Science and technology, art and literature

11/06/2015

The representation of self and the nature of our identities often converge through technological forms. This study investigates the promotional techniques of seven companies selling DNA portraits, the objective being to uncover how these images derived from laboratory processes are viewed as valid depictions of the self and scientific knowledge. DNA portraits are revealed as the intertwining of technology and identity through celebrations of the technoself.

11/12/2013

Science is part of our everyday live; so is art. Some art installations that link the two require the active presence of the spectator. Thereby they help to raise the awareness, promote understanding, and generate an emotional response from the public. This project rests on the public participation model that seeks to explore the connection between art installations and science communication through experiential learning. In order to test the effectiveness of an art installation communicating science two groups were contrasted. The first was exposed to a list of scientific facts; the second participated in the creation of an art installation. The results of this research suggest that art installations do promote long-term fact retention. Therefore, the use of art installations can be considered an interesting method of conveying science in an attractive, reliable, and memorable way.

21/09/2011

Comprehension of the nature and practice of science and its social context are important aspects of communicating and learning science. However there is still very little understanding amongt the non-scientific community of the need for debate in driving scientific knowledge forward and the role of critical scrutiny in quality control. Peer review is an essential part of this process. We initiated and developed a pilot project to provide an opportunity for students to explore the idea that science is a dynamic process rather than a static body of facts. Students from two different schools experienced the process of peer-review by producing and reviewing comics related to the science done at Rothamsted Research. As authors, students showed a large degree of creativity and understanding of the science while as referees they showed good critical skills. Students had at first hand an insight into how science works.

09/03/2011

A survey we carried out in upper secondary schools showed that the majority of the students consider physics as an important resource, yet as essentially connected to technology in strict terms, and not contributing “culture”, being too difficult a subject. Its appreciation tends to fade as their education progresses through the grades. The search for physics communication methods to increase interest and motivation among students prompted the Department of Physics at the University of Milan to establish the Laboratory of ScienzATeatro (SAT) in 2004. Up to May 2010, SAT staged three shows and one lesson-show having physics as a main theme, for students attending any grades at school. Good indicators of the efficacy of those shows are: the number of repeats (256 of them up to May 2010), the reputation of the theatres in which they were performed, and the results of two surveys on the achievement of the goals, which saw the participation of over 50 classes each.

18/11/2009

Comics are a popular art form especially among children and as such provide a potential medium for science education and communication. In an attempt to present science comics in a museum exhibit I found many science themed comics and graphic books. Here I attempt to provide an overview of already available comics that communicate science, the genre of ‘science comics’. I also provide a quick literature review for evidence that comics can indeed be efficiently used for promoting scientific literacy via education and communication. I address the issue of lack of studies about science comics and their readers and suggest some possible reasons for this as well as some questions that could be addressed in future studies on the effect these comics may have on science communication.

19/06/2009

In present times it would not be appropriate to say art made a “debut” in science centres, as it has been a feature since the beginning of their history, and it appeared precisely in the ‘parent’ science centre, the Exploratorium. However, now it is time to check the progress. There is unrest for this issue, as in history-making times, and it is worthwhile to follow the new developments and hear the words of the coordinators of the artistic activities in science centres and, more in general, in science museums, and also of the artists involved in the process. The goal is to promote a debate on the final results of this phenomenon and on what will happen next. Also, emphasis should be put on the importance for each museum to define right from the start an ‘art policy’, even a complex one, but somehow structured, that may be employed at many levels according to the needs of the museum itself.

19/09/2008

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”.

21/03/2008

This article offers a 1953-present day review of the models that have popularised DNA, one of the fundamental molecules of biochemistry. DNA has become an iconic concept over the 20th century, overcoming the boundaries of science and spreading into literature, painting, sculpture or religion. This work analyses the reasons why DNA has penetrated society so effectively and examines some of the main metaphors used by the scientists and scientific popularisers. Furthermore, this article, taken from the author's PhD thesis, describes some recent popularisation models for this molecule.

21/12/2007

Within just a few months, new releases in the world of publishing have seen two books dealing with science and The Simpsons, one published in the US and the other in Italy: last spring, What's science ever done for us? by Paul Halpern (John Wiley & Sons, New York 2007) and, this autumn, La scienza dei Simpson by Marco Malaspina (Sironi Editore, Milano 2007).

20/09/2007

This paper relates to a special case of science-society mediation set up during the Science et Cité festival 2005. This national event took place in about twenty cities in Switzerland to promote a closer cooperation between science and society via art (theatre, music, dance, exhibitions, cinema, etc.), in order to reach the population at large. Results on the profile of the public, the role played by the cultural institutions involved, the motives of the visitors and the role of art in the science-society dialogue show that the goals aimed at by the festival's organisers were only partially reached. Moreover, the analyses shed light on the complex relation between art, science and society in public understanding of science activities.

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