Popularization of science and technology

20/09/2021

A novel and original take on the history of popular science showcases that making science accessible to the public has been part of scientific activity since ancient times. Under this lens, and through twenty-one case studies, current trends such as sci-art and virtual technology can be seen as part of a continuum that was already present in the use of aesthetic and rhetorical tools by the ancient Greeks. Thanks to a careful curation of the collection of texts, this volume as a whole offers more than the sum of its parts (chapters).

23/08/2021

In the year of the PCST Conference that brings together scholars and experts in public communication of science, Routledge published the new edition of the Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology, edited by Massimiano Bucchi and Brian Trench. The book, in its third edition, seeks to update and define the field of study and application of science communication from both a theoretical and empirical point of view mostly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic which undoubtedly represents an event of historical significance that cannot fail to question scholars on the medium and long-term effects.

05/07/2021

This study aims to test for differences in the receptiveness of science and non-science undergraduates to positive, non-aggressive humour being used in a science article, as an exploration into the utilization of such humour as a tool for more engaging science communication. The majority of the 76 respondents to an online survey were generally receptive to such use, with some differences between the two groups. It was also noted that a receptiveness to such humour may not necessarily be associated with a receptiveness to its actual use in science articles.

07/06/2021

When, to what extent and under what conditions autonomous driving will become common practice depends not only on the level of technical development but also on social acceptance. Therefore, the rapid development of autonomous driving systems raises the question of how the public perceives this technology. As the mass media are regarded as the main source of information for the lay audience, the news coverage is assumed to affect public opinion. The mass media are also frequently criticized for their inaccurate and biased news coverage. Against this backdrop, we conducted a content analysis of the news coverage of autonomous driving in five leading German newspapers. Findings show that media reporting on autonomous driving is not very detailed. They also indicate a slight positive bias in the balance of arguments and tonality. However, as soon as an accident involving an autonomous vehicle occurs, the frequency of reporting, as well as the extent of negativity and detail increase. We conclude that well-informed public opinion requires more differentiated reporting — irrespective of accidents.

11/01/2021

Television series that mix real science and imagery science make up a fascinating genre in popular science. While previous research on entertainment media focuses on Western examples and seldom includes Asian TV series, this study explores how medicine is portrayed in four TV series located in a hospital setting which were broadcasted in Taiwan. Yet, they were produced in different cultures: Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the United States. We found that the emphasis is more on the social contexts of medicine than on factual medical information. Yet, fictional TV series may be crucial for contextualizing science and science-based medicine.

30/09/2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which was first reported in China's Wuhan province in December 2019 became a global pandemic within a few months. The exponential rise in COVID-19 cases globally was accompanied by a spike in misinformation about the pandemic, particularly on social media. Employing Social Network Theory as a lens, this qualitative study explores how selected international celebrities appropriated their Twitter micro-blogging pages to announce their COVID-19 infection to the world. The study finds that these celebrities can take advantage of their huge social media following to counter disinfodemic and promote awareness about health pandemics.

17/08/2020

Expert debates have become a popular form to inform the public about scientific issues. To deepen our knowledge about individuals who attend such formats and to investigate what they expect of the dissemination of science, this study analyzes the attendants of scientific expert debates and their expectations. Cluster analysis is applied to survey data (n=358) to explore whether distinct segments may be distinguishable within this supposedly homogeneous audience. Four different segments were identified and, overall, the findings indicate that attendants expect science communication to not only present scientific findings comprehensibly and from different perspectives, but also to create everyday life applicability, whereas interacting with scientists is of less interest.

08/06/2020

The years of the protests marked a period of social turmoil in Italy. The critical impulses that developed within worker and student groups had political effects even on science. This paper aims to offer a historiographical description of some stages of the relationship between scientists and protesting movements, going back over the developments in science communication in Italy between the late sixties and the seventies, focusing on the case of Lucio Lombardo Radice and his work as a TV populariser. The reinterpretation of the recent past could be useful to better understand the contemporary developments in science communication from a historical perspective.

23/03/2020

On 3rd and 4th February, at Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Lisbon, Portugal), Ciência Viva organized the 2nd meeting of Mediation of Knowledge and Scientific Culture. This edition reunited politicians, teachers, science communicators and researchers to discuss culture, science communication and museums. The organization promoted workshops and invited three keynote speakers: Abdulaziz Alhegelan, Brian Trench and Ngaire Blankenberg who led discussions around cultural differences, science communication processes such as evaluation or impact, and how museums need to change to became more neutral.

02/03/2020

Public acceptance of vaccination and Genetically Modified (GM) food is low and opposition is stiff. During two science festivals in France, we discussed in small groups the scientific evidence and current consensus on the benefits of vaccination and GM food safety. Our interventions reinforced people's positive opinions on vaccination and produced a drastic positive shift of GM food opinions. Despite the controversial nature of the topics discussed, there were very few cases of backfire effects among the 175 participants who volunteered. These results should encourage scientists to engage more often with the public during science festivals, even on heated topics.

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