Article

20/06/2008

The rapid spread of technologies involving the application of “Genetic Modification (GM)” raised the need for science communication on this new technology in society. To consider the communication on GM in the society, an understanding of the current mass media is required. This paper shows the whole picture of newspaper discourses on GM in Japan. For the Japanese public, newspapers represent one of the major sources of information on GM. We subjected the two Japanese newspapers with the largest circulation, the Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun, to an analysis of the full text of approximately 4000 articles on GM published over the past to perform an assessment of the change of reportage on GM. As for the most important results, our analysis shows that there are two significant shifts with respect to the major topics addressed in articles on GM by Japanese newspapers.

20/06/2008

This article presents an example of how a public science party was evaluated. The main goals of the science party, to increase the positive image of science and present an attractive science event, were evaluated in two ways. First, web surveys were used to determine the image of science before and after the event among paying visitors, invited guests, and a control group (N = 149). Second, during the event, visitors were interviewed about their experiences at the event (N = 124). The survey study showed that the image of science was very positive among all three groups of respondents. As no differences were found between pre- and post-tests, participation in the event did not lead to a more positive image of science. The results of the interviews suggested that visitors highly appreciated the event. In the Discussion, the evaluation study is analyzed and possibilities/limitations for future general use are discussed.

21/03/2008

The overseas internship programme offered at Tokyo Institute of Technology as part of the science communication curriculum is highly significant, as it prompts graduate students to acquire new skills and awareness levels, including an enhanced meta-level understanding of the importance and complexity of human communications. The capacity to correlate and respond on-site in human interaction can be gradually cultivated during the internship as students experience diverse communication environments. Moreover, the exposure to different organisational, cultural and social environments helps develop a more international outlook. As a result of the initial experience described in this paper, TiTech has adopted internships as an important part of the educational tool-kit to produce scientists and engineers who can play an active role at the global level using their acquired technical knowledge and broad practical capabilities.

21/03/2008

This article offers a 1953-present day review of the models that have popularised DNA, one of the fundamental molecules of biochemistry. DNA has become an iconic concept over the 20th century, overcoming the boundaries of science and spreading into literature, painting, sculpture or religion. This work analyses the reasons why DNA has penetrated society so effectively and examines some of the main metaphors used by the scientists and scientific popularisers. Furthermore, this article, taken from the author's PhD thesis, describes some recent popularisation models for this molecule.

21/03/2008

Scientific information ­ from the moment it is produced by the scientific community until it reaches the non- expert audience through the newspapers ­ is submitted to a complex process of adaptation. In this paper, we investigate the process of accommodating the scientific information provided by a primary scientific source (a peer-review journal) into journalistic discourse (a newspaper). As case studies we analyzed four scientific papers published by the peer-reviewed scientific journals Nature and Science, which were simultaneously used as primary scientific sources by Latin American newspapers. We observed that the process of accommodation into a new space, journalistic space, represents a significant shift in the content of the texts, including information that appears, disappears and is transformed in the process; transformations in the lexica, the style and the argumentation; a change in the hierarchy of the information; a shift in the information emphasized and in the social impact it might have.

22/10/2007

After serving the community for seven years, the Science Museum of Castilla-La Mancha (MCCM) has decided to renew itself. In this context, a survey of the needs and expectations of the people to which the museum is dedicated plays a major role for the changes planned to prove successful. Teachers are among the main users of the museum, staying at the core of all teaching-learning processes, and play a role as mediators between science and students. This paper analyses the judgements made by teachers about various types of events and teaching resources which are normally provided by science museums and, more specifically, the Science Museum of Castilla-La Mancha. Against that backdrop, science (our content), education (our objective) and the democratic participation of teachers will show a clear route to follow if one wants to achieve quality for our institution and its future events.

22/10/2007

Near the turn of the Century, a woman in her 90s from Dodge City, Kansas was riding her horse near the Pecos River and she described it as a sea of saltgrasses...You had to be very close to the river to see it because the grass was so high You could drink the water out of the springs in this area. I used to ride down to the Pecos River on horseback...There was a lot more water in it back then. We grew cantaloupes...and people were amazed at how sweet they were... We stopped because the water [became] was too salty. In 1903, fresh watercress and ferns were growing at Independence Springs [on the Lower Pecos River]...and there were pools of catfish and silver bass. Residents along Independence Creek sold minnows and other bait fish they took from the river. We had a terrible flood in 1941 and 1942 which breached Zimmerman Dam. The river at some places was 10 miles wide. Floodwater covered the valley and the dam was washed out. It seems there is always less water in the Pecos than we need... I think the water quality is worse now-- not that the Pecos River was ever beautiful and clear. When my grandfather got here 110 years ago, they had a lot of water problems then. The prospect of fixing the saltcedar problem and making this area come back the way it was 100 years ago looks bleak for to me...I don't know if we can do that --Quotes from long-time residents of the Pecos River of Texas

22/10/2007

Sometimes scientists live real dramas or undergo social and psychological conflicts which have a positive or negative influence on the development and recognition of their research, discoveries and inventions in society, including the way they are recorded in history. This being so, the question is: to what extent can science be communicated to the public at large by the use of scientists' biographies as a motivational strategy? The controversy arises from the fact that usual (classical) science has traditionally argued for the separation (or de-linking) of the research (the object) from the researcher (the subject).Thus, if the above-mentioned motivational strategy is used in scientific communication, it could break a dominant methodological trend and consequently lead to a questioning of the myth of axiological neutrality in science. The communication of science by means of scientists' biographies could be useful for reaching a specific public, more directed towards emotional aspects, thereby awakening its interest in science, even amid cultural differences and in environments where interest in science and its utility is lacking. It could also reveal human aspects of the everyday life of scientists, bringing them closer to the public at large, which would contribute to the dissemination of science and knowledge.

20/09/2007

We have analyzed the popularization activities undertaken by ten thousand CNRS researchers by means of their annual reports for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. This is the first time that such an extensive statistical study on science popularization practices is carried out. Our main findings are : - the majority of researchers is not involved in popularization (51% has not done any popularization over the three-year period, two thirds have been involved in no more than one popularization action). - popularization practices are extremely diverse, both at the individual level (we have identified three subpopulations that feature distinctive attitudes towards popularization), and at the level of scientific disciplines (researchers in Humanities are twice as active as the average), as well as in laboratories or geographical regions. - the number of actions reported in 2005 greatly increased compared to 2004 (+ 26%), while they slightly diminished in 2006.

20/09/2007

This paper relates to a special case of science-society mediation set up during the Science et Cité festival 2005. This national event took place in about twenty cities in Switzerland to promote a closer cooperation between science and society via art (theatre, music, dance, exhibitions, cinema, etc.), in order to reach the population at large. Results on the profile of the public, the role played by the cultural institutions involved, the motives of the visitors and the role of art in the science-society dialogue show that the goals aimed at by the festival's organisers were only partially reached. Moreover, the analyses shed light on the complex relation between art, science and society in public understanding of science activities.

Pages

Subscribe to Article