Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008


Mar 21, 2008 Editorial
A total society of knowledge

by Pietro Greco

The major Lisbon goal is to give Europe back the primacy as a society of knowledge. `Giving back' is a more appropriate term than `giving', as Europe long held that primacy in the past, and virtually as a monopoliser from the 17th century throughout the 19th. Then, Europe shared it with North America for a long portion of the 20th century.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008


Mar 21, 2008 Article
Overseas internships as a vehicle for developing a meta-level awareness regarding science communication

by Kayoko Nohara, Michael Norton, Miki Saijo and Osamu Kusakabe

The overseas internship programme offered at Tokyo Institute of Technology as part of the science communication curriculum is highly significant, as it prompts graduate students to acquire new skills and awareness levels, including an enhanced meta-level understanding of the importance and complexity of human communications. The capacity to correlate and respond on-site in human interaction can be gradually cultivated during the internship as students experience diverse communication environments. Moreover, the exposure to different organisational, cultural and social environments helps develop a more international outlook. As a result of the initial experience described in this paper, TiTech has adopted internships as an important part of the educational tool-kit to produce scientists and engineers who can play an active role at the global level using their acquired technical knowledge and broad practical capabilities.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 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

Mar 21, 2008 Article
Science journalism in Latin America: how the scientific information from a scientific source is accommodated when it is transformed into a journalistic story

by Fernanda Veneu, Luis Henrique Amorim and Luisa Massarani

Scientific information ­ from the moment it is produced by the scientific community until it reaches the non- expert audience through the newspapers ­ is submitted to a complex process of adaptation. In this paper, we investigate the process of accommodating the scientific information provided by a primary scientific source (a peer-review journal) into journalistic discourse (a newspaper). As case studies we analyzed four scientific papers published by the peer-reviewed scientific journals Nature and Science, which were simultaneously used as primary scientific sources by Latin American newspapers. We observed that the process of accommodation into a new space, journalistic space, represents a significant shift in the content of the texts, including information that appears, disappears and is transformed in the process; transformations in the lexica, the style and the argumentation; a change in the hierarchy of the information; a shift in the information emphasized and in the social impact it might have.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008


Mar 21, 2008 Commentary
The fronties of dialogue

by Paola Rodari

“Dialogue” is the trendy word of the moment. The word “dialogue” can be found in the call to access European funding, in the works of Science Communication scholars, in presentations of science education projects, in the mission of new science centres. “Dialogue” is also a word reported by mass media regarding politicians' and scientists' speeches on general issues as well as on local or specific problems such as environment, health, energy, etc... This new magic word is frequently repeated and opens many doors (or perhaps it simply helps to make a good impression). However, there is the risk of ignoring the real meaning and functioning of the word. JCOM is therefore asking a number of experts involved in “dialogue” the following questions: what does it really mean? What are the theoretical principles, the practical opportunities, but also the risks and limits of “dialogue”?

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008


Mar 21, 2008 Letter
Scientific careers and gender differences. A qualitative study

by Daniele Gouthier, Federica Manzoli and Donato Ramani

In Europe, much effort has been devoted to explore the causes of the decline in number of university matriculations of science students and to identify gender differences in career choice. Yet, the problem extends to the fulfillment of career plans: given their professional expectations and their attitudes when choosing a career, girls are much less likely to pursue scientific careers such as engineering or physics. Evidence of this is provided by the social research carried out within the framework of the GAPP project (Gender Awareness Participation Process). The Gapp project is intended to investigate differences between girls and boys in their perception of science careers and to propose a range of innovative and concrete participatory activities involving scientists, engineers and professionals from the public and private S&T sectors. In this letter, we report a synthesis of the results of the social research conducted as first step of the project: exploring how the perceptions of science professions affect interest, motivation and subject choice at school, at the university and consequently in their career.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008