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Mar 21, 2007 Editorial
Patterns for dialogue: under construction

by Pietro Greco

NASA has decided to cut by 50% the next two-year budget for the Astrobiology Institute (NAI), and for all of the studies on life in outer space. This reduction follows an announcement made by Dr Michael Griffin, the Administrator of the space agency of the United States Government when, in addressing the Mars Society last summer, he clearly stated that xenobiology studies are marginal to the mission of NASA.

Volume 6 • Issue 01 • 2007

Dec 21, 2006 Commentary
John Ziman

by Pietro Greco

What pushed His Excellency Enrico Fermi, acclaimed Academician of Italy entitled to a state car and driver, to leave Italy all of a sudden in December 1938 in order to reach New York, after a short stop in Stockholm for the ceremony that celebrated him as a Nobel laureate for physics, and to accept a job as a simple physics lecturer at the Columbia University?

Volume 5 • Issue 04 • 2006

Dec 21, 2006 Editorial
Systematically sceptical

by Pietro Greco

One can no longer rely on the presumption that scientists comply with the Mertonian value of disinterest and assume that they always tell the truth when spreading the results of their research projects. This can be rightly considered as the gist of the four-page report submitted to the board of the American journal Science by the committee chaired by the chemist John Brauman, from the Stanford University, and comprising three members from the Senior Editorial Board of the same journal, two eminent biologists specialised in stem cell research and a top editor from the other major general press medium of the Republic of Science, the British journal Nature.

Volume 5 • Issue 04 • 2006

Sep 21, 2006 Editorial
The world, out there

by Pietro Greco

The Royal Society published in late June a report entitled «Science Communication. Survey of factors affecting science communication by scientists and engineers». It is an in-depth survey on the communication addressed to non-specialist audiences that was carried out interviewing a wide and representative sample of UK scientists and engineers.

Volume 5 • Issue 03 • 2006

Mar 21, 2006 Editorial
New scandals – time to rethink the rules?

by Pietro Greco

The scandal of the “biotechnology evangelist” erupted in Korea at the beginning of the new year: a commission from Seoul National University announced that it had proof that Dr Woo Suk Hwang, considered one of the world’s foremost experts on cloning by nucleus transfer, had manipulated the data concerning experiments in human cell cloning and the creation of eleven lines of stem cells from human embryos published in two different articles in the journal Science in 2004 and 2005.

Volume 5 • Issue 01 • 2006

Dec 21, 2005 Editorial
Pandemic: how to avoid panic?

by Pietro Greco

The tsunami that took place on 26th December 2004 in the Indian Ocean and hurricane Katrina, that last August struck the Mexican Gulf, are two recent natural events that turned into catastrophes for mankind, causing several thousands victims. One of the reasons behind this can be traced back to the fact that useful information in the hands of scientists and experts did not reach the right people within the right time. A crushing defeat for risk communication was witnessed in these two recent events. All the more paradoxical since we live in what we like to name “the era of communication and information”.

Volume 4 • Issue 04 • 2005

Sep 21, 2005 Focus
What type of Science Communication best suits emerging countries?

by Pietro Greco

If we wish to attempt an initial analysis of the inquiry on the communication of science in Brazil, India and China that JCOM proposed in its three most recent issues, we should paraphrase Chinese science and science-fiction writer, Yan Wu: even though these three countries are emerging in the fields of economy and science, and are now part of a wide group of communicators, promoting numerous methods to divulge information, they don't yet have a sound theory on the communication of science to the public. This is not an insignificant problem because according to David Dickson, the director of SciDev.Net, democratic dialogue on scientific matters is crucial to modern societies. However, it is difficult to propose the highest possible level of democratic dialogue on science topics without having a sound theory about the communication of science. In addition, the difficulties increase in those countries where developing economies and systems of science are both new and impetuous, as is the case of Brazil, India and China.

Volume 4 • Issue 03 • 2005

Jun 21, 2005 Editorial
Ratzinger and science (communication)

by Pietro Greco

The death of Pope John Paul II, the "Polish pope", in Rome and the subsequent election of Benedict XVI, the "German pope", have been two great events gaining world-wide media coverage and affecting the whole world. This was due to Karol Wojtyla's ability to reach everyone's heart ­ thus once dubbed the "Great Communicator" ­ and to the Vatican's spiritual, cultural, and political influence all over the world. The death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI also concern science and science communication issues.

Volume 4 • Issue 02 • 2005