Popularised science communication modes in Italian popular science magazines (1788-2002)

Abstract: 

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.

Published: 

21 March 2004