Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008


Sep 19, 2008 Editorial
The better you know, the better you make your choice. The need for a scientific citizenship in the era of knowledge

by Pietro Greco

Martin W. Bauer is right, two evolutionary processes are under way. These are quite significant and, in some way, they converge into public science communication: a deep evolution of discourse is unfolding, along with an even deeper change of the public understanding of science.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008


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

Sep 19, 2008 Article
Oficina Desafio – Challenging creativity

by Marcelo Firer

Oficina Desafio, Challenge Workshop, is a project of UNICAMP Exploratory Science Museum – the Science Center of the State University of Campinas (Brazil). It is an outreach project, consisting of a fully - equipped mobile workshop constructed on a truck, which visits schools and gives the students open solution real problems challenging them to “design, construct and operate a device” capable of solving the challenge. Analysis of the evaluation forms answered by school students reveals that participants of the challenges perceive it as a “learning opportunity”, in the sense they identify school related capabilities as conditions that increase the chance of facing the challenges successfully.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008

Sep 19, 2008 Article
Student science publishing: an exploratory study of undergraduate science research journals and popular science magazines in the US and Europe

by Mico Tatalovic

Science magazines have an important role in disseminating scientific knowledge into the public sphere and in discussing the broader scope affected by scientific research such as technology, ethics and politics. Student-run science magazines afford opportunities for future scientists, communicators, politicians and others to practice communicating science. The ability to translate ‘scientese’ into a jargon-free discussion is rarely easy: it requires practice, and student magazines may provide good practice ground for undergraduate and graduate science students wishing to improve their communication skills.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008


Sep 19, 2008 Commentary
Being creative in a greenhouse: art and global warming

by Donato Ramani

The world, all at once, has become a small world. Not only owing to TV, satellites and the Internet that allow us to jump from side to side of our planet in a click. But also owing to a phenomenon that evokes dry lands, devastating rains, tsunamis and hurricanes, torrid summers and melting glaciers: global warming. In the heated argument on this issue with so many people talking, in the past few years also artists have made their rising voice be heard. Artists-popularisers, aware of their role and of the considerable communication potential of the art medium. Because “One salient image, sculpture or event can speak louder than volumes of scientific data”.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008


Sep 19, 2008 Letter
Science and scientists turned into news and media stars by scientific journals. A study on the consequences on the present scientific behaviour

by Carlos Elías

This article explores whether some scientists have now actually been developing a type of science apt to be published as a piece of news, yet lacking a relevant scientific interest. Possibly, behind this behaviour there may be the present working culture, in which scientists live under the pressure of the dictatorship of the Science Citation Index (SCI) of the reference journals. This hypothesis is supported by a study demonstrating that there is a direct relation between publishing scientific results in the press and a subsequent increase in the SCI index. Many cases are here described, selected among the papers published in Nature that – according to experts – have a media interest rather than a scientific one. Furthermore, the case of the Dolly sheep cloning is studied as a paradigm for a situation in which media coverage actually destroyed the research group.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008

Book Reviews

Sep 19, 2008 Book Review
Education and science museums. Reflections in Italy and on Italy

by Paola Rodari

The educational function of science museums was born with the first naturalistic collections ever, flourished in 16th-century Italy. The pedagogic thought and the educational experimentations carried out in approximately five century of history have allowed the educational mission of museums to acquire many different facets, drawing a task having an increasingly higher and complex social value. Recent publications explore these new meanings of an old role.

Volume 7 • Issue 03 • 2008