Article

20/07/2017

Modern science communication has emerged over the last 60 years as a field of study, a body of practice and a profession. This period has seen the birth of interactive science centres, the first university courses to teach the theory and practice of science communication, the first university departments conducting research into science communication, and a sharp growth in employment of science communicators by research institutions, universities, museums, science centres and industry. This chapter charts the emergence of modern science communication in Australia, against an international background.

20/07/2017

The history of science communication in Aotearoa New Zealand starts with the stories told by the indigenous Māori people and has often been rooted in large, controversial environmental or technological issues. Although science communication in New Zealand began with a culture of wise men informing an uneducated public, by the 1990s it had begun to explore ideas of public outreach and engagement. Driven in part by the country's landscape and unique wildlife, media such as film documentary have risen to take centre stage in public engagement with science. Public radio also features in discussion of scientific issues. New centres for the training of science communicators have emerged and there is governmental and public support for science communication in New Zealand, as demonstrated by the number of awards and funding opportunities offered annually, for those who achieve. However a more critical and strategic approach to science communication in the future is needed if New Zealand wants a more science-literate public, and a more public-literate science community.

20/07/2017

The research field of science communication is fairly neglected in South Africa. The university system in South Africa, with a few exceptions, pays scant attention to the teaching of science communication, leading to limited academic knowledge of this research field with its rich history and philosophical relations. This paper explores some of the reasons behind this neglect of science communication in South Africa and will argue and demonstrate that, primarily, two political systems can be identified as having had a profound impact on the lesser attention given to this research field; the ‘divide and rule’ system of British colonialism and the Afrikaner National Party ‘apartheid’ system of racial segregation.

20/07/2017

In this paper, we identify some milestones in the construction process for mobile science museums and centres in Brazil. As background for presenting the Brazilian context, we initially address the records found on the earliest travelling museum exhibitions and mobile museums in Europe and North America. We then introduce the role of UNESCO in the promotion and implementation of travelling science exhibitions and museums in several countries. Finally, we document important events in the history of mobile science museum and centres in Brazil and outline three general and inter-related challenges currently faced by them.

20/07/2017

During the course of several decades, several scientists and groups of scientists lobbied the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about science broadcasting. A consistent theme of the interventions was that science broadcasting should be given exceptional treatment both in its content, which was to have a strongly didactic element, and in its managerial arrangements within the BBC. This privileging of science would have amounted to ‘scientific exceptionalism’. The article looks at the nature of this exceptionalism and broadcasters' responses to it.

20/07/2017

Previous studies have concluded that science coverage in Soviet countries was determined by the ideological function of the media. This paper analyses the science coverage in Soviet Estonian publications Rahva Hääl and Horisont in 1960/1967 and 1980 and demonstrates that the popularization of science existed as an independent function of articles. This suggests that the parallel developments in science communication on both sides of the Iron Curtain deserve further study.

20/07/2017

In the last decades of the 19th century education played a major role in Mexican society, when efforts were being made to restructure it based on the objective teaching of sciences, which was regarded as the driving force behind the change needed in various sectors such as industry and public health. In this context, the so-called science disseminators aimed to communicate their knowledge to the general public, mainly to the working classes and the children. Journalism grew and reached a wide range of themes and audiences. They believed in the idea of a science for all and that sciences were an instrument to know the new nations and educate the population. It is worth mentioning La ciencia recreativa, a publication dedicated to children and working classes. Between 1871 and 1879 it was edited by the topographical engineer and surveyor José Joaquín Arriaga (1831–1896), who aimed to generalise the scientific knowledge of cosmography, mineralogy, meteorology, physics, botany, zoology, descriptive geography and industrial agriculture.

20/07/2017

This study compares Australian government vaccination campaigns from two very different time periods, the early nineteenth century (1803–24) and the early twenty-first (2016). It explores the modes of rhetoric and frames that government officials used in each period to encourage parents to vaccinate their children. The analysis shows that modern campaigns rely primarily on scientific fact, whereas 200 years ago personal stories and emotional appeals were more common. We argue that a return to the old ways may be needed to address vaccine hesitancy around the world.

20/07/2017

Between the 1950s and the 1980s the British nuclear industry engaged with ordinary people in a wide range of ways. These included articles in the print media, exhibitions and educational resources as well as through open days, developing nature reserves and building relations with the local communities around nuclear sites. This paper draws on recently collected oral history interviews and archival material to consider what was one of the largest and best resourced efforts to communicate science to the British public between the 1950s and the 1980s.

20/07/2017

By focusing on a specific episode of 20th Century physics — the discovery of parity violation in 1957 — the paper presents a study of the types of explanations of the crucial experiment as they are found in different editorial categories: a peer-review journal, a popular science book, an encyclopedia and a newspaper articles. The study provides a fine-grained description of the mechanism of the explanation as elaborated in non-specialist accounts of the experiment and identifies original, key-explanatory elements which characterize them. In so doing, the paper presents a reflection on the processes of transformation and adaptation implied by the circulation of knowledge — which features as a productive process in its own right — and shows which further insights a focus on explanation can offer to the current historical researches on science communication.

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