Article

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.

20/07/2017

This paper explores the combined effects of everyday life technological devices and advertisements in constituting an efficient way to scientific popularization. We, therefore, analyze mobile telephony advertisements published in a high-circulation Spanish newspaper — La Vanguardia — between 1994 and 1999. We identify content that promoted knowledge about the devices, the service, or the uses of this groundbreaking technology. Advertisements also attach attributes to technology — modernity, freedom, or efficiency. We suggest that the analysis of advertisements that promote everyday life digital devices allows a better understanding of what (digital) technology means to publics.

20/07/2017

This contribution concerns the role of the Victorian newspaper correspondence column in advancing knowledge of dermatology in relation to corporal punishment. It explores The Times' coverage of an inquest into the death by flogging of a British soldier. I argue that on the one hand, The Times participated in the debate about flogging in the army by bringing forward skin anatomy as an argument against corporal punishment. On the other hand, the paper might have used the publication of letters with medical content as a marketing strategy to maintain its authority and credibility against accusations of sensationalism.

20/07/2017

As a case study, we analyze an article of the psychiatrist Henrique Roxo published in 1942 in two publications directed to different publics. The communication of science was intended as part of Brazil's modernizing project of the epoch. Roxo's case reveals that the language used by science communicators, although sometimes of difficult apprehension, was part of an strategy of acknowledgment of the medical authority for the diagnosis and treatment of the mental illnesses.

18/05/2017

How users discuss climate change online is one of the crucial questions (science) communication scholars address nowadays. This study contributes by approaching the issue through the theoretical concept of online public arenas. The diversity of topics and perceptions in the climate change discourse is explored by comparing different arenas. German journalistic articles and their reader comments as well as scientific expert blogs are analyzed by quantitative manual and automated content analysis (n=5,301). Findings demonstrate a larger diversity of topics and interpretations in arenas with low barriers to communication. Overall, climate change skepticism is rare, but mostly present in lay publics.

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