I maintain that there is no research too complicated to be explained in plain language. In teaching and talking about this, I’ve described this is as “the Queen challenge” (when you get honored for your amazing contribution to research, how will you respond when the Queen asks her fabled question, “And what do you do?”). In contexts where such a Britishism falls flat, I try the “Thanksgiving” or “Random Relative” scenario — how would you describe your latest research activities to a family member while you peel the vegetables for a celebratory supper? In the course of my work, I’ve asked hundreds of researchers about their work, and I’ve never yet found one who couldn’t distill what they do down to something that I could understand. But every research administrator I’ve ever met will tell me categorically that many researchers are incapable of summarizing their work for non-experts. It’s reasonable, of course, to assume that the researchers I’ve met are a self-selecting sample — the very fact that they have found themselves in conversation with me probably means that they are at the “more interested in research communication” end of the spectrum. Today’s Friday Funny brings to life the lesser spotted stereotype, the academic who is adamant that his work cannot be explained simply, and that no-one out there is interested anyway. Enjoy.