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Filter by keyword: Representations of science and technology

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May 21, 2015 Article
Semi-periphery and capital-intensive advanced technologies: the construction of Argentina as a nuclear proliferation country

by Diego Hurtado

Throughout the second half of the twentieth century a varied collection of pressure mechanisms were deployed from nuclear technology exporting countries — mainly from the US — to obstruct the development of a group of semi-peripheral countries’ autonomous nuclear capabilities. Argentina was part of this group. This article focuses on how “fear” of nuclear proliferation was used by US foreign policy as one of the most effective political artifacts to construct and protect an oligopolistic nuclear market.
Spread by the press and by some prestigious social science sectors from the US and some European countries, a persistent and dense discourse production was devoted over several decades to the bizarre practice of “calculating” the alleged hidden intentions of those semi-peripheral countries which aspired to dominate as many technologies of the nuclear
fuel cycle as possible.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015

Mar 31, 2015 Article
The energy question in the Belgian daily press during 2010: the role of region, newspaper type and newspaper section

by Pieter A. Maeseele, Karel Deneckere, Koen Panis and Steve Paulussen

The literature illustrates how media research on the energy question is characterized by a limited focus on separate energy options, resulting in a lack of research into the diversity of and mutual relations between various energy options. This paper reports on a quantitative content analysis of eight Belgian newspapers (N=1181), focusing on whether certain energy options are systematically more covered in certain regions, types of newspapers and/or types of newspaper sections. The results show that five energy options dominate the debate and that there are minimal differences per region, but remarkable differences between types of newspapers and newspaper sections.

Volume 14 • Issue 01 • 2015

Mar 12, 2015 Article
Changes in media selection and framing of science news in Croatian daily press

by Adrijana Šuljok

This paper tries to 1) identify the dominant media frames of science and 2) compare media selection and framing of science-related articles in Croatian daily newspapers during two politically and socioculturally different periods: the late socialism and the (post)transition. The research methodology was based on content and frame analysis which encompassed articles on science in daily press with the highest readership between 1986–1988, and 2006–2008. The main findings indicate changes in the selection of science topics as well as in the representation of individual frames. Changes reflected not only current events in the world of science but also wider social and journalistic values, as well as evaluations of the importance of specific topics.

Volume 14 • Issue 01 • 2015

Nov 17, 2014 Article
The Holy Grail of energy? A content and thematic analysis of the presentation of nuclear fusion on the Internet

by Christian Oltra, Ana Delicado, Ana Prades, Sergio Pereira and Luisa Schmidt

The Internet is increasingly considered as a legitimate source of information on scientific and technological topics. Lay individuals are increasingly using Internet sources to find information about new technological developments, but scientific communities might have a limited understanding of the nature of this content. In this paper we examine the nature of the content of information about fusion energy on the Internet. By means of a content and thematic analysis of a sample of English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-language web documents, we analyze the structural characteristics of the webs, characterize the presentation of nuclear fusion, and study the associations to nuclear fission and the main benefits and risks associated to fusion technologies in the Web. Our findings indicate that the information about fusion on the Internet is produced by a variety of actors (including private users via blogs), that almost half of the sample provided relevant technical information about nuclear fusion, that the majority of the web documents provided a positive portrayal of fusion energy (as a clean, safe and powerful energy technology), and that nuclear fusion was generally presented as a potential solution to world energy problems, as a key scientific challenge and as a superior alternative to nuclear fission. We discuss the results in terms of the role of Internet in science communication.

Volume 13 • Issue 04 • 2014

Sep 22, 2014 Article
Films and Science: quantification and analysis of the use of Science Fiction films in scientific papers

by Luciano Guillermo Levin and Daniela De Filippo

The purpose of this study is to quantify the use of science fiction films in academic papers as well as to analyse the patterns of use of those films indexed in international databases, using the ISI Web of Science database. Twenty films were selected from recognised sources. Films referenced in the scientific literature were detected and, with quantitative methodologies, we classified their genres, the journals of publication and the disciplines they belong to. Finally, we performed a detailed study of each paper in which selected films were found, to observe and categorise specifically the ways such film references are used.

Volume 13 • Issue 03 • 2014

Sep 22, 2014 Article
War, anxiety, optimism and triumph: a study on science in the main Brazilian TV news

by Yuri Castelfranchi, Luisa Massarani and Marina Ramalho

We analysed the representations of science and of scientists at Jornal Nacional, the main Brazilian TV news. We carried out content and frames analysis, besides the lexical and semantic analysis of the transcriptions of the science and technology stories. Our results show a narrative that highlights the novelties and the epopee of the scientific advance, mainly in the health field. But to the emotional palette feelings of combat, anxiety and triumph were added. The face of the scientist presented by the TV news is mainly masculine, suggesting a stereotyped role of the male and female scientist: meanwhile men go out to literally explore other worlds, women take care of health and of the body.

Volume 13 • Issue 03 • 2014

Mar 25, 2014 Article
Examining perceptions of astronomy images across mobile platforms

by Lisa Smith, Kimberly Arcand, Jeffrey Smith, Randall Smith, Jay Bookbinder and Megan Watzke

Modern society has led many people to become consumers of data unlike previous generations. How this shift in the way information is communicated and received — including in areas of science — and affects perception and comprehension is still an open question. This study examined one aspect of this digital age: perceptions of astronomical images and their labels, on mobile platforms. Participants were n = 2183 respondents to an online survey, and two focus groups (n = 12 astrophysicists; n = 11 lay public). Online participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 12 images, and compared two label formats. Focus groups compared mobile devices and label formats. Results indicated that the size and quality of the images on the mobile devices affected label comprehension and engagement. The question label format was significantly preferred to the fun fact. Results are discussed in terms of effective science communication using technology.

Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014

Mar 13, 2014 Article
Communicating evolution with a Dynamic Evolutionary Map

by Sonia Stephens

Metaphors and visualizations are important for science communication, though they may have limitations. This paper describes the development and evaluation of a novel interactive visualization, the "Dynamic Evolutionary Map"' (DEM), which communicates biological evolution using a non-standard metaphor. The DEM uses a map metaphor and interactivity to address conceptual limitations of traditional tree-based evolutionary representations. In a pilot evaluation biology novices used the DEM to answer questions about evolution. The results suggest that this visualization communicates some conceptual affordances differently than trees. Therefore, the described approach of building alternative visual metaphors for challenging concepts appears useful for science communication.

Volume 13 • Issue 01 • 2014

Sep 24, 2013 Article
Science journalists' selection criteria and depiction of nanotechnology in German media

by Lars Guenther and Georg Ruhrmann

For lay people, mass media are the main source of scientific information; that is why science journalists’ selection and depiction of scientific issues is an important field to study. This paper investigates science journalists’ general issue selection and additionally focuses on science journalists’ depiction of nanoscale science and technology and its related scientific evidence (certainty/uncertainty of research findings). Face-to-face interviews with science journalists (n = 21) from different German media channels were conducted. The results show that the professional role conception, personal interest, news factors and organizational processes mainly influence the selection of science journalists. Overall, journalists have increasingly positive attitudes towards nanoscale science and technology. But results indicate that the coverage of scientific evidence differs according to the science journalists’ focus on beneficial or risky aspects of this emerging technology: journalists stress scientific uncertainty predominantly when discussing the risks of nanoscale science and technology.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013

May 17, 2012 Article
Museums - from local to global

by Matteo Bisanti

Should one aim at presenting a local or global science perspective in construing an effective museum narration for communicating scientific and technological issues in natural science? This article will attempt to respond to this question by presenting the data of an evaluation exercise undertaken by the Trento Natural History Museum (Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali – MTSN) from 2009 to 2011. The local dimension apparently lies at the heart of the museum’s appeal for its visitors: they associate their mountain surroundings with the symbol of the region’s identity, and appreciate in particular the efforts undertaken by the museum to communicate and conserve the mountain’s environment. Indeed, in their opinion, by protecting the mountains and disseminating knowledge about them, the museum indirectly acts as a custodian of the region’s own identity. However, interest in local issues far from rules out global scientific themes, whose presence is sought to complement and interact with the local discourse.

Volume 11 • Issue 02 • 2012