Article

21/03/2007

This paper summarizes key findings from a web-based questionnaire survey among Danish scientists in the natural sciences and engineering science. In line with the Act on Universities of 2003 enforcing science communication as a university obligation next to research and teaching, the respondents take a keen interest in communicating science, especially through the news media. However, they also do have mixed feeling about the quality of science communication in the news. Moreover, a majority of the respondents would like to give higher priority to science communication. More than half reply that they are willing to allocate up to 2% of total research funding in Denmark to science communication. Further, the respondents indicate that they would welcome a wider variety of science communication initiatives aimed at many types of target groups. They do not see the news media as the one and only channel for current science communication.

21/03/2007

We inhabit an age in which economic progress in the European Union is equalized to more European research and better communication of that European research to the public. In highly developed Western democracies this implies an important role for the public as well as the mass media, both actors in a transforming public sphere. Beyond a call for more communication and more scientific literacy, the discourse has shifted to a call for more engagement and more participation on behalf of the citizen. There is a widespread sentiment however that the discipline of science communication is at a crossroads. In this paper it is argued that in a context of life politics and an increasing displacement of politics, one has to account for the trajectories of issue formation and the detours of public-ization to understand the dynamics of techno-scientific issues.

21/12/2006

This article presents some of the challenges faced in developing an interactive exhibit on nanoscience and nanotechnology in Brazil. Presenting a scientific-technological area which is still in formation and which is little known by the population leads to a (re)consideration of the role of museums and science centers in the conformation and consolidation of scientific practice itself. Museographically, the exhibit deals with the challenge of making matter visible in an expression which is distant from the human perception. Some reflections are presented here on the option of musealization chosen which come from a broader evaluation of the exhibit.

21/12/2006

An effective communication of astronomy cannot take place without considering the view the general public has on the universe. Through a number of narrative interviews with non-experts, a research was carried out on personal cosmologies, to outline the public’s heterogeneous astronomical imagery. The result is a bundle of conceptions, perceptions and attitudes which are useful to interpret the difficulties the public experiences when facing the contents of astrophysics, and to establish an ongoing dialogue.

21/09/2006

Science information professionals need to make choices through which media they want to communicate with the public. In reaching large audiences outside the domain of formal diffusion of knowledge, the choice may be between the old medium television and the new medium Internet. It seems that general scientific research is focused more and more on the Internet as a favorite means for information exchange and that the old mass medium television plays only a minor role. But when we look at (1) how the public spends their leisure time on television and the Internet, (2) how effective these media are in transferring information, and (3) how much these media are trusted as reliable sources of information, the old medium television should still be regarded as the number one medium to be used for science communication, although there are some limitations for its use.

21/09/2006

The attacks of September 11 2001 and in particular, the sending of letters containing anthrax spores the following October had a profound effect on society, and at the same time on science and its communicative mechanisms. Through a quanto-qualitative analysis of articles taken from four publications: two daily newspapers, the Corriere della Sera from Italy and the New York Times from the United States and two science magazines, Science and Nature, we have shown how the aforementioned events provoked the emergence of media attention regarding bioterrorism. A closer reading of the articles shows that today, science – including that found in science magazines – is closely related to politics, economics and the debate over the freedom to practice communicate. The very mechanisms of communication between scientists were changed as a result of this debate, as can be seen from the signing of the Denver Declaration in February 2003, which brought about the preventative self-censorship of publication of biomedical research findings.

21/06/2006

The discussion on the state of the art of scientific publications in Latin American countries generally restricts itself to its supposedly low visibility. This affirmation is generally conditioned to the exclusive use of large international databases, mainly of the USA and Europe, which include thousands of scientific publications that have marginalized a large part of the scientific literature produced in peripheral countries. Given this fact of low visibility, it became imperative for some Latin American countries, beginning in the 90s (20th Century), to develop their own mechanisms of projection of the results of their own scientific production. The experiences constitute an example for countries that, having significant scientific production, still do not have the means to facilitate access to local scientific publications. Although Bolivia still remains distant from these initiatives, a series of studies were identified that show the existence of a tradition of publication in scientific magazines and interest in their visibility, on a local and international level, which demands attention to the most adequate mechanisms in order to carry this out.

21/06/2006

Following the example of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, interactive science museums are meant to be informal and enjoyable places where visitors, regardless of their age and background, are stimulated to practice their abilities to explore the world from a scientific point of view or to reacquire it in the case of adults who are far from science for professional reasons. Our study, which belongs to a relatively recent, but increasingly richer and complex tradition of researches on this topic, aims at contributing to answering the question whether, within the context of hands-on museums, this desired reacquisition of scientific exploration actually occurs for all visitors; more precisely, it aims at contributing to the discussion resulting from this question with reference to both possible answers and methods to find them. The study described below was carried out for a Science Communication Master thesis in Trieste (student: Monia Cardella, supervisor: Paola Rodari) and, therefore, it is inevitably limited: in fact, in order to deal with such a complex issue and to perform more detailed investigations on the field longer time and more resources would have been necessary. However, both methods used and results obtained from it, although provisional, are significant enough to deserve our attention.

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.

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