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Filter by keyword: Representations of science and technology

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Sep 02, 2019 Article
How does science fiction television shape fans' relationships to science? Results from a survey of 575 ‘Doctor Who’ viewers

by Lindy A. Orthia

Fiction is often credited with shaping public attitudes to science, but little science communication research has studied fans' deep engagement with a science-themed fiction text. This study used a survey to investigate the impacts of television series ‘Doctor Who’ (1963–89; 2005–present) on its viewers' attitudes to science, including their education and career choices and ideas about science ethics and the science-society relationship. The program's reported impacts ranged from causing participants to fact-check ‘Doctor Who’'s science to inspiring them to pursue a science career, or, more commonly, prompting viewers to think broadly and deeply about science's social position in diverse ways.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 15, 2019 Article
Observing and drawing the Sun: research-based insights to assess science communication practices aimed at children

by Sara Anjos, Alexandre Aibeo and Anabela Carvalho

Knowing how specific publics understand and experience science is crucial for both researchers and practitioners. As learning and meaning-making develop over time, depending on a combination of factors, creative possibilities to analyze those processes are needed to improve evaluation of science communication practices. We examine how first grade children's drawings expressed their perceptions of the Sun and explore their views of a major astronomical body within their social, cultural and personal worlds. We then examine how the observation of the Sun through a telescope led to changes in graphical representations, and how learning and meaning evolved after several months.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jun 14, 2019 Article
Science and technology for the people? On the framing of innovation in policy discourses in India and in EU

by Anwesha Chakraborty and Rita Giuffredi

In 2010 both India and Europe launched new strategies focused on innovation, for economic growth and for addressing societal challenges: the Decade of Innovation from the Indian Government and the Innovation Union from the European Union. This piqued our interest in investigating how these two political entities have envisioned the concept of innovation, particularly in studying and comparing how they have focused on people, both as final beneficiaries (and thus principal legitimisers) of policy actions, and as actors themselves in the innovation process. Per contra we found, in institutional documents, very different descriptions of how to adequately realise citizens' involvement, spanning from the abiding reference to people's inclusion in the Indian case to the varied discourses on public engagement in EU, down to the passive role accorded to citizens in some Expert Groups reports. The comparison between the understandings of innovation (and innovators) in the two contexts can enlarge and refine the argumentative and metaphoric repertoire of science communicators. Further, it can form the basis of a mature and shared debate on the role that knowledge production and innovation policies can and should play in the public governance of science and technology.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

Jun 14, 2019 Article
The rise of skepticism in Spanish political and digital media contexts

by Lorena Cano-Orón, Isabel Mendoza and Carolina Moreno

Currently in Spain, there is a political and social debate over the use and sale of homeopathic products, which is promoted mainly by the skeptical movement. For the first time, this issue has become significant in political discourse. This study analyzes the role that homeopathy-related stories are playing in that political debate. We analyzed the viewpoints of headlines between 2015 and 2017 in eight digital dailies (n = 1,683), which published over 30 stories on homeopathy during the three-year study period. The results indicated that the stance on therapy's lack of scientific evidence gained ground during the period studied.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

May 20, 2019 Article
Gender and science in animation: analysis of the Anima Mundi Festival films

by Gabriela Reznik and Luisa Massarani

We used content analysis to analyse the representation of female scientists in animated short films on gender and science, selected from the Anima Mundi Festival, over 21 annual editions. In these films, female scientists are featured as ‘intelligent’, ‘dominant’ and ‘well respected’, adult, white, wearing a lab coat or uniform and working in laboratories and fieldwork. We identified a reconfiguration of the gender stereotype in films in which the female character is about to gain space and visibility. We also analysed films whose sexist foundations in the relationship between scientists and their interlocutors reinforce the reproduction of sexist and heteronormative stereotypes.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Mar 04, 2019 Article
Witnessing glaciers melt: climate change and transmedia storytelling

by Anita Lam and Matthew Tegelberg

The Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is an exemplary case for examining how to effectively communicate scientific knowledge about climate change to the general public. Using textual and semiotic analysis, this article analyzes how EIS uses photography to produce demonstrative evidence of glacial retreat which, in turn, anchors a transmedia narrative about climate change. As both scientific and visual evidence, photographs have forensic value because they work within a process and narrative of witnessing. Therefore, we argue that the combination of photographic evidence with transmedia storytelling offers an effective approach for future scientific and environmental communication.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Feb 11, 2019 Practice Insight
Science Hunters: an inclusive approach to engaging with science through Minecraft

by Laura Hobbs, Carly Stevens, Jackie Hartley and Calum Hartley

Science Hunters is an outreach project which employs the computer game Minecraft to engage children with scientific learning and research through school visits, events, and extracurricular clubs. We principally target children who may experience barriers to accessing Higher Education, including low socioeconomic status, being the first in their family to attend university, and disability (including Special Educational Needs). The Minecraft platform encourages teamwork and makes science learning accessible and entertaining for children, irrespective of background. We employ a flexible approach that adapts to the needs of the users. More than 8000 children have been engaged in the first four years, with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Dec 17, 2018 Commentary
RAS200 — engaging citizens with astronomy across cultural divides

by Steve Miller, Sue Bowler and Sheila Kanani

The night skies and the planet on which we live can be inspirational to young and old alike. In the run up to its 200th anniversary in 2020, the U.K.'s Royal Astronomical Society has put together a £1 million scheme to fund outreach and engagement activities for groups that are less well served in terms of access to astronomy and geophysics. This article outlines the projects funded and the impact they are starting to have.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018

Dec 17, 2018 Commentary
Indigenous Australian artists and astrophysicists come together to communicate science and culture via art

by Steven Tingay

During the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, we initiated a collaboration between astrophysicists in Western Australia working toward building the largest telescope on Earth, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and Indigenous artists living in the region where the SKA is to be built. We came together to explore deep traditions in Indigenous culture, including perspectives of the night sky, and the modern astrophysical understanding of the Universe. Over the course of the year, we travelled as a group and camped at the SKA site, we sat under the stars and shared stories about the constellations, and we talked about the telescopes we wanted to build and how they could sit on the Indigenous traditional country. We found lots of interesting points of connection in our discussions and both artists and astronomers found inspiration. The artists then produced <150 original works of art, curated as an exhibition called “Ilgarijiri — Things belonging to the Sky” in the language of the Wadjarri Yamatji people. This was exhibited in Geraldton, Perth, Canberra, South Africa, Brussels, the U.S.A., and Germany over the course of the next few years. In 2015, the concept went further, connecting with Indigenous artists from South Africa, resulting in the “Shared Sky” exhibition, which now tours the ten SKA member countries. The exhibitions communicate astrophysics and traditional Indigenous stories, as well as carry to the world Indigenous culture and art forms. The process behind the collaboration is an example of the Reconciliation process in Australia, successful through thoughtful and respectful engagements, built around common human experiences and points of contact (the night sky). This Commentary briefly describes the collaboration, its outcomes, and future work.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018