History of public communication of science

12/09/2018

The Science Communication Challenge by Gitte Meyer, a Danish science communication scholar with a previous career in science journalism, is a collection of essays on the interrelationships among science, society and politics in modern knowledge societies. The book is valuable as it contributes to the important debate on the “whys” (instead of the “hows”) of science communication and its (long term) impact on science and society. However, it does not present explicit solutions to the questions in focus but rather reads as a large patchwork of ideas, theories and concepts which require readers to have at least some basic knowledge.

11/04/2018

Modern science communication has emerged as a field of study, a body of practice and a profession. In the last 60 years, we have seen the birth of interactive science centres, university courses, the first research into science communication, and a growth in employment by research institutions, universities, museums, science centres and industry. Now Ireland has told its story.

13/12/2017

The four essays in this Commentary examine contributions of universities to science communication's development but also challenges in consolidating those efforts.

15/11/2017

Shroeder Sorensen analyses in depth the close relationship of the TV-series Cosmos [1980] with the popular culture, in its broadest sense, at the time of its release. The novel application of Fantasy-Theme analysis to the rhetorical vision of the series reveals how it is the product of a very careful and successful design. The book also compares the original series with its 2014 reboot Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [2014].

20/07/2017

Science communication is today a well-established ―although young― area of research. However, there are only a few books and papers analyzing how science communication has developed historically. Aiming to, in some way, contribute to filling this gap, JCOM organized this special issue on the History of Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), joining 15 contributions, from different parts of the globe. The papers published in this issue are organized in three groups, though with diffuse boundaries: geography, media, and discipline. The first group contains works that deal descriptively and critically with the development of PCST actions and either general or specific public policies for this area in specific countries. A second set of papers examines aspects of building science communication on TV or in print media. The third group of papers presents and discusses important PCST cases in specific areas of science or technology at various historical moments.

20/07/2017

Modern science communication has emerged over the last 60 years as a field of study, a body of practice and a profession. This period has seen the birth of interactive science centres, the first university courses to teach the theory and practice of science communication, the first university departments conducting research into science communication, and a sharp growth in employment of science communicators by research institutions, universities, museums, science centres and industry. This chapter charts the emergence of modern science communication in Australia, against an international background.

20/07/2017

Japan's policy of “public understanding of science” (PUS) has shifted to “science communication” since 2003. That year, there were a number of simultaneous developments with regard to science communication. The key report that advocated for the promotion of science communication and a textbook on science communication were published then. The most important consequence was that the report triggered a policy change at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The following year, MEXT published the White Paper on Science and Technology 2004, the main theme of which was concerned with science communication. Although the shift may have begun as a somewhat top-down contrivance, it has subsequently sunk down firm roots throughout Japan. In 2011 the Japanese Association for Science Communication was founded. People's awareness of science communication was significantly changed by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. Why was such a policy shift possible? How did such a cascade effect occur? This paper will discuss the reasons behind these phenomena.

20/07/2017

The history of science communication in Aotearoa New Zealand starts with the stories told by the indigenous Māori people and has often been rooted in large, controversial environmental or technological issues. Although science communication in New Zealand began with a culture of wise men informing an uneducated public, by the 1990s it had begun to explore ideas of public outreach and engagement. Driven in part by the country's landscape and unique wildlife, media such as film documentary have risen to take centre stage in public engagement with science. Public radio also features in discussion of scientific issues. New centres for the training of science communicators have emerged and there is governmental and public support for science communication in New Zealand, as demonstrated by the number of awards and funding opportunities offered annually, for those who achieve. However a more critical and strategic approach to science communication in the future is needed if New Zealand wants a more science-literate public, and a more public-literate science community.

20/07/2017

The research field of science communication is fairly neglected in South Africa. The university system in South Africa, with a few exceptions, pays scant attention to the teaching of science communication, leading to limited academic knowledge of this research field with its rich history and philosophical relations. This paper explores some of the reasons behind this neglect of science communication in South Africa and will argue and demonstrate that, primarily, two political systems can be identified as having had a profound impact on the lesser attention given to this research field; the ‘divide and rule’ system of British colonialism and the Afrikaner National Party ‘apartheid’ system of racial segregation.

20/07/2017

The history of public communication of science in Spain is yet to be written. Few academic studies exist that have tackled this subject. The political and economic history of the country have marked out the evolution of this discipline, which burst into the country at the end of the 20th century with the proliferation of initiatives such as the creation of science museums, the building of the Spanish Science Foundation and the development of a public Scientific Information service. Despite these efforts, the level of scientific culture for Spanish people is one of the lowest in Europe [OECD, 2016].

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