Making science simple
BY 花消英气 from 21st Century
Published 2022-06-10
Tang Cheng and his wife Cai Chunlin are honored with the “Bilibili Power up” award. provided to teens

Like many kids, Tang Cheng dreamed of being a scientist. He was so motivated that he made sure to steer himself in the right direction to make his dream come true, going on to gain a doctoral degree from the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2021.

Tang was expected to work at a university or research and development institution. But he eventually took part on a different journey – being a full-time content creator on Bilibili. Now the 32-year-old is focusing on science communication by running an account named “Fun Stuff”, along with his wife Cai Chunlin. Cai also majored in biology and worked for an academic journal.
大家本以为唐骋会去大学或研发机构工作,但他最终步入了另一段旅程——成为哔哩哔哩的全职内容创作者。现在,32岁的唐骋和妻子蔡春林共同运营着一个账号,名为“芳斯塔芙(Fun Stuff:有趣的东西)”,专注于科学传播。蔡春林的专业是生物学,她在一家学术期刊工作。

“There exists a big gap between the public and the academic community,” Tang said. Scholars often communicate with each other using jargon. “For the public, it could lead to misunderstanding,” he added.

The pair hope to arouse people’s interests in science by making videos with simple words, clear explanations and a funny style. Combining their talent and interests, they have been introducing scientific disciplines including paleontology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology to their viewers since 2018. Such information was unlikely to be shared on social media platforms at that time.

Tang believed that “a scientist should be an explorer”. “I want to be a pioneer in content creating,” Tang said.

They first started translating and uploading science videos from English to Chinese. Later, they decided to make original videos. For beginners, it was an exhausting work. They learned how to design the video format, write a script, choose a narrative style and edit a video.

After months of preparation, they uploaded their first original video in 2019 and it soon became a hit. It is about anomalocaris, an extinct species from the Cambrian period. In the video, the creature was described as the earliest hegemon.

Tang believed that his academic experience is important in helping with science communication. Thanks to his strict academic training, Tang is good at searching for materials. He also pays attention to details. For example, he often reads over dozens of papers to figure out the scientific name of an animal.

For the past several years, “Fun Stuff” has gained about 2.5 million followers on Bilibili. The majority are aged between 15 and 30. The couple also won the “Bilibili Power Up” award in 2019 and 2020 based on their video quality, popularity and influence.

Tang said he will stick to the path of promoting science communication, as it bridges the pubic and the academic world and really “brings a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction”, Tang said.

(Translator & Editor: Li Xinzhu AND Luo Sitian)
Steer  引导
Jargon  行话
Paleontology  古生物学
Neuroscience  神经科学
Script  剧本
Narrative  阐述
Anomalocaris  奇虾
Cambrian  寒武纪的
Hegemon  霸主