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21/03/2006

The article reports the outcome of an analysis of the reception of Bertolt Brecht’s play, "The Life of Galileo", as presented by Giorgio Strehler (Milan, 1963) and Brecht himself in collaboration with Erich Engel (East Berlin, 1957), carried out on respective press reviews. The reviews were examined by the application of quantitative analysis based on the recurrence of determinate themes associated with images of science. In comparing the results of the analysis of each of the two press reviews, it appears that different images were conveyed by the same play performed in two different contexts for different audiences. Italy, in particular, showed a more frequent recurrence of the conflict between science and religion as a result of the ongoing cultural and spiritual authority of the Church, whereas in the German Democratic Republic’s communist regime, where Brecht is a troublesome but tolerated intellectual, the topics of the scientist’s freedom within the Establishment and intellectual courage were more frequent.

21/03/2006

The use of various expressive artistic forms in science centres and in interactive museums is becoming increasingly widespread. This paper proposes an interpretation of this phenomenon that emphasises how contemporary art contributes to experimentation with new forms of scientific communication. Furthermore, it examines the considerable overlap apparent between the themes addressed by contemporary artists and current scientific developments. Indeed, just as can be seen in science centres, artistic experimentation has assumed a new role: raising public awareness of what is happening around us today.

21/12/2005

This study presents the results of a qualitative analysis based on 13 crime news articles from Italian newspapers, to show that the belief that mental disorder predisposes many of those suffering from it to behave violently has endured, though the 180 bill was passed 25 years ago. Although the question has already been addressed by social psychologists and psychiatrists, it has not been discussed in great detail by science communication. However, this considers crime articles in newspapers as very interesting examples of indirect communication on health issues, where common belief prevails. The articles analyzed were about two matricides dating back to 1972 and 2001 respectively. The analysis showed that the belief that people with mental illnesses are recognizable, antisocial, can behave violently and cannot recover, has endured over many years. Nevertheless, statements about people with mental disorders are more accurate and the idea that the risk of violence among released mental patients is predictable, has been set aside.

21/12/2005

In this paper I use the concepts “understanding of science” and “appreciation of science” to analyze selected case studies of current science communication in Denmark. The Danish science communication system has many similarities with science communication in other countries: the increasing political and scientific interest in science communication, the co-existence of many different kinds of science communication, and the multiple uses of the concepts of understanding vs. appreciation of science. I stress the international aspects of science communication, the national politico-scientific context as well as more local contexts as equally important conditions for understanding current Danish science communication.

21/09/2005

Florence's La Specola Museum stirs up strong emotions. Among its collections, the valuable anatomical wax models created between the end of 17th and the beginning of 18th century stand out owing to their marvellous and provocative nature. The aim of this essay is to analyse the communication models epitomised by some of these works by means of historical semiotics, to nourish the widespread, but often underestimated assumption that science and the means used to spread it have always been influenced by intellectual suppositions and constantly interact with contemporary culture.

21/09/2005

The objective of this article is to present a panorama of the way in which journalistic coverage of science and technological themes is being carried out in Latin America, having as a case study seven newspapers of significant impact in the region. We analyzed all stories published by the science section during all the month of April 2004, in the following newspapers: La Nación, Argentina; El Mercurio, Chile; Mural, Mexico; El Comercio, Ecuador; O Globo, Folha de S. Paulo and Jornal do Commercio/Pernambuco, Brazil. A total of 482 texts were collected. The methodology joins quantitative and qualitative analysis. There are very few studies on science journalism in Latin America and even fewer that seek to explore a comparison among countries. We believe that studies such as ours can provide subsidies to stimulate the improvement of journalistic coverage of scientific and technological issues.

21/09/2005

Several researchers operating in the sociological field have recently theorised that genetics and biotechnologies are at the core of the public perception of science. The present study aims at verifying empirically whether or not this is mirrored in Italian mass media, as well as at analysing the topics most frequently present in Italian newspapers and the economic and editorial reasons behind the results of editorial choices. Besides, it provides statistics about the major Italian newspapers published in the last third of 2002. This period has been chosen because some important news was published in December: it consequently offered the chance to carry out a long-term analysis as well as a study of the most important differences - in content and editorial lay-out - between scientific articles which are published in the appropriate sections inside the newspaper and those which make the front page. Ours are going to be purely quantitative considerations; but, from the point of view of the content, the data are sufficient to identify various narrative currents. These currents could be the object of further research on the frames used to contextualize the news and the reasons (anthropological, socio-cultural and editorial) for the way they are used by editorial staffs.

21/06/2005

The image and perception of science and of scientists is a crucial topic, above all with regards to younger generations, the human capital of the future. For this reason, the National Research Council (CNR), in 2004, asked the IRPPS institute (Istituto di ricerche sulla popolazione e le politiche sociali) to carry out a sample survey of 800 people between the ages of 18 and 29 on the topic. Science and new technology emerged as the topics of most interest, in addition to medicine, history and economics. Scientific content in the mass media is considered to be satisfactory, whereas education in the field of science is considered to be less than satisfactory, above all in relation to the work environment. However, if research in Italy seems weak in the eyes of young people, scientists are not seen the same way but are considered society's second most important profession after that of the entrepreneur. The problem of trust in science is due, above all, to the politics of research, which do not encourage adequate investment in public and private sectors. A factor analysis technique was applied in order to identify models of attitude towards science of various subgroups within the population.

21/06/2005

The article proposes a reflection on science communication and on the communicative processes characteristic to the production of new-found knowledge. It aims to outline the role that sociology can play within this frame for greater understanding. The article first defines the main evolutionary trends in scientific research in recent decades, with particular reference to the emergence of new social actors. Following on from this, it will look at some of the epistemological conditions that may strengthen the sociologist's role in the cognition of scientific production. Using this as a premise, we will look at a typology for science communication and its components, as well as some of its governing principles. The conclusion of the article indicates the added value that can be gained from the use of such a model, with the particular aim of identifying indicators that allow the evaluation of scientific research in sociological terms as well as those already in existence.

21/03/2005

In 1995, journalist Dava Sobel's Longitude caused an earthquake in the history of science community. The present article analyses how only recently historians of science have fully realized the novelty the book represented. In the meantime, the international success of popular books by journalists on the history of science has become a well-known phenomenon. The author suggests that the huge publishing success of Sobel's book ­ the "Sobel Effect" ­ has provoked three main kinds of reaction among historians: rejection, detachment, and imitation. Which of the three strategies is the best, for both public and authors?

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