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Mar 04, 2024 Article
Science fiction media representations of exoplanets: portrayals of changing astronomical discoveries

by Emma Johanna Puranen, Emily Finer, Christiane Helling and V. Anne Smith

Interest in science fiction's (SF's) potential science communication use is hindered by concerns about SF misrepresenting science. This study addresses these concerns by asking how SF media reflects scientific findings in exoplanet science. A database of SF exoplanets was analysed using a Bayesian network to find interconnected interactions between planetary characterisation features and literary data. Results reveal SF exoplanets designed after the discovery of real exoplanets are less Earth-like, providing statistical evidence that SF incorporates rapidly-evolving science. Understanding SF's portrayal of science is crucial for its potential use in science communication.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Oct 16, 2023 Book Review
Visualising science: a thorough guide for designing and using science graphics

by Marnell Kirsten

`Building Science Graphics' guides scientists and science communicators on how their communication of science knowledge can benefit from the visual aid of science graphics. This can be an intimidating task to someone unfamiliar with visual design, but the book demystifies this entire process, giving a simple and straightforward account of a complex topic.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Sep 05, 2023 Article
“We are capable and we must not be silent!”: the science-theatre interface as a catalyst for female empowerment

by Gabriela Reznik and Carla Almeida

We aim to understand the audience's theatrical experience of “Cidadela” — a play produced by Museu da Vida Fiocruz — and if/how it encouraged the spectators to reflect on structural sexism, which is its core theme. After analysing 299 questionnaires, we found that the audience recognised the theme as both relevant and topical and they identified and related various scenes to their own lived experiences. The play encouraged the audience to reflect on different dimensions of female empowerment, particularly the psychological and political ones. It is, therefore, worth emphasising the potential of theatre in raising awareness, evoking empathy and inspiring young people to strive for freedom and autonomy, which seems to us fundamental for young women to get closer to science and increasingly identify themselves with it.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 26, 2023 Article
Street art as a vehicle for environmental science communication

by Blake Thompson, Anna-Sophie Jürgens, BOHIE and Rod Lamberts

Street art is visual art in public spaces — public art — created for public visibility. Street art addresses a massive and extremely diverse audience: everyone in a city. Using a case study approach, this article explores: 1) the extent to which science-inspired environmental street art can be considered a vehicle for science communication in less tangible science contexts and institutional settings — on the street — and 2) the strategies that street artists deploy to communicate their environmental messages through large-scale painted murals. This article clarifies how street art can be understood as a means of creative grassroots environmental communication. It shows that, and how, street art can encourage agency in pro-environmentalism and help to develop our relationship with sustainability.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Mar 27, 2023 Essay
Factors affecting the efficacy of short stories as science communication tools

by Masoud Irani and Emma Weitkamp

People become familiar with stories as sources of information in their childhood, and, while they have recently received interest as potential science communication tools, few studies have considered aspects of story quality on science communication. We postulate that quality is an important, if challenging, facet that should be considered when exploring the potential of short stories in science communication. This essay argues that quality should be a key consideration of those interested in studying or working with short stories for science communication purposes and presents criteria for the `well-made' short story.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Feb 13, 2023 Book Review
Science & theatre: communication, concepts, contexts, and cases

by Kristian H. Nielsen

With its attention to empirical detail and theoretical analysis, the book is an important contribution to the field of science-and-theatre studies. The reader will not only gain insight into the many ways in which science and theatre have been combined, but also become familiar with best practices and interesting cases. The book depicts science-and-theatre as a diverse and vibrant field. Framed as a study in communicating science and technology with the performing arts, the book will serve as a source of inspiration for science communicators and science communication researchers.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Oct 31, 2022 Article
Imagining the Sun: using comparative judgement to assess the impact of cross-curricular solar physics workshops

by Carol Davenport and Richard Morton

This paper describes a school intervention focused on visual art and solar physics using science capital and STEAM methodologies to develop STEM engagement activities. Data from 40 children (aged 8–11) in two primary schools in the North East of England are presented, using pre- and post-intervention surveys which contained free-response and likert-scale questions. The paper presents a novel, and transferable, method of evaluating children’s drawings using online comparative judgement marking software, particularly suited to those without a background in qualitative research. Using comparative judgement this paper shows that the intervention led to a moderate increase in girls’ knowledge of solar physics.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 24, 2022 Article
Why create SciArt? An investigation into science artists' goals and professional journeys

by Alice Fleerackers, Paige Brown Jarreau and Julia Krolik

Although Science Art (“SciArt”) is increasingly used in science communication as a way to make content more engaging or accessible, little is known about why artists pursue this practice or what they hope to achieve through their work. This project addresses these questions through a thematic analysis of interviews with 131 practicing science artists. We identify a diversity of goals for creating SciArt, only some of which involve communicating science.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 03, 2022 Book Review
A poetic approach to science communication

by Emma Weitkamp

‘Science Communication Through Poetry’, by Sam Illingworth offers a practical guide for the aspiring science communication poet or those interested in working with poetry as a research tool or public engagement method.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Jan 31, 2022 Article
The audience experience of science storytelling: impact profiles from a Q methodology study

by Jessica Sickler and Michelle Lentzner

The Story Collider applies the principles of narrative transportation to produce events that use first-person, personal stories about science to activate audience emotion, empathy, and identities. This study sought to systematically explore underlying patterns in the subjective experience of these live shows. This study combined a research framework from the performing arts with Q methodology, a method designed to capture and quantify subjectivity of personal meaning. This revealed four profiles, each representing a distinct way that one can internalize the value of science storytelling. Results highlight an opportunity within programs that operate at the nexus of science communication and the arts.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022