On 16 January 2004, the United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan launched a Global Media Aids Initiative, with the aim of convincing the press, radio, television and Internet to join the fight against what has been called the "forgotten disease of the forgotten continent". Throughout the world, over 40 million people have the Hiv virus. In 2003 there were 5 million new infections and 3 million deaths were caused by Aids.
Analysis of popular science magazines can offer a significant contribution to the study of the history of science popularisation and the relation between the language of science and everyday language in Italy. This paper reconstructs the history of science popularisation through analysis of popular science magazines published in Italy from 1788 to date. The material examined consists of 80 popular science magazines covering various scientific disciplines, reporting current issues and targeted at a non-specialist public. Such material had never been gathered and organised in a systematic way before. The analysis did not take into account academic scientific journals which generally cover a single discipline and use technical language or high-quality science popularisation journals which also use specialist language. The element that all 80 magazines have in common is the use of non-technical, easily understandable language for a public that does not possess any specialist scientific knowledge. The analysis of the material offers an overview of the scientific disciplines that have been covered more extensively in popular science magazines from the end of the 18th century to date. In addition, it shows how priorities in coverage changed in different historical periods and how a variety of science communication modes have been established over time.
At the beginning of the new millennium, science is not only a neutral system or an objective methodology of knowledge, but also the implicit basis of the totality of our culture. Though science and its derivates are omnipresent in daily life, its basic ideologies and functional mechanisms are in most cases not fully visible to the subject. In using the most evolved systematical-critical model of psychoanalysis provided by the French thinker Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), an enlightening analysis of western science can be made, which contributes not only to a better understanding of its own psychology, but also of the hidden ties between science and its current socio-cultural background.
On 15 September 2001, thirteen major international journals, coordinated by the International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE), published a joint editorial titled "Sponsorship, authorship, and accountability". Unfortunately, only four days from the tragedy of 9-11, there is no room in the media for other news. In the scientific world, however, the content of that editorial sets off an alarm: the conflict of interest undermines the objectivity of biomedical research and the credibility of international journals vouchsafeing the quality of that research. (Translated by Andrea Cavatorti, Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori, Trieste, Italy.)
On September 15, 2001, a joint editorial simultaneously published in thirteen medical journals, pointed an accusing finger at the increasing pressures coming from the pharmaceutical industry. During past decades, a key role in trial design and conduct was played by independent clinical investigators working in academic medical centres. They were also able to vouchsafe the quality of their research, which might not, however, be the case in the future.
There is a substantial divergence between the standards of integrity associated with "good science" and the problems imposed by the conflict of interest on research, specially in the biomedical field. There are at least as many ways in which information may be altered and the production of new scientific knowledge may be affected as there are links that can be established between researchers, private companies, and editors and staff of the specialized press. The pressures resulting from this high number of connections can affect all stages of research, from trial design to data analysis, from result publishing and dissemination to who will be the author of the articles.