kong, Kenneth (2014). Professional Discourse. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Lidovsky, V.V. (2004). Teorija informatsii. Moscow: Sputnik (in Russian).
  4. Kedrova, G.E. (2003). Lingvisticheskaya baza dannykh kak osnova obuchajushchej sredy. Moscow: Moscow University Press (in Russian).
  5. Gunther, L. (2011). The Physics of Music and Color. Springer.
  6. Dimitriadis, A. & Musgrave, S. (2009). Designing Linguistic databases: A Primer for Linguists. In The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies. URL:
  7. Language and Communication. Elsevier.

Online resources:

  1. Pinker, S. Linguistics as a Window to Understanding the Brain:
  2. Graduate Academic Writing:
  3. Effective Writing for Scholarly Work:

Homework Assignments

  1. What is information? (essay)
    • storage
    • communication
  2. Explain the wave theory
    • explain radio
    • explain television
  3. Explain basic control mechanisms
    • programming languages and control mechanisms
  4. Describe the signal path in a typical computer system with peripherals
  5. Describe optimization procedure when writing content for digital media
    • increase visibility
    • ratings, citations


It is a pass/fail course. To get a pass, you should complete all the assignments.