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Dec 15, 2015 Article
Combined art and science as a communication pathway in a primary school setting: paper and ice

by Craig Stevens and Gabby O'Connor

A hybrid combination of art and science is used to communicate science in a primary school setting. The purpose of the work is to enhance student awareness of the science behind understanding the global climate system with a focus on the cryosphere. An experiment in communicating science is conducted by taking the collaborative experiences of a professional artist and scientist, which are then combined and projected onto an ostensibly everyday primary school classroom project. The tangible end result is a stand-alone contemporary art work that then is the focal point of community-based promotion of the science and creativity involved. A range of qualitative evaluation elements suggest that the approach does improve student engagement with the scientific approach and reduces the student's uncertainty about ``what science is''.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Dec 15, 2015 Article
Mathematical thinking skills, self-concept and learning outcomes of 12-year-olds visiting a Mathematics Science Centre Exhibition in Latvia and Sweden

by Hannu Salmi, Helena Thuneberg and Mari-Pauliina Vainikainen

Teaching mathematics in informal settings is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has gained more attention due to the recent changes in the society. The aim of the present quantitative study was to compare the learning outcomes of Latvian and Swedish 12-year-olds when they visited a science centre mathematics-art exhibition originally designed in Estonia. The results showed that in general, prior knowledge of the exhibition contents was the strongest predictor of post-test results in both countries but that mathematical thinking skills and self-concept had a small added value in explaining the post-test results. The results of the study give some of the first pieces of evidence of the effectiveness of out-of-school mathematics teaching in a science exhibition context, providing a good basis for further studies.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Dec 10, 2015 Article
Science bloggers' self-perceived communication roles

by Paige Brown Jarreau

This study addresses an open question about science bloggers' self-perceived roles as science communicators. Previous research has investigated the roles science journalists see themselves engaging in, but such research has failed to capture the experiences of science bloggers as a broad and diverse group that is yet often very different in their practices from professional journalists. In this study, a survey of over 600 science bloggers reveals that on the broadest level, science bloggers see themselves engaging most often as explainers of science and public intellectuals. Perceived communication role depends predominantly on occupation, science communication training, blog affiliation and gender.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Oct 30, 2015 Article
Highlighting the wider relevance of science centre evaluations: a reflection on the evaluation of a physics engagement programme

by Heather King, Emily Dawson and Rodolfo Leyva

This paper reflects on the evaluation of and findings from a nationwide programme of physics engagement activities hosted by 10 science centres across the UK. We discuss our findings indicating the affordances of the programme with reference to the wider literature in order to draw out elements of the project that may be useful for other science learning and engagement initiatives. In particular, we discuss findings that relate to contemporary research and policy interests around the engagement of girls in science, the key ages at which young people’s views may best be influenced, the importance of explicating the nature of ‘real-world’ content and careers, and the value of collaborative partnerships.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Sep 29, 2015 Article
Narrative risks in science writing for the lay public

by Olav Muurlink and Peter McAllister

The narrative method of presenting popular science method promises to extend the audience of science, but carries risks related to two broad aspects of story: the power of narrative to impose a compelling and easily interpretable structure on discrete events and the unpredictability and mystique associated with story.

Volume 14 • Issue 03 • 2015

Jun 11, 2015 Article
DNA portraits: celebrations of the technoself

by Meaghan Brierley

The representation of self and the nature of our identities often converge through technological forms. This study investigates the promotional techniques of seven companies selling DNA portraits, the objective being to uncover how these images derived from laboratory processes are viewed as valid depictions of the self and scientific knowledge. DNA portraits are revealed as the intertwining of technology and identity through celebrations of the technoself.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015

May 26, 2015 Article
Does attending a large science event enthuse young people about science careers?

by Sam Illingworth, Emma Lewis and Carl Percival

A survey was conducted during the University of Manchester’s 2014 ‘Science Extravaganza’, which saw the participation of over 900 Key Stage 3 (ages 11–14) students in a range of interactive demonstrations, all run by active University researchers. The findings of this study suggest that a new approach is necessary in order to use these large science events to actively engage with school students about the career opportunities afforded by science subjects. Recommendations for such an approach are suggested, including the better briefing of researchers, and the invitation of scientists from outside academia to attend and interact with the school students.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015

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

May 14, 2015 Article
Unfinished Science in Museums: a push for critical science literacy

by Amelia Hine and Fabien Medvecky

Communication of scientific knowledge has been caught up in a pedagogical struggle between science literacy ideologies. The backseat role taken by the teaching of the philosophical and sociological aspects of science has come under fire by those calling for a broader view of science to be made public under the umbrella term “critical science literacy”. In this paper, we argue that the lack of unfinished science in museums — science still in the making or still being debated — is a paradigm case where the richer, fuller view of science is being denied air by the presentation of science as a finished, objective set of facts. We argue that unfinished science offers us the opportunity to present the full complexity of science, including its social and philosophical aspects, and thus enabling the “critical” of critical science literacy.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015

May 07, 2015 Article
The science-media interaction in biomedical research in the Netherlands. Opinions of scientists and journalists on the science-media relationship

by Anne Dijkstra, Maaike M. Roefs and Constance H.C. Drossaert

Scientists’ participation in science communication and public engagement activities is considered important and a duty. However, in particular, the science-media relationship has not been studied frequently. In this paper, we present findings from interviews with both scientists and journalists which were guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior. Results show that different behavioural, normative and control beliefs underlie scientists’ and journalists’ participation in science-media interactions. Both groups are positive about science-media interactions, but scientists perceive various disadvantages in this relationship while journalists perceive mainly practical barriers. Enhancing mutual understanding and further research is suggested.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015