Article

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?

21/03/2005

Most universities in the United States have little or no idea about how the public perceives the importance of research done at these institutions. Learning whether the public believes academic research is valuable, meaningful, and practical has implications for higher education, if the public believes that university research is of little worth. This project utilized naturalistic and qualitative methods to learn how alumni perceived the importance of research at a major public university with a heavy concentration in research (Texas A&M University). Long interviews using open-ended questions were conducted with 133 alumni at 33 locations in Texas. Interviews were transcribed, unitized, and coded using qualitative methods, and themes were identified. Findings provide insights into whether the public believes university research is important, how the public learns about research, whether public relations programs are effective, the importance of research and teaching, and the types of research the public wants universities to pursue. A framework is proposed to learn about how well the public understands science and to measure the effectiveness of media and education programs to raise both science awareness and understanding of science.

21/12/2004

The objective of the present paper is an attempt to measure the public understanding of science in the area of health and hygiene and test the efficacy of "cultural distance model". A pre-tested open-ended questionnaire was used for administering cross-sectional surveys at a religio-cultural festival in India. 3484 individuals were interviewed and responses were coded and entered to construct computer database. The data was used for determining the cultural distance of five scientific concepts from the quotidian life of the target population. In developing countries, the formal system of modern education operates as a strong determinant in shaping cultural structures of thoughts prevalent among the citizens. There exists a cultural distance between the scientific structure of configuring natural occurrences and peoples' complexity of thoughts. The distance varies significantly across the concepts that were subjected to the inspection and is a function of the nature of scientific information.

21/09/2004

A feature of the management of natural resources in the coastal zone is that it involves multiple stakeholders. It has been suggested that the effectiveness of coastal management relies on the cooperation of this multitude of stakeholders in decision-making. This study reports on the findings of an investigation into the modes of interaction used by coastal researchers to communicate with stakeholders. A qualitative research methodology was used through both telephone and in-depth face-toface interviews to elucidate the mechanisms of interaction and, in turn, produce a typology of interaction modes. It was found that there were five main modes of interaction: Limited; Mediator Achieved; Key Stakeholder; Full Interaction and Mixed and that the discipline area in which the researcher worked did not dictate their preferred mode of interaction. It was concluded that although there are a number of limitations to effective participation, these interactions have significant implications for meaningful participation in the management of coastal resources.

21/09/2004

In The Areopagitica, his most important work of prose, John Milton mentions Galileo as the illustrious martyr who fought for the freedom of thought. The name of the great scientist is repeated several times in the English poet's epic masterpiece: Paradise Lost. In three different passages of the poem, Milton in fact celebrates the "Tuscan Artist" and his crucial achievements in astronomy. Nevertheless, in a subsequent passage, the poet addresses the Copernican issue without openly defending the heliocentric theory confirmed by Galileo's discoveries. In fact, he neither embraces the Copernican system nor the Ptolemaic one, but instead compares them, following a dialectic method where one cannot fail to notice an echo of Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the two Chief World Systems. Milton's literary work presents images of astronomy at that time, thus offering a valuable historical example of scientific communication through art.

21/06/2004

Halliday has demonstrated that changes in discourse function covary with changes in the grammatical resources a language makes available to construe discourse. Specifically, he outlined the ways in which nominalisation evolved as a resource for construing scientific reality as a world of logical relations among abstract entities. In the present article,

21/06/2004

In the summer of 2003, a survey was carried out at the At-Bristol Science Centre (UK) to determine the effectiveness of the hands-on activities of "Explore". The section evaluated included 43 interactive experiences divided into two themes. The first, "Get Connected", consisted of examples of the latest digital technologies, such as a television studio, virtual volleyball, and radars. The second, "Curiosity Zone", was dedicated to natural phenomena and subdivided into three additional groups: "Natural Forces" which presented various forces of nature, "Focus on Light", which dealt with the wonder of light, and "Sound Space", reserved for the science of sound. The survey was divided into two phases: the first consisted in observing the public's interaction with the hands-on activities; the second, in consulting the staff. The methods adopted helped determine the effectiveness of the exhibitdesign and the evaluation itself highlighted the role of a promoter of science as an evaluator.

21/06/2004

The use of photography in the field of psychiatry is an eloquent example of the complex evolution of the relationship between science, communication and society. The research that follows analyses the development of such a relationship in a crucial period of the history of psychiatry: the 1970s. That was the time that witnessed the revolution of a science which admitted the failure of its methods and "instruments", mental hospitals. That was also the time when a profound change took place in the communicative methods of photography related to this uncertain field of knowledge. A group of photographers, driven by the political situation of the time, covered the end of mental hospitals.

21/03/2004

Analysis of popular science magazines can offer a significant contribution to the study of the history of science popularisation and the relation between the language of science and everyday language in Italy. This paper reconstructs the history of science popularisation through analysis of popular science magazines published in Italy from 1788 to date. The material examined consists of 80 popular science magazines covering various scientific disciplines, reporting current issues and targeted at a non-specialist public. Such material had never been gathered and organised in a systematic way before. The analysis did not take into account academic scientific journals which generally cover a single discipline and use technical language or high-quality science popularisation journals which also use specialist language. The element that all 80 magazines have in common is the use of non-technical, easily understandable language for a public that does not possess any specialist scientific knowledge. The analysis of the material offers an overview of the scientific disciplines that have been covered more extensively in popular science magazines from the end of the 18th century to date. In addition, it shows how priorities in coverage changed in different historical periods and how a variety of science communication modes have been established over time.

21/03/2004

At the beginning of the new millennium, science is not only a neutral system or an objective methodology of knowledge, but also the implicit basis of the totality of our culture. Though science and its derivates are omnipresent in daily life, its basic ideologies and functional mechanisms are in most cases not fully visible to the subject. In using the most evolved systematical-critical model of psychoanalysis provided by the French thinker Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), an enlightening analysis of western science can be made, which contributes not only to a better understanding of its own psychology, but also of the hidden ties between science and its current socio-cultural background.

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