Popularization of science and technology

13/02/2018

This book is a beginners' guide to science journalism, explaining the 21st century journalistic process, from generating story ideas to creating multimedia content when the story's written, taking in research and writing structures along the way. While many of the chapters are introductory, the book also covers topics also likely to be of interest to more experienced writers, such as storytelling techniques and investigative journalism. Readers are introduced to important debates in the field, including the role that science journalism plays; whether it is a form of `infotainment', or whether its primary role is to hold scientists and the science industry to account. Taken as a whole, what the book does particularly well is to introduce prospective science writers to the judgements they need to make as reflective practitioners.

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].

24/10/2017

Marked by the diversity of initiatives linking science and art and by new presentation formats, the 15th Congress of the Network for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (RedPOP) saw heated debates on science, culture, politics and society. Between 21st and 25th August, it brought together in Buenos Aires (Argentina) about 400 participants from 14 countries in order to share new visions, initiatives and research work in science communication. During the event, which included a vast cultural programme, a series of challenges were raised for the future development of the field.

04/09/2017

This study aims to test the perceptions of audiences to positive and non-aggressive humour in two popular articles. The themes were the effects of climate change on biodiversity and the over-exploitation of species. Both articles were published on-line at a Portuguese environmental site, and readers were asked to answer to an on-line survey. A total of 159 participants submitted their answers concerning their receptiveness to the humour, demographic information and comments. Results showed that the use of humour in popular articles is considered valuable for the majority of these readers, but different degrees of receptiveness suggest caution in its use.

20/07/2017

In this paper, we identify some milestones in the construction process for mobile science museums and centres in Brazil. As background for presenting the Brazilian context, we initially address the records found on the earliest travelling museum exhibitions and mobile museums in Europe and North America. We then introduce the role of UNESCO in the promotion and implementation of travelling science exhibitions and museums in several countries. Finally, we document important events in the history of mobile science museum and centres in Brazil and outline three general and inter-related challenges currently faced by them.

20/07/2017

By focusing on a specific episode of 20th Century physics — the discovery of parity violation in 1957 — the paper presents a study of the types of explanations of the crucial experiment as they are found in different editorial categories: a peer-review journal, a popular science book, an encyclopedia and a newspaper articles. The study provides a fine-grained description of the mechanism of the explanation as elaborated in non-specialist accounts of the experiment and identifies original, key-explanatory elements which characterize them. In so doing, the paper presents a reflection on the processes of transformation and adaptation implied by the circulation of knowledge — which features as a productive process in its own right — and shows which further insights a focus on explanation can offer to the current historical researches on science communication.

20/07/2017

This paper explores the combined effects of everyday life technological devices and advertisements in constituting an efficient way to scientific popularization. We, therefore, analyze mobile telephony advertisements published in a high-circulation Spanish newspaper — La Vanguardia — between 1994 and 1999. We identify content that promoted knowledge about the devices, the service, or the uses of this groundbreaking technology. Advertisements also attach attributes to technology — modernity, freedom, or efficiency. We suggest that the analysis of advertisements that promote everyday life digital devices allows a better understanding of what (digital) technology means to publics.

20/07/2017

This contribution concerns the role of the Victorian newspaper correspondence column in advancing knowledge of dermatology in relation to corporal punishment. It explores The Times' coverage of an inquest into the death by flogging of a British soldier. I argue that on the one hand, The Times participated in the debate about flogging in the army by bringing forward skin anatomy as an argument against corporal punishment. On the other hand, the paper might have used the publication of letters with medical content as a marketing strategy to maintain its authority and credibility against accusations of sensationalism.

20/07/2017

As a case study, we analyze an article of the psychiatrist Henrique Roxo published in 1942 in two publications directed to different publics. The communication of science was intended as part of Brazil's modernizing project of the epoch. Roxo's case reveals that the language used by science communicators, although sometimes of difficult apprehension, was part of an strategy of acknowledgment of the medical authority for the diagnosis and treatment of the mental illnesses.

06/12/2016

We present an exploratory study of science communication via online video through various UK-based YouTube science content providers. We interviewed five people responsible for eight of the most viewed and subscribed professionally generated content channels. The study reveals that the immense potential of online video as a science communication tool is widely acknowledged, especially regarding the possibility of establishing a dialogue with the audience and of experimenting with different formats. It also shows that some online video channels fully exploit this potential whilst others focus on providing a supplementary platform for other kinds of science communication, such as print or TV.

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