Editorial

21/03/2005

Many lives could have been saved on 26 December 2004, when the tsunami unleashed by an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 off the coast of the Indonesian island Sumatra struck a dozen coastal villages along the Indian Ocean. Those lives could have been saved if, on that day, science communication had not resulted in a complete failure to communicate scientific information adequately in many cases, in different places and at different levels. A long time passed between the violent shock and the devastation caused by the tsunami waves ­ in most cases, many hours.

21/12/2004

The question was raised in the 4th November copy of The New York Times when it entitled the editorial of Garry Wills (political and cultural historian), regarding the re-election of George W. Bush, "The Day the Enlightenment Went Out". Wills' theory, with which the directors of the newspaper palpably concur, is that Bush was re-elected because "many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin's theory of evolution".

21/09/2004

In the name of God is the heading chosen by some researchers from a Middle Eastern country for their posters in an international conference on chemistry which has recently been held in Paris. This powerful message preceded the results of the researchers' work on the morphology, molecular structure, as well as the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of advanced polymeric materials. It was an unexpected statement, an unusual message, though certainly not an unprecedented one. It had nonetheless a striking effect in the context of a scientific conference attended by thousands of people from various ethnic and religious backgrounds.

21/06/2004

Free information works. In the sense that Open Access Journals, scientific journals which can be accessed at no cost, thereby guaranteeing free access to everyone, are at the same time able to guarantee the same quality as –or even better than- that of traditional journals, which can only be read by those willing to pay a price, be it the cover price or a subscription.

21/03/2004

On 16 January 2004, the United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan launched a Global Media Aids Initiative, with the aim of convincing the press, radio, television and Internet to join the fight against what has been called the "forgotten disease of the forgotten continent". Throughout the world, over 40 million people have the Hiv virus. In 2003 there were 5 million new infections and 3 million deaths were caused by Aids.

21/12/2003

The incident of Scanzano Jonico, in Italy's Basilicata region, has been something more than a lesson for those who handle the relationships between science and society. During November and December 2003 in this small southern Italian town a theory has been proven false. According to this theory, in the modern world, the best way to solve the problems put before society by science and technology would be for the experts to discuss them behind closed doors.

21/09/2003

On June, the 23rd of last year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Draft Report on the Environment, a report on environmental quality. The EPA is an autonomous federal agency known for its reliability on environmental studies and safeguards. Its Draft Report is considered by Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nation's most scientifically reliable analysis on environmental quality.

21/06/2003

A word of warning for scientists: don't appear on talk-shows. Not only would you probably run into a magician, you might even be mistaken for one, which is much worse. And do not ask the press, the radio and television to put their magical mentality aside: the media are condemned to it. It is not just a matter of what the audience wants. It is the cause-effect relations the media constantly have to establish that have per se something "magic".

21/03/2003

In recent weeks, Britain's Better Regulation Task Force report on scientific research regulation asked the Government to evaluate the risks associated with the development of Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies. The Government was also asked to prove its implementation of a specific policy to protect human, animal and environmental safety, were it to be threatened by the development of this emerging field of knowledge. These requests may sound rather alarming.

21/09/2002

A survey has been recently carried out for the first time in Italy concerning science communication through the media and the result has been that science hits the headlines. It is often front-page news in the press and it is also often among the main points of the news on TV. This is not very surprising.

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