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Filter by keyword: Representations of science and technology

Publications including this keyword are listed below.

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

Oct 26, 2011 Article
Metaphors in climate discourse: an analysis of Swedish farm magazines

by Therese Asplund

This article examines communicative aspects of climate change, identifying and analysing metaphors used in specialized media reports on climate change, and discussing the aspects of climate change these metaphors emphasize and neglect. Through a critical discourse analysis of the two largest Swedish farm magazines over the 2000–2009 period, this study finds that greenhouse, war, and game metaphors were the most frequently used metaphors in the material. The analysis indicates that greenhouse metaphors are used to ascribe certain natural science characteristics to climate change, game metaphors to address positive impacts of climate change, and war metaphors to highlight negative impacts of climate change. The paper concludes by discussing the contrasting and complementary metaphorical representations farm magazines use to conventionalize climate change.

Volume 10 • Issue 04 • 2011

Sep 21, 2011 Article
A pilot project to encourage scientific debate in schools. Comics written and peer reviewed by young learners

by Giovanni Lo Iacono and Adélia S.A.T. de Paula

Comprehension of the nature and practice of science and its social context are important aspects of communicating and learning science. However there is still very little understanding amongt the non-scientific community of the need for debate in driving scientific knowledge forward and the role of critical scrutiny in quality control. Peer review is an essential part of this process. We initiated and developed a pilot project to provide an opportunity for students to explore the idea that science is a dynamic process rather than a static body of facts. Students from two different schools experienced the process of peer-review by producing and reviewing comics related to the science done at Rothamsted Research. As authors, students showed a large degree of creativity and understanding of the science while as referees they showed good critical skills. Students had at first hand an insight into how science works.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011

Jul 25, 2011 Article
Media framing of stem cell research: a cross-national analysis of political representation of science between the UK and South Korea

by Leo Kim

This paper compares opinion-leading newspapers’ frames of stem cell research in the UK and South Korea from 2000 to 2008. The change of news frames, studied by semantic network analysis, in three critical periods (2000-2003/2004-2005/2006-2008) shows the media’s representative strategies in privileging news topics and public sentiments. Both political and national identity represented by each media outlet play a crucial role in framing scientific issues. A news frame that objectifies medical achievements and propagates a popular hope evolves as a common discourse in The Telegraph and The Guardian, with expanded issues that both incorporate and keep in check social concerns. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo follows the frame of objectified science with a strong economic motivation, while Hankyoreh remains critical of the ‘Hwang scandal’ and tempers its scientific interest with broader political concerns.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011

May 23, 2011 Article
What are the features of non-expert opinions on regenerative medicine? Opinion analysis of workshop participants

by Chie Nakagawa, Ekou Yagi and Kazuto Kato

Regenerative medicine (RM) has the potential to strongly impact on society. To determine non-experts’ impressions of RM, we analyzed opinions obtained from workshops in which participants freely discussed RM. Three major features were apparent. First, non-experts were most concerned with the possible effects of RM after it has been fully realized in society. Second, non-experts expressed concerns not only about RM itself, but also about the governance and operation of the technology. Third, non-experts were not only concerned about direct influences of RM, but also about its potential indirect influences. These identified features are likely to be controversial issues when RM is introduced into society. It is important to promote early discussion of these issues by society as a whole.

Volume 10 • Issue 02 • 2011

Mar 22, 2010 Commentary
Outlaw, hackers, victorian amateurs: diagnosing public participation in the life sciences today

by Christopher M. Kelty

This essay reflects on three figures that can be used to make sense of the changing nature of public participation in the life sciences today: outlaws, hackers and Victorian gentlemen. Occasioned by a symposium held at UCLA (Outlaw Biology: Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio), the essay introduces several different modes of participation (DIY Bio, Bio Art, At home clinical genetics, patient advocacy and others) and makes three points: 1) that public participation is first a problem of legitimacy, not legality or safety; 2) that public participation is itself enabled by and thrives on the infrastructure of mainstream biology; and 3) that we need a new set of concepts (other than inside/outside) for describing the nature of public participation in biological research and innovation today.

Volume 9 • Issue 01 • 2010 • Special Issue

Sep 19, 2008 Article
Language and science: products and processes of signification in the educational dialogue

by Martin Dodman, Elena Camino and Giuseppe Barbiero

Global changes such as urbanisation, new ways of travelling, new information and communication technologies are causing radical changes in the relationships between human beings and the environment we are both a part of and depend on. Relationships which – according to a multiplicity of researches in various fields – are crucially important. Science education and the language of science risk exacerbating a tendency towards objectifying nature and inhabiting a virtual reality, thereby rendering ever more tenuous the dialogue between people and the natural world. This article examines two approaches to science and language – as products or as processes – and suggests how awareness of the dynamic relationship between language and knowledge can help restore that vital dialogue.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008

Mar 21, 2008 Article
Metaphors of DNA: a review of the popularisation processes

by Sergi Cortiñas Rovira

This article offers a 1953-present day review of the models that have popularised DNA, one of the fundamental molecules of biochemistry. DNA has become an iconic concept over the 20th century, overcoming the boundaries of science and spreading into literature, painting, sculpture or religion. This work analyses the reasons why DNA has penetrated society so effectively and examines some of the main metaphors used by the scientists and scientific popularisers. Furthermore, this article, taken from the author's PhD thesis, describes some recent popularisation models for this molecule.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008