Article

20/03/2009

One of the main purposes of weather forecasting is that of protecting weather-sensitive human activities. Forecasts issued in the probabilistic form have a higher informative content, as opposed to deterministic one, since they bear information that give also a measure of their own uncertainty. However, in order to make an appropriate and effective use of this kind of forecasts in an operational setting, communication becomes significatively relevant.The present paper, after having briefly examined the weather forecasts concerning Hurricane Charley (August 2004), tackles the issue of the communicative process in detail.The bottom line of this study is that for the weather forecast to achieve its best predictive potential, an in-depth analysis of communication issues is necessary.

24/02/2009

There is a compelling need to ensure that the points of view and preferences of stakeholders are fully considered and incorporated into natural resources management strategies. Stakeholders include a diverse group of individuals in several sectors that have an interest in how natural resources are managed. Typically, stakeholders with an interest in groundwater resources include groups who could be affected by the manner in which the resource is managed (e.g., farmers who need water for irrigation; municipalities and individuals who need drinking water, agencies and organizations that want to maintain in-stream flows to support ecosystems, etc.) Refugio County in South Texas provides an interesting case study since several groups of water users in the region are working with researchers at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) to develop decision-support models that incorporate stakeholder concerns. The focus of this paper is to provide a series of arguments and approaches about the ways in which stakeholder issues have recently been incorporated into environmental models, to briefly describe some of the TAMUK efforts to develop groundwater models that incorporate stakeholder inputs, and to present and discuss a method in which communication research can be used to obtain stakeholder preferences input into modeling efforts.

26/01/2009

Mouse-related research in the life sciences has expanded remarkably over the last two decades, resulting in growing use of the term “mouse model”. Our interviews with 64 leading Japanese life sciences researchers showed heterogeneities in the definition of “mouse model” in the Japanese life sciences community. Here, we discuss the implications for the relationship between the life sciences community and society in Japan that may result from this ambiguity in the terminology. It is suggested that, in Japanese life sciences, efforts by individual researchers to make their scientific information unambiguous and explanative are necessary.

19/12/2008

The knowledge deficit model with regard to the public has been severely criticized in the sociology of the public perception of science. However, when dealing with public decisions regarding scientific matters, political and scientific institutions insist on defending the deficit model. The idea that only certified experts, or those with vast experience, should have the right to participate in decisions can bring about problems for the future of democracies. Through a type of "topography of ideas", in which some concepts from the social studies of science are used in order to think about these problems, and through the case study of public participation in the elaboration of the proposal of discounts in the fees charged for rural water use in Brazil, we will try to point out an alternative to the deficit model. This alternative includes a "minimum comprehension" of the scientific matters involved in the decision on the part of the participants, using criteria judged by the public itself.

19/12/2008

The importance the Brazilian government has given in the last few years to the dissemination of science points out the necessity of a more discerning analysis about the establishment of this subject on the public agenda and the related public policies undertaken. This work tries to contribute to the debate as an inquiry about the policies to popularize and disseminate Science and Technology (S&T) established by the Science and Technology Popularization and Dissemination Department, which was created in 2004. In order to do so, theoretical references from Public Policy Analysis, the Studies of Science, Technology and Society (SSTS), and Public Communication of Science are used. Furthermore, we analyze some of the results from research on Science and Technology Understanding carried out in Brazil in 2006. As a final point, this associated approach aims at identifying some of the limiting factors related to science dissemination actions in Brazil.

19/12/2008

In a refereed journal in the food and agriculture sector, papers were tracked over a five-year period during the introduction of electronic submissions. Papers originated in the Americas and Pacific region and were processed in Canada. Acceptance times for revised papers were reduced (P < 0.001) to 59% of the original, from 156.5 ± 69.1 days to 92.8 ± 57.5 days. But the start of electronic submission coincided with a change in the geographical origin of papers, with papers from Anglophone countries changing from a 61% majority to a 42% minority. It is possible that submissions from non-Anglophone sources were facilitated, thus creating challenges to the traditional Anglophone reviewer population.

19/09/2008

Global changes such as urbanisation, new ways of travelling, new information and communication technologies are causing radical changes in the relationships between human beings and the environment we are both a part of and depend on. Relationships which – according to a multiplicity of researches in various fields – are crucially important. Science education and the language of science risk exacerbating a tendency towards objectifying nature and inhabiting a virtual reality, thereby rendering ever more tenuous the dialogue between people and the natural world. This article examines two approaches to science and language – as products or as processes – and suggests how awareness of the dynamic relationship between language and knowledge can help restore that vital dialogue.

19/09/2008

Oficina Desafio, Challenge Workshop, is a project of UNICAMP Exploratory Science Museum – the Science Center of the State University of Campinas (Brazil). It is an outreach project, consisting of a fully - equipped mobile workshop constructed on a truck, which visits schools and gives the students open solution real problems challenging them to “design, construct and operate a device” capable of solving the challenge. Analysis of the evaluation forms answered by school students reveals that participants of the challenges perceive it as a “learning opportunity”, in the sense they identify school related capabilities as conditions that increase the chance of facing the challenges successfully.

19/09/2008

Science magazines have an important role in disseminating scientific knowledge into the public sphere and in discussing the broader scope affected by scientific research such as technology, ethics and politics. Student-run science magazines afford opportunities for future scientists, communicators, politicians and others to practice communicating science. The ability to translate ‘scientese’ into a jargon-free discussion is rarely easy: it requires practice, and student magazines may provide good practice ground for undergraduate and graduate science students wishing to improve their communication skills.

20/06/2008

Basing mainly on author's direct involvement in some science communication efforts in India, and other reports, this contribution depicts and analyses the present science communication/ popularization scenario in India. It tries to dispel a myth that rural people don't require or don’t crave for S&T information. It discusses need for science and technology communication, sustaining curiosity and creating role models. Citing cases of some natural, 'unnatural' and organized events, it recounts how S&T popularization efforts have fared during the past decade and a half. It's made possible using print, AV and interactive media which, at times, require lot of financial inputs. However, this contribution shows that a number of natural and other phenomena can be used to convince people about power of S&T and in molding their attitude. The cases cited may be from India, but, with a little variation, are true for most of the developing and under- developed societies.

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