Designing Science Presentations

1st Edition

A Visual Guide to Figures, Papers, Slides, Posters, and More

Authors: Matt Carter
Paperback ISBN: 9780123859693
eBook ISBN: 9780123859709
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 9th January 2013
Page Count: 384
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Designing Science Presentations guides researchers and graduate students of virtually any discipline in the creation of compelling science communication. Most scientists never receive formal training in the creation, delivery, and evaluation of such material, yet it is essential for publishing in high-quality journals, soliciting funding, attracting lab personnel, and advancing a career.

This clear, readable volume fills that gap and provides visually intensive guidance at every step—from the construction of original figures to the presentation and delivery of those figures in papers, slideshows, posters, and websites. It provides pragmatic advice on the preparation and delivery of exceptional scientific presentations; demonstrates hundreds of visually striking presentation techniques, giving readers inspiration for creating their own; and is structured so that readers can easily find answers to particular questions.

Key Features

  • Clear heading for each section indicates its message, highlighted with graphic illustrations
  • Two summary paragraphs that complement the visual images and clearly discuss the main point
  • Numerous examples of high-quality figures, page layouts, slides, posters, and web pages to help stimulate readers' ideas for their own presentations
  • Numerous "before and after" examples to illustrate the contrast between poor and outstanding presentations


Researchers and graduate students in virtually all scientific disciplines, including life science, physical science, and chemistry

Table of Contents



Goals of This Book

Part 1: Designing Exceptional Science Presentations

1. Scientists as Designers

Necessary Ingredients in any Science Presentation

Doesn’t Good Scientific Content Speak for Itself?

Any Scientist Can Be a Designer

What is Design?

What Design Is Not

Design Is Ultimately about the Audience

Embrace Simplicity

About “The Rules”

Appreciate the Design around You

Appreciate the Presentations of Other Scientists

Design Is a Continuous Process

Summary: Don’ts and Dos

2. Design Goals for Different Presentation Formats

Defining the Goals of Presentation Formats

Advantages and Disadvantages of Presentation Formats

Reasons for Success and Failure

Design a Presentation with Your Format in Mind

Summary: Don’ts and Dos

3. Twenty-One Characteristics Shared by Exceptional Presenters

1 Choose to Design a Presentation

2 Present to Communicate a Message

3 Know Your Target Audience

4 Demonstrate Care and Respect for Your Audience

5 Declare the Question or Goal that Drives Your Science

6 Inspire Interest in Your Subject

7 Demonstrate Expertise

8 Introduce Your Background and Methods with Clarity

9 Balance Details with the Big Picture

10 Highlight One to Three Take-Home Points

11 Follow Time Restrictions

12 Radiate Enthusiasm

13 Demonstrate Accessibility and Friendliness

14 Read and Respond to Your Audience

15 Design Visual Elements with Care

16 Present Information One Piece at a Time

17 Let Your Narrative Lead Your Visuals

18 Master Your Presentation Technology

19 Master the Written English Language

20 Be Yourself

21 Transform Anxiety into Positive Energy



No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2013
Academic Press
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About the Author

Matt Carter

Matt Carter, PhD, is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at Williams College. His previous position was as a post-doctoral fellow in Richard Palmiter’s lab at the University of Washington using optogenetic techniques to study neural circuitry. He has authored the first edition of this book (Elsevier, 2009) as well as Designing Science Presentations: A Visual Guide to Figures, Papers, Slides, Posters, and More (Elsevier, 2012). He was the awardee of Stanford University’s Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, and two-time recipient of the Stanford School of Medicine’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He currently teaches courses at Williams in both Topics in Neuroscience as well as Neural Systems and Circuits.

Affiliations and Expertise

Assistant Professor of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, USA


"Each chapter begins with an introduction to the material and contains a succinctly done and well-illustrated main body, followed by a listing of dos and don’ts for the type of material covered. The text is recommended for the novice presenter as well as the seasoned instructor looking for ways to improve delivery and, perhaps, student (or cohort) evaluations."--IEEE Pulse, July/August 2014

"This volume guides researchers and graduate students in the creation of compelling science communication…This clear, readable volume…provides visually intensive guidance at every step-from the construction of original figures to the presentation and delivery of those figures in papers, slideshows, posters, and websites."--Anticancer Research 34, 2014