Lists of Individual Abstracts
in alphabetical order by family name of first author
Individual Papers
Show Tell and Talk
Individual Papers
L. Abreu IBMC- Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto; Rua
do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto Portugal, J. Borlido Santos IBMC- Instituto
de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto; Rua do Campo Alegre, 823,
4150-180 Porto Portugal, J. A. Nunes Center for Social Studies (CES), Universidade
de Coimbra; Colégio de S. Jerónimo, Apartado 3087, 3001-401 Coimbra, Portugal, M.
R. Villar Correia 1-IBMC- Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do
Porto; Rua do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto Portugal
This paper examines a qualitative approach that is being used to assess the
effectiveness of health communication, through the adaptation and application of
a semi structured, qualitative interview protocol (McGill Illness Narrative Interview
- MINI), conceived to elicit illness narratives in health research. MINI was created by
three researchers from McGill University mainly to be used in transcultural psychiatry.
However, it is known that the MINI schedule can be used in other areas of the social
studies of health and medicine (Groleau, Young & Kirmayer, 2006). The project on
which the research is based is part of the Harvard Medical School Portugal Program
on Translational Science and health Information and aims at evaluating the state
of access to health information, its sources and appropriation by the Portuguese
We adapted the original version of MINI, adding a module on sources of information
and its appropriation. MINI adapted (MINIa) is thus one of a set of tools used to 1) assess
the strengths and the weaknesses of health information strategies and initiatives,
both current and in course of development – especially within the Harvard Medical
School (HSM) Portugal Program – and 2) evaluate the impacts of these strategies and
initiatives on health conditions and their determinants. Several pilot interviews were
conducted over a 12 month period with patients suffering from specific pathologies:
breast cancer and asthma. A preliminary analysis of the interviews points to health
professionals as the most common source of health information reported, followed
by Internet and television. MINIa has emerged as a powerful tool to assess, in a
qualitative perspective, the effectiveness of communication tools and also to identify
potential sources/networks involved in health communication and which require
further inquiry.
Sian Aggett The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust works with researchers and the creative industries to help
societies to explore and become involved with biomedical science, its future
directions, its impacts on society and the ethical questions that it brings. Alongside
support for dialogue and informed debate, we seek to spread the delight and interest
many derive from science and its intrinsic spirit of curiosity.
Siân Aggett (International Engagement Project Manager) and Chris Stock (Researcher
Support Manager) support scientific researchers (in low and middle income countries
and in the UK respectively) in engaging with communities, public and policy audiences.
Together we would like to lead one or two of the proposed sessions below (in order
of preference).
We are both experienced facilitators and have worked extensively in the field over
the last 15 years
Public Engagement with Science v Science Communication- Challenging the ownership
of knowledge.
This session will look at some of the examples from the International Engagement
Awards from the Wellcome Trust. The projects showcased will demonstrate the shift
in power between scientific research and that of the “community”. The projects will
demonstrate a spectrum from the totally researcher led to community led research
(using examples from India, South America and Africa). The session will involve
PowerPoint slides, some video and some loose group discussions on the following
- What can this mean for the scientific industry (where publications are everything!)?
- For policy making?- Does this approach have a greater chance of having a policy
impact? How do we foster this?
- For public health? Can this approach lead to public health outcomes? At what scale?
How can the impact be measured etc?
Luigi Amodio Fondazione Idis-Città della Scienza, Naples
Last years were marked by the impressive explosion of social media and Web 2.0. This
phenomenon could not have an impact on the practices of scientific communication
and, therefore, also in science centers and museums.
The presentation will try to analyze the current situation in this field, despite taking
into account the great speed with which these new connective tools mutate and
The aim is that of introducing some examples of using social media not only for
promotional purposes but, more importantly, to establish a new relationship between
the staff of museums and science centers and their audience, both real and virtual.
This is not only to communicate in different ways, but it is an opportunity to review
and revise concepts such as hierarchy, governance, authority and “power” within
cultural institutions.
Ilaria Ampollini Graduated in History of Science, University of Bologna, Philosophical
In 1773 the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande wrote a paper on comets and their
unstable trajectories, stating that it was possible that a comet could come close to the
Earth, thus producing catastrophic events. When the Paris Académie des sciences,
due to lack of time, cancelled his lecture – already announced on newspapers –,
people started to think that Lalande had been censored, in order not to reveal the
imminent apocalypse.
Rumours and fears spread out in Paris, and soon after in the provinces of France and
all over Europe: many intellectuals commented the fact, many journals propagated
the story. Lalande tried to calm down the public, writing on the “Gazette de France”
and printing a popular version of his memory, titled “Réflxions sur les comètes”, which
had a considerable diffusion, but apparently the panic did not stop.
Studying the original sources – Lalandes papers and correspondence, the editions
of his memory, the accounts of the episode on various journals and magazines – we
reconstructed the diffusion of the scientific information and tried to answer some
questions: Was the popular reaction to Lalande’s work unexpected from the author’s
side? What kind of misunderstanding did really occur? Was it due to a gap between
cultures or to the low quality of communication? Did Lalande’s continuous search
for celebrity play any role? What were the main rhetorical differences between the
paper directed to the Academy and the one printed for the general public? Did the
latter “clarify” the former? How did the scientific community react?
In the historical period this research focuses on – late 18th century – many of the
issues of public communication of science, which are still of urgent interest today,
emerged for the first time, due to a combination of factors: 1) scientists became more
and more specialised; 2) science was increasingly predictive; 3) the intellectual debate
was very rich; 4) the popular press started playing an important role in everyday life.
One of these issues is the information on risks and uncertainties and of informing
about the unlikelihood/impossibility of some hazardous event. Our study shows that
at Lalande’s time, scientists were concerned about these problems and discussed
them in a way that closely resembles the recent debates on risks related to asteroids
and high-energy accelerators.
Adriana Angel Ohio University, Carlos Raigoso Universidad Nacional
The relationship between risk and rhetoric can seem strange at first. That we live in
a risk society where we are exposed to several hazards seems to be a very reliable,
consistent, and serious claim. However, risk cannot escape from rhetoric (Sauer,
2003). We can establish several connections between both categories. Rhetoric is
concerned with the way in which risk is communicated, translated, and/or constructed
through language. Regardless of the theoretical approach that we use to define both
risk and rhetoric, we can claim that the communicative construction of risk is, at
least, a rhetorical process in which the probabilities about a hazard are represented
through language, using specific symbolic systems to persuade individuals on a
certain way. As Schwartzman, Ross, and Berube (2011) state, “How we package data
and recommendations [about risk] will be profoundly affected by the rhetorics of
uncertainty” (p. 5). On a broader sense, rhetoric helps us to understand the persuasive
dimension of human interaction. As Potter (1996) points out “[R]hetoric should not
be confined to obviously argumentative or explicitly persuasive communication.
Rather, rhetoric should be seen as a persuasive feature of the way people interact
and arrive at understanding” (p.106).
This paper analyzes the role of rhetoric in the presentation, definition and construction
of risk. Following Luptons classification of risk, we explore how the concept of rhetoric
-and its scope and limitations- can be understood in relation to three different
approaches of risk: realist, weak constructionist, and strong constructionist. We
draw on tradition such as Rhetoric of Science and Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
to analyze the ontological and epistemological characteristics risk and, therefore,
the place that rhetoric has according to different understandings of risk. Finally, we
discuss the political implications of these three different approaches to the rhetoric
of risk.
We consider that the study of rhetoric and risk relations has a central aspect related
to the ways in which experts, politicians, and publics configure and negotiate (or not)
the meaning of specific risks. Depending on the way in which risk is approached and,
therefore, on the role of rhetoric, relevant social groups (Pinch & Bijker, 1984) can
establish and perform different actions.
Ayelet Baram-Tsabari Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Ran Peleg Technion –
Israel Institute of Technology
Science museums often introduce theatre as a communication medium to liven up
exhibits and help digest difficult material. Research on this genre is scarce and has
so far mostly focused on viewers. In this study we employ a broader perspective to
enrich theory and research-based practice by studying not only viewers’ perceptions,
but also creators’ aims and the script of the play.
We adopt Hall’s model of encoding/decoding as a theoretical framework. We ask
three research questions and use following methods to answer them:
(1) What are the goals of the creators of a museum science theatre play for children
on basic evolution?
Data were gathered by an interview with the creators and observations of the
development stage. These were analyzed qualitatively.
(2) How are these goals encoded into the script of the play?
This was done by content analysis of the written script.
(3) How are these goals conceived by viewers?
To this end, 103 viewers filled out a questionnaire after the play and twelve interviews
were conducted. Questionnaires (n=91) from visitors who did not watch the play
formed a control group.
Seven aims of the creators were identified and assigned to three categories: (1) general
aims of theatre in the museum, (2) general aims of the play, and (3) specific learning
objectives. Factors influencing the encoding process were found to be museum policy,
personal beliefs, past experience, artistic considerations, and scientific and historical
accuracy. The creators were careful of social/moral values that might be encoded
into the text (e.g. “only the fittest survive”). It seems that in the encounter between
science and theatre, there is inherently a strong aspect of social values.
Content analysis of the script yielded evidence for the encoding of each aim. The
structure of the script was found to be analogous to the canonical structure of a
scientific paper. Throughout the script the narrative was intertwined with the scientific
There was clear evidence that the specific learning objectives were decoded as
intended by the viewers. There was less clear-cut evidence for the decoding of more
general and affective aims such as stimulating interest in science.
It seems that in the medium of museum science theater there is a strong link between
what the creators want to present and what viewers learn. The connection between
feelings the creators want to evoke and what audience experiences is more fragile
and harder to pinpoint.
Germana Barata Laboratory of Advanced Studies in Journalism, State University of
Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil
Science journals are one of the main sources of information in science news coverage.
In Brazil, data from 2007-2008 shows that 43,5% of the news about science published
in national newspapers correspond to international research and 16,3% of the total
is about research published in international journals. As studies published in the
newspaper get more visibility than if they had only appeared in the science journals,
journals have improved strategies to speak directly to lay public and journalists.
Another reason for this proximity is that the internet has allowed communication to a
public increasingly interested in science. This paper has analyzed the communication
strategies of the 20 journals with higher impact factor, according to data available at
the Journal Citation Reports. Review journals were not considered, since this genre
of journal usually gets more visibility than others. There is an increasing attempt to
communicate to lay public and the media, which can contribute to raise the journals’
visibility and, indirectly, their citation per paper. Journals of medicine and related
fields seems to be more involved with communication to general public, since those
are also the topics that raise more public interest. This study shows that those journals
invest on a popular science communication format by using multimedia channels and
promoting engagement with the media (press releases or sending embargoed material
through mailing list), and public participation (through blogs, social networks such as
Facebook and Twitter, and other tools as email alerts, RSS, audio, video, podcast).
Those journals are also the most cited by two of the biggest Brazilian newspapers.
Although the journals analyzed have a positive demand to popularize their contents,
most of the other journals only focus on the expert public and the online format
reproduces their printed version. Despite the fact that the main goal of journals is
to communicate to scientists, editors should consider a shift into their responsibility
toward more involvement in the dialogue with the general public.
Herbert Batta, Ph. D University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, Ashong
Ashong, Ph. D University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
We live in a society where beauty and sensations are important. Advances in medical
technologies have brought on waves of new notions of beauty where commercial
interests both in the media and the health industry spurred by fashion, advertising and
celebrity promotion have tended to popularise body modifications and enhancements.
In recent times, through offerings on cable television channels and glossy consumer
magazines, medical procedures hitherto only in the precincts of medical schools,
gynecological clinics and medical journals have now pervaded the public domain.
More seriously, on the Internet particularly, medical experts now offer services
and graphic details of labiaplasty, clitoral hood reduction or enhancement, vaginal
rejuvenation, etc. This study examines the public communication of the phenomenon
of aesthetic genital surgery and interrogates thus: is it decent, honest, balanced, and
ethical? Relying on textual analysis, personal observation, and literature review for
data gathering, this paper observes that beside tending to commercial and medicalise
the female genitalia, a coalescence of medical, advertising, and fashion interests as
played out in the media sensationalises the benign science of plastic surgery and robs
it of its truthfulness, genuineness, and purposefulness. The conclusion is that in Africa,
where the effects of the development crisis are telling, the hype surrounding cosmetic
or aesthetic genital surgery is a damaging distraction particularly when the continent
is yet to win the battle with female genital mutilation. The recommendations are
that media and medical regulatory bodies should impress it upon media and medical
industry operators that frank commercial promotions of cosmetic genital surgery in
the public media be checked, and that such communication should bear equal weight
of facts related to risks, shortcomings, complications, and threats in physical, social,
and psychological terms.
Lorenzo Beltrame Università degli Studi di Trento
Stem cell research is considered one of the most promising and revolutionary
branches of contemporary biomedicine. However, it is also a much contested
socio-political issue, as one of the most relevant sources of stem cells is the human
embryo. So, the alleged moral status of the human embryo (i.e. embryo question) is
opposed to the needs and hopes of (ill) people (i.e. therapeutic promise). This key
polarization overlaps and informs another one, that between human embryonic stem
cells (hESCs) and adult stem cells (ASCs). In the Italian stem cell debate, the hESCs/
ASCs opposition and the framing of their therapeutic potentials have embedded the
ethical quandaries related to embryo research in an epistemic discourse regarding the
biology of stem cells. Pluripotency, regarded as the source of the primacy of hESCs
in prospecting therapeutic advances, was framed and reframed in several (strategic)
ways according to the discursive tactics of the actors involved in the debate. In this
paper I shall show how the framings of therapeutic effectiveness of these competing
stem cell sources were linked to value orientations and “imagined” social orders and
how, by articulating an epistemic discourse on the biology of stem cell in general,
and on the meaning of pluripotency in particular, public communication of stem
cell science was used as a political means to influence policy-making. Discourse and
frame analysis focused on the use of articulations of pluripotency was conducted on
mass media (on the three most widely-circulating Italian newspapers and on relevant
fora for actors involved in the debate such as newspapers strongly engaged in the
controversy, websites of various civic, religious and scientific associations and so on)
and on documents of bioethical committees and regulatory agencies and institutions.
Mass media are regarded as spaces of visibility, public arenas crucially positioned in
the public sphere, where the actors discursively link their ideals of social order with
the frames of different stem cell sources. The framing of pluripotency is considered
as an epistemic legitimizing device to support imagined social orders both in mass
media discourses and then in policy discourses developed in regulatory arenas, where
discourses are translated into rules and norms that stabilize research trajectories and,
accordingly, enforce a specific view of social order.
Leopoldo Benacchio INAF
Plenty of students at all levels, and adults, believe that our Earth is a flat land and the
Sun actually orbits around it. And this apparently incredible situation is substantially
similar in several developed countries, Europe and the USA.
The flat Earth and the Sun as a planet are first of all a concerning of Astronomy Public
Outreach and Education, but can be assumed as “the standard-bearer” of all the
Science misconceptions.
One could actually ask where the hell the school has been in the education schedule
of these guys and how they can survive in our ultra-technological world.
Starting from the Italian case, from Primary School to University, and taking into
strong account falsehood and propaganda of the global media, we see the reasons
of a permanent distortion of Science concepts also in spite of a strong change of
teaching methods, contents and social weight of the school in the last, say, 50 years,
from Gagarin’s first Space flight till now.
The relationship between teaching and dissemination of science is examined to see
how nowadays the school is not able, or better saying in a position, to accomplish the
essential task of building a knowledge framework within which the student can set all
the information chunks originated from so many and different sources.
The crisis of Public Outreach of Sciences, less perceived in Italy than in other European
Countries, and the substantial lack of evaluation of the results in this field are also
lowering the level of POE. This is a really bad, because apparently data on the growth
of interest on Science are growing in the last years. An analysis of this state of crisis
and a discussion on possible solutions is presented.
Sophia M. Bickford The University of Western Australia, Nancy Longnecker The
University of Western Australia, Grady Venville The University of Western Australia
Many informal science organisations, such as museums, science centres, zoos
and national parks, provide field trip and outreach programs for schools. These
organisations find program evaluation increasingly necessary, but often lack tools for
effective evaluation given limited time and resources. Research-based evaluation of
field trip and outreach programs serving secondary students (years 8 to 12 or 13 to
18 y.o.) is particularly limited.
This paper reports ongoing evaluation of a science centre outreach program designed
to inform and inspire year 10 (15-16 y.o.) students about career opportunities in
science. A number of factors, including the multimedia format of the presentation,
limit presenters’ ability to tailor the show for different school audiences. Designers
and presenters thus face the challenge of creating a single, 45-minute presentation
that can engage both university-bound students preparing to select post-compulsory
academic subjects and students entering trades, for whom applied science and
scientific literacy is more relevant.
We used a worksheet of four open ended questions to gather feedback from students
and teachers and identified themes through content analysis. An initial survey of
two schools, including 271 students and 3 teachers, revealed divergent audience
perceptions. One school found it satisfactory, while the other felt it contained too
much entertainment and not enough career information. Based on this feedback,
the show was redesigned to emphasise career information and reduce time devoted
to demonstrations. We used the same evaluation process to gather feedback on the
revised show from 90 students and three teachers at a third school.
While each school audience reacted differently to the outreach program, in each case
students’ perceptions aligned closely to those of their teachers. Findings suggest that
a simple, open-ended questionnaire can be a useful tool for program evaluation, and
that the views of classroom teachers may be a good indicator of how students are
likely to perceive an outreach program. Implications for informal science practitioners
will be discussed.
Cissi Billgren Askwall Public & Science, Sweden, Heidi Armbruster-Domeyer Public
& Science, Sweden, Karin Hermansson Public & Science, Sweden, Lotta Tomasson
Public & Science, Sweden
Engaging young people with research is the most important aim of mass experiments.
School students themselves can conduct scientific research for example by measuring
the amount of carbon dioxide in classrooms, by analysing the acoustic emission at
schools or by taking the temperature in the refrigerator at home. By doing research
themselves, young people gain interest in science and get to know scientific research
methods and the work of researchers.
Vetenskap & Allämnhet, VA (Public & Science), an independent non-profit organisation
fostering the dialogue between science and society, has been organising mass
experiments in Sweden since 2009. The experiments were embedded and conducted
in the frame of the European Researchers’ Nights, an annual science festival taking
place all over Europe in September.
Thousands of pupils have been engaged in the experiments. Their teachers have
received detailed instructions as well as background material and suggested reading.
But not only young people and schools gain from mass experiments. For researchers,
such collaborations offer the opportunity to obtain large amounts of new data from
different locations with relatively little effort.
Mass experiments usually get substantial media attention which promotes both the
participating researchers and the festival itself. The experiment participants and their
families are also likely to visit a Researchers’ Night event.
However, in order to gain from mass experiments there are difficulties to overcome.
Based on experiences from organising mass experiments in Sweden, the paper
presents approaches of how best to design mass experiments, to find researchers to
collaborate with, to attract young participants, to reach and inform school teachers
and to present the results.
Reginald Boersma Wageningen University, Bart Gremmen Wageningen University,
Reint Jan Renes Wageningen University, Cees van Woerkum Wageningen University
In the modern world, people increasingly come into contact with products which
are created with advanced technologies. These technologies often have names that
are meaningful to the experts who create and develop them, but trigger different
associations to the public. With these different associations, people have to make
decisions in everyday situations whether to approach or avoid, adopt or reject or
even to eat the products.
Experts often try to align these different associations by providing new information.
Two of their assumptions are problematic: the idea that knowledge can be
transferred from one context to another, and that the novice public is passive. From
the perspective of categorization theory, we explore these assumptions.
According to the categorization theory, people organize their knowledge in categories.
These categories are used to interpret new information. Experts, in their domain
of expertise, have highly developed categorical structures, linking many relevant
concepts to each other and providing the ability to form overlapping categories or
to divide them into subcategories. Novices have small categorical structures, isolated
from relevant others. As a result, expert have the ability to ask highly informative
questions (for example, What sets Genomics apart from GM) where novices select
superficial features (Genomics sounds like GM) for the categorization process. As a
result, the interpretation of the public might be the opposite of what is expected
(where Genomics might circumvent common objections against GM, the public
rejects it for being the same).
Clearly, this provides a challenge in science communication. Scientists often select
names for new technologies that are meaningful to them. However, for experts
a name is a superficial feature only. For novices it is an information source which
determines the categorization. The name activates the categorical structures that
will be used for the further interpretation of information. This can create a prejudice
that, in turn, causes selective interpretation and remembrance of new information,
undermining the notion of knowledge being transferable from the expert context to
the public. Before scientist can start explaining technology, they first have to explain
how the word-part gen does not entail modification or how synthetic biology does
not mean nylon. We therefore argue that the interpretations of the public should be
taken into account when developing scientific language.
Christophe Boete Institut de Recherche pour le Développement – Aix-Marseille
Among the hopes for vector-based malaria control, the use of transgenic mosquitoes
able to kill malaria parasites is seen as a potential way to interrupt malaria transmission.
While this potential solution is gaining some support, the ethical and social aspects
related to this high-tech method remain largely unexplored and underestimated.
Related to those latter points, the aim of the present survey is to determine how
scientists working on malaria and its vector mosquitoes perceive public opinion and
how they evaluate public consultations on their research.
This study has been performed through a questionnaire addressing questions related
to the type of research, the location, the nationality and the perception of the public
involvement by scientists. The results suggest that even if malaria researchers agree
to interact with a non-scientific audience, they (especially the ones from the global
North) remain quite reluctant to have their research project submitted in a jargonfree version to the evaluation and the prior-agreement by a group of non-specialists.
The study, by interrogating the links between the scientific community and the public
from the perspective of the scientists, reveals the importance of fostering structures
and processes that could lead to a better involvement of a non specialist public in the
actual debates linking scientific, technological and public health issues in Africa.
Meaghan Brierley University of Calgary
Few studies focus explicitly on changes to medical illustration in terms of the intentions
and interests of illustrators and interactions with their clients. Based on data from
interviews with medical illustrators in North America (March 2011-February 2012) this
presentation poses the following question: How do professional medical illustrators
discuss quality, honesty and beauty in their work and with their clients, and how
might these perspectives influence their practices as a form of public communication?
Results indicate most illustrators are intimately tied to these concepts: quality is
talked about in terms of their personal ability, design approach, and impressions of
their work in terms of other illustrators and time periods; honesty is linked to how to
work with clients in different domains such as education in health professional and
commercial domains; and definitions of beauty are based in a form of respect for
scientific topics, broader personal opinions and life influences. It is in exploring these
terms that illustrators reveal their goals for the images they create, where these goals
are challenged by the variety of clientele they work with, and how their belief that
any intended audience can learn the most difficult of scientific topics remains sound.
If it is true that “(i)n the performativity of imaging, life gets into the image” (Bolt
2004, p. 1), then the commentary of the intentions and actions of those visualizing
science become important data in the creation of the imaged material world. “Today
medical illustrators are dedicated to furthering science and healthcare worldwide.”
Accustomed to navigating both the steady and the changing aspects of science and
technology in terms of their processes and topics, and broadening their sponsors and
audiences where opportunities exist, illustrators’ thoughts on quality, honesty and
beauty become guiding principles for a profession historically dedicated to visualizing
Dominique Brossard University of Wisconsin-Madison, Leona Yi-Fan Su University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Ashley Anderson University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dietram A.
Scheufele University of Wisconsin-Madison
Audiences for science news are shifting rapidly with younger people turning away
from traditional news outlets. But the story may be more complex than simple cohort
shifts over time.
We argue that shifts in science news consumptions occur across two dimensions.
First, we are seeing fewer and fewer respondents who rely on a single, traditional
medium, such as newspapers or television, for their science news. Instead, audiences
increasingly rely on mixed media diets with multiple news outlets playing equally
important informational roles. Second, within mixed media diets, some cohorts rely
primarily on a combination of mixed media outlets, while others rely on a combination
of online-only sources and traditional news media. In fact, our findings suggest that
online-only sources, such as blogs and online-only news outlets, are increasingly
important for younger individuals and for males.
In particular, our analyses rely on two representative surveys of the U.S. population
(conducted in 2007 and 2010). We examine science news consumption gaps across
different age groups and by gender. Operationalizations of traditional mixed media
use comprise those individuals who rely on either the offline or online version of
multiple traditional news products. Online mixed media use measures reliance on
online-only sources - such as blogs - in addition to traditional media sources.
Our data show that the majority of traditional mixed media users are people older
than 55, and a majority of online mixed media users are young people between the
ages of 18 and 34. At first glance, single-media news users follow similar patterns
as audiences for traditional and online mixed media. The majority of television
and newspaper readers are older, while Internet users are mostly younger. The gap
between older and younger groups is more pronounced among online-only media
use than for those who have a mixed media diet that includes online-only sources.
Our study also shows significant differences across gender groups. In particular, our
data find that significantly more males than females use Internet-based media, both
in single-media diets, and mixed-media diets. For all other media, the male-female
ratio is much more balanced. Our paper will explore the origins of these gender gaps
and their impacts on science attitudes in greater detail. We will also explore how any
potential disparities have become more or less pronounced between 2007 and 2010.
Trish Campbell University of Calgary, Canada
Because they occurred in the contentious public arena that surrounds abortion, the
development, introduction, and use of RU486 (also known as the “abortion pill”)
provide a valuable vantage point for studying the historical interests, representations,
and practices of the actors who gathered around them. This paper presents a
historical case study of the attempt to introduce RU486 into Canada in the early
1990s, drawing on an earlier U.S. arena analysis performed by Clarke and Montini
(1993), supplemented by key theoretical concepts from Actor Network Theory and
Ruth Schwartz Cowans framework for linking gender, technology, and public policy.
In identifying various heterogeneous actors, their public constructions of RU486 and
each other, and their contingent alliances, the paper outlines the history of RU486 in
Canada. It also explores some theoretical issues arising from the case in regard to the
public understanding and negotiation of reproductive biomedicine.
Miquel Carandell Autonoma University of Barcelona
In 1983, a cranial fragment attributed to Homo sp. was found in Venta Micena,
Orce (Granada, south Spain) by Josep Gibert, Salvador Moyá-Solá and Jordi Agustí,
paleontologists from the Institut de Paleontologia de Sabadell in Catalunya. The bone
was named “the Orce Man” by Spanish mass-media where it had a great impact. One
year later, the same cranial fragment was attributed to a donkey, genre Equus, by the
French scientist Marie Antoinette de Lumley, as reported by the newspaper El País.
A very harsh controversy began. Only Josep Gibert continued to claim that the Orce
fragment was human. The mass-media, especially newspapers were the scenario for
the scientific debate. Opinion of journalists, politicians and other scientists on the
issue appeared in the press. Three years later, Agustí and Moyá-Solá announced in
Spanish newspapers the forthcoming publication of the first scientific paper following
de Lumley’s attribution. Agustí then stated in El País that “the scientific debate should
have been limited to scientific publications, but the media treatment of the issue
has given it a different dimension”. Due to the controversy making headlines, public
institutions denied Gibert excavation permits and funding and he was marginalized
by his colleagues.
The early scientific popularization and the later controversy in the press changed the
status of the debate from a scientific to a public debate. Through a profound study of
the main Spanish newspapers of that period this paper attempts to analyze the role
of science communication in the shaping of scientific research around the Orce Man
during that twenty-four years of controversy, from 1983 to 2007, when Josep Gibert,
the main defender of the Orce Man, died.
Silvia Casini Ca’ Foscari University of Venezia, Dipartimento di Filosofia e Beni Culturali
In the past decades the growing number of festivals, exhibitions and journals devoted
to art and science cross-fertilisation has shown how art has become an important
mediator between science and the public and, conversely, how science has become
a cultural agent whose activities are increasingly characterised by aesthetic and
perceptual concerns. Science centres and museums increasingly promote sci-art as
a means of engaging with visitors. Intuitively, sci-art seems to be able to reach new
and broader audiences fostering a more participatory way of engaging with science,
although to my knowledge there are few attempts to measure and evaluate the
specific impact of sci-art exhibits.
Circumscribing my talk to the context provided by science museums, I shall argue
that the aesthetic dimension of science and science communication comes to the
foreground also in absence of artworks or sci-art exhibits, that is through visitors’
discourses and bodily movements. It is visitors, in fact, who re-enact the aesthetics of
science in their embodied sensory and cognitive experience of objects and spaces. We
need to trust aesthetics and give it a bigger role in everyday science communication
context and practices, also by integrating it in visitors studies. To this purpose, multimodal analysis of video-recordings and interviews to visitors might be more suitable
than traditional surveys to bring to the foreground the aesthetic dimension of science
and to present it in more performative ways.
The theoretical framework of the talk is informed by the critical apparatus of visitor
studies and ethnometodology integrated by recent debates in aesthetics and
philosophy of the image. I will bear upon field-work (audio-visual recordings and
interviews) undertaken in the context of a research project at the recently renovated
Natural History Museum in Venice. As the project is still on-going, my analysis will be
exploratory rather than normative, envisaging ways of dealing with the challenges
Angela Cassidy Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Imperial
College London, Hauke Riesch Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College
How can researchers investigating science communication, participation, the
sociology/history of science and related topics engage most effectively with their
research participants before, during and after the research process? For many of these
fields, the subjects of research tend to be other researchers in science, technology,
engineering and medicine (STEM), or practitioners involved in communicating STEM
subjects. This presents a series of challenges for researchers in the field, which we
will discuss with reference to our previous work on evolutionary psychology; risk
communication and understanding; badger culling; animal disease; and environmental
We will discuss our experiences of working closely with (at times for) scientists, whilst
maintaining quite different research goals; and the implications of such differences for
engaging ethically with STEM participants, particularly when researching controversial
topics. We will also ask how PCST researchers can improve communications, both
with STEM participants and wider publics. Is this merely a matter of communicating
“better”, or does the research itself need to become more relevant to science
communication and engagement practice?
Angela Cassidy Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Imperial
College London
Debates over the culling of wild badgers to manage bovine TB in cattle have been
ongoing in the UK since the 1970s, when the two species were first linked and badgers
became a highly protected wildlife species. In the hope of resolving the controversy,
policymakers turned to science by commissioning the largest field experiment
ever carried out in the UK: the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT). However,
the findings of this ambitious research programme recreating the experimental
laboratory across a large swathe of the English countryside proved to be unexpected,
counterintuitive, complex and uncertain.
This paper offers an analysis of debates over badger culling and the science of bTB
in the UK media from 1995 to 2010. It will discuss how badger/bTB has been framed
as an agricultural or environmental issue by opposed groupings of media, scientific,
industry, NGO, celebrity and political actors. Advocates on both sides have drawn upon
a historical legacy of debate over human/badger conflict, to frame badgers as either
innocent victims to be protected, or as disruptive pests. As the findings of the RBCT
emerged, actors in the debate changed their rhetoric around science, expertise and
evidence, rather than their positions on badger culling. Despite these oppositions, all
those involved employ a shared rhetoric of “the public”, which is usefully imagined,
rather than based in the complexity of what multiple publics’ opinions about badger
culling might actually be. Finally, the developing involvement of mainstream political
agendas in the badger/bTB debate will be discussed: this case illustrates how science,
media, policy and politics are increasingly mutually shaped in today’s public sphere.
Cristina Palma Conceição Center for Research and Studies in Sociology, Lisbon
University Institute, Ana Delicado Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon
Learned societies are among the earliest communicators of science. Public lectures
and demonstrations were at the core of their activities in early modern science.
However, their role in the contemporary movement of public understanding of
science (PUS) is hardly ever discussed, even though organisations such as the Royal
Society and the British Society for the Advancement of Science have played a key part
in it.
In a field that seems to be dominated by research institutions, keen to raise public
awareness of their own work, and specialised institutions, such as science centres,
what is the importance of the activities carried out by associations? In what way do
they differ from other players in the field? And how relevant are these activities to
the associations’ own functioning?
Our aim is to examine the activities of communication of science carried out by two
types of associations: scientific societies (mostly of a disciplinary nature), in which
PUS is becoming an increasingly important issue, though part of a wider array of
actions and functions; and associations that work mainly in this field (astronomy
clubs, nature groups, science promotion NGOs). This later type tends to involve a
more diverse range of members (scientists, teachers, lay people) and its growth can
be an indicator of an increasing link between science and society, as well as a growing
professionalization and specialisation in science communication. This paper draws
from an on-going research project concerning Portuguese scientific associations,
based on case studies that comprised interviews to directors, document analysis,
ethnographic observation at events and surveys of members.
Catherine E. Crawley National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis,
Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville
Music touches our hearts, makes us tap our feet and sparks vivid memories.
Neurobiological studies have shown that music arouses feelings of euphoria and
craving (Salimpoor et. al., 2011) and activates neural pleasure and reward pathways,
similar to those that are activated with food, drugs and sex (Blood and Zatorre, 2001).
Music can be used a pedagogical tool for teaching science and math, and can also be
a way of popularizing both subjects. Although science itself has not traditionally been
a subject or source of inspiration for music, the beauty of the natural world has. And,
as scientific inquiry seeks a deeper view of the natural worlds beauty, music can be
an emotional medium through which science as a process and as a human endeavor
can be communicated and illuminated. It is with these ideas in mind, the National
Institute for Mathematical and Biology Synthesis (NIMBioS) created the Songwriterin-Residence Program to encourage the creation of songs about involving ideas of
modern biology and the lives of scientists who pursue research in biology. This paper
describes the innovative use of music as a method to communicate science and offer
as a case study the NIMBioS Songwriter-in-Residence Program, which supported the
residencies of four professional singer-songwriters during the 2010-2011 academic
year. Rather than using music as an instructional tool to teach scientific concepts, the
program was intended to communicate to the public the excitement and wonder of
science and mathematics. The program’s goals are described and evaluated using a
variety of online analytic tools to determine the “reach” of the program and to assess
audiences and usage. The study also describes an unintended benefit of the program:
scientists who interacted with the songwriter began to think more deeply about how
to break down language barriers inherent in communicating with lay audiences.
Blood, A.J. and Zatorre, R.J. (2001). Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate
with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. PNAS, 98 (20), 1181811823.
Salimpoor, V., Benovoy, M., Larcher, K., Dagher, A., and Zatoree, R.J. (2011).
Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak
emotion to music. Nature Neuroscience, 14, 257262.
Crescimbene Massimo National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV, Italy),
La Longa Federica National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV, Italy),
Lanza Tiziana National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV, Italy)
The last decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium
have been marked by a strong focus on the past and, consequently, a proliferation
of studies on memory. Perhaps this great attention to memory implies a new way
of thinking and experiencing time and space, two categories that deeply changed
by the phenomenon of cultural globalization. The revival of studies on memory has
included large Italian earthquakes occurred in the last 150 years. Several initiatives
and commemorations wanted to remember these great catastrophes of our country.
What is the relationship between these initiatives and the reduction of seismic risk?
What relationships are there between memory, oblivion and seismic risk? On the
issue of seismic risk reduction the provocative phrase of Pierre Nora fits well: “Do we
talk about memory because it no longer exists”? A. Assmann associates the idea of
crisis of memory with the crisis of “living memory”, that is linked to the disappearance
of the eyewitnesses of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century. When the
generation who lived through L’Aquila earthquake on 6 April 2009 will disappear,
the memory of the earthquake will vanish with them? To propose communication
strategies capable of persisting the passage of generations, this work explores an
interdisciplinary point of view, which takes into account recent studies on memory
such as: subjectivity, emotion, context, time and evolution, the tension between
memory and oblivion, information, memory as a construction process. Today there is
no single definition of memory because memory is a dynamic process: a procedural
memory, which reshapes itself according to the present. So what should we do today
to develop effective risk communication strategies? Starting from the assumption of
Mieke Bal that cultural memory has to be seen “as an activity that takes place in the
present, in which the past is continuously modified and re-described, even when it
continues to shape the future”, we can not forget that the problem of memory is
always located in the relationship between those who “produce memory and those
who “benefit from it”. To overcome the dichotomy between individual emotional
and collective historical experience and to counteract the effect of oblivion, those
involved in communication and risk reduction should move towards a constructive
direction of memory, capable to enhance the past, live the present and orientate the
Fabienne Crettaz von Roten Observatoire Science, Politique et Société, University of
Lausanne, Switzerland, Gaele Goastellec Observatoire Science, Politique et Société,
University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Since the 2000s, studies on scientists’ engagement towards society have been
carried in many countries (UK, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, etc.); most
of them focused mainly on practical considerations (raisons for engagement, type of
engagement, drawbacks and incentives to engagement). A first step towards a wider
approach was undertaken by Jensen et al. (2008) study on academic productivity
and career recognition of scientists active in public engagement and by Crettaz von
Roten & Moeschler (2010) study on the relation between perceptions and levels of
engagement. In a special issue of Public Understanding of Science, Bauer & Jensen
(2011) reviewed the main results of the available studies, and Neresini & Bucchi
(2011) elaborated indicators of the organizational culture of public engagement in
research institutions. We propose another step with the introduction of items on
public engagement in studies on academic profession to open new prospects for
understanding what affects scientists’ public engagement.
The data for this presentation comes from the Changing Academic Profession (CAP)
project, an international survey of academics conducted in 2010 in twelve European
countries. In this presentation, articles written by academics in newspapers and
magazines are considered public communication. We will first analyse traditional
factors explaining difference in the propensity to engage for Swiss scientists
(gender, age, position, disciplines and perceptions of engagement). Then we will
propose new factors related to perceptions of career development and to change in
academic professions (higher education institutes are becoming subject to increased
internationalisation and to new forms of management). The effects of these various
factors will be compared in a multivariate statistical model.
Bauer, M. & Jensen, P. (2011). The mobilization of scientists for public engagement.
Public Understanding of Science, 20(1), 3-11.
Crettaz von Roten, F. & Moeschler, O. (2010). Les relations entre les scientifiques et la
société. Sociologie, 1(1), 45-60.
Jensen, et al. (2008). Scientists who engage with society perform better academically.
Science and Public Policy, 35(7), 527-541.
Neresini, F & Bucchi, M. (2011). Which indicators for the new public engagement
activities? An exploratory study of European research institutions. Public
Understanding of Science, 20(1), 64-79.
Vickie Curtis The Open University, UK
The discourse of public engagement with the sciences is based on the oft-cited
premise that publics will, a priori, value “two-way dialogue”. Despite the rhetorical
emphasis on “two-way dialogue” in the UK, research has illustrated that many science
communication events retain an “educational framing”. Do publics desire dialogue
or education when they engage with the sciences? What do they value in a science
outreach event? By investigating a specific event this study aimed to explore these
important issues in more detail.
I studied a weekly “Open Evening” organised by the Institute of Astronomy at the
University of Cambridge, UK. Each event typically consisted of a lecture aimed at
general audiences followed by questions and answers. Guided observations of the
night sky with the local amateur astronomy group followed if the weather was clear.
A mixed methods approach resulted in a combination of data being collected.
Participant observation through field notes complemented the collection of both
quantitative and qualitative data from questionnaires. Audience demographics were
analysed and participants were asked a number of questions relating to their general
attitudes towards science outreach events and whether they wished to see more
opportunities for dialogue.
Feedback from the questionnaires demonstrates that this is a popular event run
by a committed team of scientists and amateurs. Most of the participants are well
educated. Many attended regularly, often travelling great distances to do so. Overall,
the majority of those questioned attended to learn something new directly from
practicing astronomers, and ‘to be enlightened’. The lectures were often cited as the
most rewarding aspect of the event. This is in contrast to the policy rhetoric promoting
“two-way dialogue”. It suggests that the educational framing of the event was valued
by attendees.
Views regarding dialogue were not always straightforward. “Dialogue” meant different
things to different people; some were unsure how to answer, and there seemed to
be a low level of awareness regarding different types of approaches available in the
public communication of science. While a number of respondents were enthusiastic
about the potential for more interaction with scientists, many were not sure how such
an event could be structured. Overall, these findings indicate that further work could
usefully explore how publics understand and value different forms of engagement.
Emily Dawson King’s College London, Eric Jensen University of Warwick
Persuasive evidence has been gathered showing the value of public consultations
directly linked to policy outcomes. However, evidence that public engagement
in informal contexts is beneficial for those engaged is much more limited. In this
presentation, I briefly review research conducted at the Cambridge Science Festival
and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, which points to the potential impacts of “live
and in person” public engagement with academic research. This research provides
clear answers to questions about why publics engage with academic research and
what they value about such experiences.
The presentation goes on to provide an overview of issues involved in empirically
evaluating what impacts such public engagement offers for publics. It is noted that
there is a particular gap in evidence around the ways in which public engagement of
all kinds is integrated into the broader lives of individuals over time. The importance
of taking such “contextual” considerations can be seen in the finding that visitors
to the Cambridge Science Festival interpret the experience through discussion with
friends and family. This research finding points to the need for a “contextual turn”
in the evaluation of public engagement impacts. Indeed, the widespread failure to
routinely ensure rigorous and valid evaluations which are widely disseminated to
enhance practice and impact is undermining the development of this diverse field of
practice. I argue that it is possible to develop valid and reliable measures of impact,
and that it is vital for such evidence to be fed into continual development in the ways
in which public engagement is designed and delivered.
Ildeu de Castro Moreira Institute of Physics – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro,
Luisa Massarani Museu da Vida – COC – Fiocruz. Rio de Janeiro
I know that art is sister of science, both children of an elusive god. [Gilberto Gil,
CD “Quanta”, (1995)]. Science and art are integral parts of everyday life and of the
human condition, and music is a wonderful form of art. The links between science and
music are deep and their roots are directly associated to the emergence of modern
science. Music has an important background in physics: it is made up of sounds in
tune with the culture; it has often served also as a metaphor and an inspiration for
the human interpretation of the physical world, especially in cosmological models.
Since science has become more and more a part of everyday life for the people, it has
also penetrated the universe of popular artists, in particular poets and composers.
This paper discusses how issues and views on science and technology have emerged
and had an impact on popular Brazilian music. This analysis can be an interesting
opportunity for discussing the perceptions and attitudes on science and technology
by musicians. We searched to identify some categories for the songs and lyrics that
are related to issues, concepts, views and attitudes toward science and technology
in the Brazilian popular composers’ imaginative mind. Science issues emerged also in
samba and in the carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro. For instance, in 2004 the samba
school Unidos da Tijuca opted for a highly unusual theme – scientific creativity. In this
case, science offered ideas and themes not usually considered in carnival parades,
enriching its universe of facts and images.
Jose Manuel de Cozar University of la Laguna (Spain), Javier Gomez Ferri University
of Valencia (Spain)
In this communication we will present the results of a recent Delphi study carried
out on Spanish nanotechnology researchers, focused on the social communication of
Nanoscience or nanotechnology can be defined as the study, control and manipulation
of material at a nanometric scale. At this scale material displays different properties
than at the macroscopic scale, creating different situations and challenges for many
fields. According to predictions it will have a great economic impact, but its social
repercussions will also be considerable.
Despite this, public opinion on this field in Spain and much of Europe ranges between
unawareness and unconcern. According to the studies carried out no opinion or social
image of nanotechnology exists yet in Spain; in fact, the public generally knows very
little or nothing about them. But this is only temporary.
Over the past few decades, the relationship between science and society has changed
in many aspects: public perceptions, attitudes, roles and functions have all been
transformed. Today the public is more active and demands information on anything
that may concern or affect it and even to have a say in such issues.
For scientists, a need has arisen to transmit to the public a basic understanding of
their research and a realistic idea of future risks and prospects. This is particularly
true in the case of nanotechnology, a very new field dominated by complexity
and uncertainty, as there is a growing demand for information on the nanotoxicity
of materials. In this scenario, an ideal strategy to obtain information is the Delphi
This method consists in consulting experts when, due to a lack of precise information,
a certain level of consensus is sought regarding forecasts and orientations on certain
issues. In our case, we circulated questionnaires with the goal of evaluating the risks
and benefits of nanotechnology, anticipating situations related to public opinion,
optimizing communication strategies for different audiences and evaluating attitudes
regarding the new roles of the public in scientific and technological development. The
results are the content of this communication.
Anne M. Dijkstra University of Twente, Science Communication
Science cafés offer a place for discussion and debate for all those who are interested in
science and society issues. But, can science cafés be a place for informal dialogue? How
can they contribute to the scientific citizens that are wanted in the two-way dialogue
of the upstream public engagement ideas? In the Netherlands, in 2010, a series of
five science cafés meetings were organised around the issue of nanotechnology. Aims
were to inform people about nanotechnology, and, to contribute to the public debate
about nanotechnology.
In a connected research study, two groups (science café participants and a group of
people interested in science and technology who did not visit the science café meetings
which we called non-participants) were asked to give their opinions, amongst others,
about citizen’s participation in nanotechnology and their own levels of participation
in nanotechnology, as well as their levels of participation in societal and political
issues. Also, their perceptions of risks and benefits of nanotechnology were polled
(not presented here). In addition to the quantitative data, the science café meetings
were recorded and transcribed. In this paper, we present both qualitative data and
quantitative data that focus on the actual processes of interaction between both
speakers and science café participants, as well as the way science café participants
and non-participants feel enabled to participate in nanotechnology issues and the
way they say they actually behave in the nanotechnology debate.
Koen Dortmans Centre for Society and Genomics, Radboud University Nijmegen,
Maud Radstake Centre for Society and Genomics, Radboud University Nijmegen
To what extent could informal dialogue events contribute to the development of moral
competence of participating scientists and experts? In this paper we argue that this
is a pertinent question for both scholars and practitioners in science communication,
based on results of a qualitative empirical study (n=8).
In recent years, ‘classic’ ways of mass communication on science and technology in
the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe have been complemented by various live
events for a general public. In science cafes, debating centers and science museums,
people are not merely informed about science and technology, but actively engaged
in discussions.
Social science critiques of the deficit model have mainly targeted “invited forms of
engagement which are in some way connected institutionally with policy making”
(Wynne, 2007), leaving informal public dialogues aside as initiatives that merely
seek to “educate” publics. Yet, some have argued that such events, which have
become increasingly numerous and popular, “may in some ways be a better forum
for this [social] learning process than dialogue with policy outputs, where formalized,
consensual outcomes are often demanded” (Davies et. al. 2009).
Some empirical research has been done on informal public dialogue on science and
technology, which has focused on the interaction between scientists and “the” public
(e.g. Kerr et. al., 2007). Little is known about the role of the organizers of such events
in shaping and framing what is discussed and how that is perceived by participants.
This paper addresses the question: How do organizers of informal, live public events
on science and technology in the Netherlands relate to the notion of dialogue as
symmetrical science communication? How do they apply it in their practices?
To answer this question, we first mapped the Dutch landscape of live public events
on science and technology. Secondly, we conducted semi-structured interviews with
8 organizers on the functions, mission statements, and setting of their work, as well
as their perception of the public and their views on dialogue. Thirdly, we performed
observations during 5 events organized by some of the respondents.
We conclude that most organizers frame their work in terms of public understanding
or public awareness of science rather than dialogue. In our discussion, we indicate
some implications of this conclusion for both the practice of informal dialogue and
the agenda of public engagement research.
Hester du Plessis Associate researcher, SeTAR Centre, Faculty of Science, University
of Johannesburg
The theoretical development of Transdisciplinarity as a research approach opens
up new possibilities for scientists to contextualise their research. A characteristic of
transdisciplinary reflection is its effort to establish epistemological and philosophical
commonalities and differences in a move beyond disciplines and in interaction
with society. Transdisciplinarity in this regard established a challenging theoretical
foundation. This includes a framework of three axioms (pillars) indicating three levels
of understanding: Reality (ontological axiom), the Middle Ground (logical axiom)
and Complexity (complexity axiom) (Nicolescu, 2008). Axioms are not theorems and
cannot be demonstrated; they have their roots in experimental data and theoretical
approaches and their validity is judged by the results of their application. The notion
of “results of application” points towards a possible transformation in the relevance
of research in the field of Public Understanding of Science (PUS).
Further significant theoretical contributions in the field of Transdisciplinarity are
made by Cilliers (1998) who posed that in Transdisciplinarity we face two distinct
epistemological issues – complicated systems (eg. computers) and complexity (eg.
the brain) where, as a result of self-organisation, we encounter emergent properties.
Understanding the significant differentiation between the offering of science
(complexity) and the application of technology (complicated) within society(s) could
lead to a strategic interrogation of the intellectual role of communicating science.
This paper will discuss the theoretical contribution of Transdisciplinarity as far as it
provides an exiting challenge for researchers in the field of Public Understanding
of Science (PUS) to re-think the conceptual foundation of their work. Efforts
by researchers in the field of PUS to move beyond treating society as statistical
aggregates have recently accentuated the need for the development of a more
theoretical understanding in this field of research. Issues ranging from methodological
challenges posed by the complexities of evaluating large-scale survey-based scientific
collaborations to recent acknowledgement of the role played by a society’s worldview
in their interaction with science could be addressed by considering some of the ideas
introduced by Transdisciplinarity.
Wiebke Ebeling ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO),
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Perth, Australia,
Matthew Bailes ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), Centre
for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia,
Steven Tingay ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), Centre
for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Gazing up at the sky and learning about stars and the universe has always sparked
the peoples interest and imagination. Fortunately therefore, astronomy is well placed
to champion outreach efforts aimed at raising public awareness of science more
generally, as well as engaging young people in considering a career in physics, maths,
ICT or engineering more specifically.
While this opportunity is widely acknowledged, astronomy activities have traditionally
focused on public lectures, school visits or observatory tours, thereby reaching out
to relatively small audiences of interested people. To increase the return on these
efforts, we look to communicate science both to more people and to people of a
more diverse educational background. Hence, the discoverability and connectivity
associated with Social Media appear as new powerful channels to exploit. Besides the
challenge of maintaining an active and interactive Social Media presence, however,
we are faced with trading off communicating our science in all quality, honesty and
beauty on the one hand and responding to the volatile and sometimes muckraking
nature of Social Media attention on the other.
We present here a case study of astronomical research published in Science that
attracted a huge amount of media coverage with a discovery commonly dubbed
“the Diamond Planet”. The journal’s high profile, multiple press releases by the 18
international authors affiliated institutes, and posting to Facebook and Twitter clearly
contributed to the success in publicising the work by Bailes et al. In addition, we
produced a short voiced-over animation movie that was viewed 140,000 times in the
first 24 hours and has since generated hundreds of spin-off clips on YouTube.
Pleased with this new dimension of exposure, we realised two important, interlinked
issues though emerging from the use of Social Media for communicating our science.
Firstly, our usual monitoring mechanisms proved not sufficient to track distribution
of “the Diamond Planet” in the vast networks of private websites such that we had
to supplement with special search engines. Secondly, the story was discussed by so
many users of blogs and forums that the actual scientific message often ended up
being twisted or dropped altogether.
Months after its publication, “the Diamond Planet” remains a common reference
in the media, but few will associate it with the key result summarised by Professor
Matthew Bailes: it “fills a gap in the binary pulsar family”.
Siân Ede Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, author of ‘Art & Science’
The Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists’ Residency Programme was initiated by the
Gulbenkian FoundationҒs UK Branch and the London-based Galapagos Conservation
Trust, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London. It involved the
Charles Darwin Research Foundation on Santa Cruz, a base for resident and visiting
research scientists . Twelve leading international artists were selected to undertake
residencies on the islands. The purpose was to find unusual ways of highlighting the
complex issues that relate to the Ecuadorian-owned Galapagos archipelago. Galapagos
is a double World Heritage Site, because of its links to Darwin’s development of the
theory of evolution and as the only oceanic archipelago that still retains 95% of
its original biodiversity. It is perpetually endangered, from a combination of overexploitation and the need to control introduced species, presenting an ecological
microcosm where environmental, scientific, social, political and economic interests
The artists were chosen for their refreshing approach to cultural, social and scientific
challenges, while still retaining their integrity in the artworld. They engaged with the
islands on their own terms, mixing with both the local and scientific communities,
and made new work in a variety of media. The programme has culminated in a
touring exhibition in 2012/13 at 3 mainstream art galleries, Liverpool, Edinburgh and
Lisbon, with education programmes at each. There is a trilingual publication (English,
Portuguese, Spanish) with a keynote essay by the distinguished palaeontologist
Richard Fortey, and an interactive website.
Examples of the artists’ interests include: the valuing of indigenous plants; the
oddity of animal and human habitats, including a tv programme with local people
much applauded by the scientists for its communication value; drawings of strange
creatures for new children’s books; the ethics of human attitudes to animals, with a
particular interest in local cock-fighting; barnacles and badgers, with refs to current
plans for badger culling in the UK; the sounds of sharks culminating in a new music
piece; vulcanology and colour in nature and culture.
The presentation will be given by Siân Ede, author of ‘Art & Science ‘ (I B Tauris, 2005,
2nd edn 2008). Siân has been a keynote speaker at 3 previous PCST conferences .
Jenny Eklöf Umeå University
Environmental policies have been enacted world-wide to promote a swift transition
from fossil fuels to biofuels in the transport sector. Since 2007, a media controversy
over the sustainability of biofuels – be it environmental, social or economic – has put
pressure on science to reduce uncertainty by providing sober policy-advice to decisionmaking institutions as well as informing the public. These calls for increased expert
involvement demonstrate a faith in the supposed neutrality of expert analysis. At the
same time, much scholarly work has highlighted the increasingly blurred boundaries
between policy-making, science and industry, as well as changed communicational
strategies following in its wake. Not only do scientific understandings change as they
are conformed to medias news value criteria, they are already the result of strategic
considerations as they “leave the ivory tower”, so to speak.
Search engines, Google in particular, are also very important filters that shape the
public understanding of biofuels. Google’s way of sorting and ranking information is
shaped by its PageRank algorithm that uses the number and quality of links a website
gets to evaluate its value. Depending on how much resources website providers have,
they can optimize their sites to fit the PageRank logic. Google also profiles users’
habits and interests, making it possible to target ads based on users “search terms”.
Users get services for free, while “paying” with their data. This, among other things,
calls into question search engine’s roles of what we commonly think of as neutral
tools for information provision.
This paper is based on a comparative study of how biofuels have been presented in
the Swedish press and in Google’s search results, over a period of 6 months. It surveys
who the dominant actors have been (and probably still is), with a special focus on
expertise and experts, looks at the links one can discern between different websites
(Using digital method Issue Crawler), and traces press material back to press releases,
when possible.
The study poses a reflexive challenge: how to communicate that the conditions
shaping the content, form and style of science communication is an integrated part
of what is relevant to know about a specific science based topic. If we could manage
that, the quality of science journalism would improve dramatically.
Giulia Dal Bò Eurac research, Bettina Oppermann, Leibniz Universität Hannover
EURAC scientific communication European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen (EURAC)
Many research institutes spend a great deal of human and financial resources
to strengthen the professionalism of their public communication. The in-house
departments they build up do much more than public relations work. With creativity
and journalistic aplomb, they develop innovative and interactive formats: science
cafés, videos, schoollabs, etc.
The objectives may vary according to the area of research, the social environment
and reputation of an institute. In general, it is intended to encourage the public’s
esteem for research. But an in-house department also has to promote the institute
itself. Not only results and benefits of research must be clarified, it should also be
communicated that critical debate is desirable. This involves a special challenge:
encouraging criticism could be perceived as being disloyal.
But how effective are the efforts? How do scientists, how does the public benefit?
What is the relationship between communication of content and marketing?
Questions cry out for evaluation. This, however, is not always that easy, given the
variety of formats and functions. If the objective is marketing of the institution, then
indicators can be identified; if the scientific teaching of society is targeted, then it
seems that evaluation can only be based on appropriate questions and discourse.
These challenges, along with possible responses, will be discussed in the session. Two
approaches initiated at EURAC will be presented:
The first looks at the impacts of institutional science communication by analysing
the structure and objectives of an institute and its communication in the context
of its social environment. It has been proposed that first steps to optimise EURAC’s
science communication could be achieved by surveying the insider’s view: thus
EURAC communicators, managers and scientists were interviewed to obtain an
overview of the current system for evaluating audience impact, and provide further
recommendations (Paper: “Science communication without a sounding board?
Approaching the evaluation of EURAC science communication”, Prof. Dr. Bettina
Oppermann, Leibniz Universität Hannover).
The second approach takes a look at the concrete outputs of one specific format:
the EURAC Science Café. An audience survey has been developed and implemented
to shed light on the public’s experience (Paper: “Could applied research become
tangible? First results of a survey conducted on the EURAC science café”, Giulia Dal
Bò, EURAC research).
Declan Fahy American University
In The Visible Scientists (1977), Rae Goodall examined how a group of scientists,
including astronomer Carl Sagan and anthropologist Margaret Mead, came to cultural
prominence in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. These researchers, Goodall
argued, used new communications media to advocate directly to lay audiences on
science-policy issues, appealing to journalists because they had several “mediaorientated” characteristics. They had a “hot” research topic, were controversial and
articulate, had a “colorful” image and had established a credible reputation within
science, yet were criticized for having too much media exposure and public credibility.
This paper builds on Goodalls concept of the visible scientist by outlining a three-part
conceptual framework for analyzing scientists as celebrities and public intellectuals,
a framework that captures much of the best analysis from scholarship that has not
otherwise been connected. Part one includes definitions and concepts drawn from
celebrity studies, including the view that inside an intensified celebrity culture, ideas
have been increasingly refracted though mediated personalities. Part two centers on
approaches from intellectual history, particularly studies of the public intellectual, a
specialist who communicates to various non-specialist audiences. Part three features
the cultural functions of science popularization and notions of the “public scientist”,
who speaks in public on behalf of, often in defense of, scientific values.
This framework identifies several core characteristics of publicly prominent scientists:
they are represented as stars whose public and private lives have merged in their
portrayals; they are tradable cultural commodities; they are represented as the
embodiment of various aspects of science and are constructed around discourses of
truth; they are public emissaries of the cultural authority of science; they are portrayed
as figures whose public status is greater than their scientific status; and they have
established their cultural authority outside the formal channels of communication.
In an environment where the medialization of science has become an emerging area
of research interest, this framework is proposed as a means of structuring future
analysis of scientists in public.
Helen Featherstone University of the West of England, Bristol, Hannah Hope British
Society for Immunology, Alice Bell Imperial College, London
When people get together to make knitted neurons, a crocheted coral reef or knit a
foamy macrophage are they simply indulging in a personal hobby or engaging with
the underlying science? There is no doubt that online and real-world communities
form around hobbies: look at the Hackspaces, Stitch n Bitch and Ravelry communities
for evidence. While some argue that the act of making makes us happy (Gauntlett)
others (Sennett) argue that the act of making can be frustrating and time consuming
which suggests that the sense of community that emerges around these different
crafts is an important motivator for participation.
There appears to be an emerging trend in the science communication arena which
taps into this sense of community. Crafting activities that incorporate maths and
science have been adopted and co-opted by those wishing to engage the public with
science. By putting the science at the heart of the crafting communities amazing
pieces of work have been created and the journey of co-production has resulted in
deeply personal engagement between the science and craft communities.
But what’s really going on? Is engagement happening, is the integrity of the science
maintained, what motivates researchers and crafters to participate? Join in this
practical session to discuss several projects where science and maths have found
themselves at the heart of worldwide making phenomena. Knit a Neuron brought
neuroscientists and crafters together, while The Big Knit: MS did something similar for
Multiple Sclerosis. Materials will be provided, but feel free to bring along your own or
just come along for the discussion.
Luisa Filipponi Scientific Consultant to ORT, MOSHINSKY R&D CENTER, TEL AVIV,
ISRAEL, Katharina Handler Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (ZSI), Wien, Austria
Nanotechnology is a powerful enabling technology that has the potential to greatly
improve the properties and performance of numerous materials, such as batteries,
solar panels and water filters, and enable among others the design of novel drugs
and medical treatments. The interest in nanotechnologies is therefore growing
rapidly, both in academia and in industry, and many commercial products enabled
by nanotechnologies exist and some novel medical treatments have reached the
clinical stage. Concurrently, in the last years, some voices of concern and questions
regarding the safety of nanotechnology were raised, urging the scientific community
and regulatory bodies to consider both the safety and the ethical, legal and social
aspects (ELSA) of nanotechnologies. At the same time, the importance of taking
public concerns seriously was highlighted, recommending public engagement and
participatory debates to address these concerns. As a consequence, research into the
safety, ethical, legal and societal implications of nanotechnologies is now encouraged
as well as communication and outreach activities to disseminate scientific knowledge
on nanotechnologies, and to engage the public (including youth) in participatory
activities addressing ELSA topics.
During the last five years, various projects (among which NANODIALOGUE, NANOYOU,
TIMEFORNANO, NANOTOTOUCH) have explored different communication methods
and venues to encourage this debate, such as focus groups, museum exhibitions,
school debates, video contests, “nano-days” and more. Although very successful,
these projects have highlighted the need for a communication strategy able to reach
and engage the “hard-to-reach public”, as well as providing opportunities for on-going
dialogue among different stakeholders. To address this need, a new European project
was launched in 2011, called NANOCHANNELS, which is a unique public experiment
of democratic dialogue with students and stakeholders, such as the industry, NGOs,
consumers and the general public, at the forefront. The project includes a variety
of social interactions, like public roundtables; live school debates; a range of expert
opinion blogs; debates within radio programs; online social networking (Facebook,
Twitter); and talkback via online press microsites. This presentation will introduce the
project and will provide preliminary evaluation results carried out by partner ZSI on
the effectiveness of the communication channels chosen in NANOCHANNELS.
Corrado Finardi University of Parma
The food governance (in its widest meaning and inclusive of safety governance,
security governance, market regulations, trade agreements, food prices etc) albeit
meliorated along last centuries, still presents a number of shortfalls that consent the
coexistence of malnutrition and obesity; around 25.000 deaths each year for zoonotic
agents in Europe only – as well as the recursive presence of food scares (dioxin and
E. Coli in Germany being the last ones), or wider mismanagements, both at the
collective action and individual practice levels. Even if clearly the food never has been
safer and so abundant, there is still a plenty of paradoxes and irrational aspects which
often spill over into the public sphere, sometime magnified by our food environments
and media channeling. The resulting sense of scandal in such cases is great: mainly
because food has its own inherent physiologic rationality, linked to the most basic
human need and pragmatic solution implied. Not by chance the ideal food dose for
a meal was called the “ratio”. The scope of the presentation is to stress, departing
from case-studies analysis, how when talking about food the idea of rationality
seems implicitly to take the stage: and the underlying concept of “nature” (evolving
or stationary), even if evoked, does not add clarity, since it is linked to a progressing
scientific environment in the life sciences.
Clara Florensa CEHIC (Centre d’História de la Ciéncia - UAB) and UABDivulga
Communicating science is a complex issue and historical examples can help us analyze,
with perspective, how it takes place: the roles of communicators and receptors and
their epistemological activity, the directionality of the circulation of knowledge
and the reception or appropriation of this knowledge are key concepts in science
communication that emerge in every case study of new knowledge being “imported”
from center (where the knowledge is “created”) to periphery. The reception of
Darwinism in Spain is a good example: far from being a simple transmission of a
scientific aseptic knowledge, evolutionary theory is adopted by some segments of
the society and used both as a symbol for their own ideals and as instrument to
back a host of often very different arguments. Such a process of communication is
ongoing and hardly ever “finished”: the theory in question can be used for different
propagandistic purposes when the political and social environment changes. This
paper analyses the treatment in the communication of evolutionary theory in La
Vanguardia, one of the oldest and most widely read newspapers in Spain, from 1939
to 1978, period (that corresponds exactly with Franco’s regime and the political
transition thereafter) when the paper changed its name into La Vanguardia Española.
Darwinism was seen as a dangerous knowledge that should be managed carefully
while Neo-Darwinism, characterized by a genetic “more scientific” jargon, might have
benefitted from a phase of openness of the dictatorship, eager to develop a discourse
of modernity and opening to outside, using the press and science communication in
a propagandistic effort.
Martina Franzen Institute for Science and Technology Studies (IWT) University of
Bielefeld, Germany, Simone Rödder Institute for Science and Technology Studies
(IWT) University of Bielefeld, Germany
The relationship between science and the mass media has attracted the attention of
sociologists of science and communication scholars alike. Given the importance of
the mass media in framing public opinion in every part of society, media attention can
be seen as crucial for science’s public support. In times of a presumptive tightening of
the sciences’ media connection, the question arises if not only the media coverage of
science is on the rise but also if science in turn orients itself towards the rationalities
of the mass media. This process of mutual influences and dependencies between
science and the mass media has been termed “medialization”1. We assume, however,
that it is not the sphere of science as such that experiences media-related change but
that resonance can be observed in certain disciplines only under specific structural
By comparing mathematics, molecular biology and contemporary history, we
investigate the implications of medialization in three disciplines that differ in the
amount of news coverage as well as in their production and presentation modes of
knowledge. The central question is on which levels structural change towards mass
media-related criteria of relevance can be located: as alteration of the professional
role of scientists? As organizational responses? Or in scholarly communication, by
anticipating mass media-related criteria in the presentation of scientific knowledge?2
In this paper we focus on the presentation modes of scientific findings. A quantitative
and qualitative content analysis of historical, mathematical and molecular biological
findings covered by the German press informs about the dissemination processes and
structural characteristics of medialized papers. In combination with interview data
from scientists, press officers of research institutes and journal editors this allows to
explore the media impact on science for different disciplines.
The paper is based on the research project “The Production and Presentation of
Scientific Knowledge under the Conditions of Medialization” funded by the German
Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the framework of the funding initiative
“New Governance of Science – Research on the Relationship of Science, Policy and
Julia Gantenberg University of Bremen, Germany
Since 2006, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has explicitly demanded science
communication activities in DFG funded research programs, i.e. scientists need to
be aware of the importance to communicate their research to the public. There is,
however, no scientific evaluation of this requirement today. I examine the status quo
of Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) in such programs with
respect to the following questions: If and to what extent are scientists aware of the
increasing need to get involved in science communication? How is this awareness
implemented in their everyday work? Do scientists feel responsible for communicating
science to the public? Which factors are important for successful PCST activities of
My approach is a qualitative empirical case study. It is a comparison of three DFG
funded Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs). In this unique model of collective
research around 70 scientists from different scientific disciplines are working on one
topic funded for a maximum period of twelve years. The three selected CRCs belong
to different fields of research with different immediate relevance to the public:
cognitive science, engineering, and political science.
In my analysis, I focus on scientists as actors of the PCST process. Interviews with
junior and senior researchers from different scientific disciplines working in these
three CRCs show that many scientists still seem to not consider PCST activities as
one of their “main duties” (which they see in doing research, publishing, obtaining
research grants), but rather as a part of a scientist’s “soft skills”. But if PCST activities
are established in a research group and there is a person responsible for it that
has the expertise to do so, he or she can motivate his/her colleagues to take part –
Irrespective of the scientific discipline.
My conclusion is that public engagement of scientists does not solely depend on
their scientific discipline but rather on the scientists’ personal attitude towards
PCST. It is the interplay of three factors that is important for successful and lasting
public engagement of scientists: the personal attitude of the scientists, the general
establishment of PCST activities in the respective research group, and – with lower
impact – the scientific field.
Miguel Garcia-Guerrero Grupo Quark, Science Museum, Universidad Autonoma de
Zacatecas, Bertha Michel-Sandoval Grupo Quark, Science Museum, Universidad
Autonoma de Zacatecas, Edgar Ramos-Rambaud Grupo Quark, Science Museum,
Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Antonio Villarreal-Alvarez Grupo Quark,
Science Museum, Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas
As much as science and technology popularization has grown over the last 50 years, it
still has long ways to go in terms of spreading the development of a scientific culture.
We have to increase the offer and diversity of activities in order to reach increasingly
larger segments of the public.
For this to happen, Science centers must establish an effective training strategy for
popularizers, whether they intend to collaborate for a brief time or want to commit
long term. Most institutions wants to achieve a high level of professionalization in
their collaborators in science communication but there are a lot of people doing
important contributions without intending to make a career out of it.
From our experience over the last 16 years, it is useful to start with a recreational
perspective; attracting volunteers that enjoy science activities and would be
interested in getting involved in popularization helping develop activities such as
visits to museums, lectures, workshops, science clubs and festivals.
The initial training contemplates an eight week program and continues with six
months of supervised work. Our first goal is to provide every person with the tools
to start working on popularization activities, both from the methodological and the
scientific knowledge point of view. But also the program intends to detect people
with higher abilities and/or interests in science communication. We want to start
with a large group of recreational volunteers, detect the better and more committed
ones within them, and find those adequate to assume a bigger role.
Then those selected and interested proceed to a deeper training, one intended
to develop high performance popularizers in our young squads. For this we have
created a wide variety of courses -that usually take place during winter and summer
vacations- directed towards improving their capabilities in different areas related to
science popularization.
The final step in our strategy, so far, considers an university qualifying course on
popularization, with a total duration of 200 hours; it uses different lectures, courses
and workshops to help people involved perform as professionals in their different
actions as science communicators. This course has shown interesting results and the
potential to grow in different stages: first as a new element in the curricula of science
and technology undergraduate schools and later as an option for graduate school
students; a masters degree in science popularization.
Paolo Giardullo Università degli Studi di Urbino “Carlo Bo”
Which actor or institution defines risk representation on the media? Analysing alarm
cases on the media could give an answer to this question. These events have generally
political and economic consequences but moreover can start public debates who
involve heterogeneous actors. For this reason alarm cases give to researchers the
possibility to investigate actors role in a precarious situation: when there is not a
sudden and common definition of the alarm, analysing the media could allow science
communication researcher to understand experts’ role in the public media sphere. In
particular it is really interesting to consider actors’ starting positions and their eventual
changes of trajectory when alarms drive them in a public debate. By adopting Science
in the Media Monitor (SMM) tool apparatus, an Observa-Science in Society research
tool, in this paper at least two cases on Italian daily press will be analysed (2009
Pandemic and 2011 Germany Escherichia coli outbreak). Furthermore, adopting SMM
instruments, I will be able to pick out (a) news media coverage trends in time, (b)
communication model and (c) actors interactions. Talking about interactions, experts
are even more facing a complex reality where other kinds of actors want to state
their specific concerns and motion. This concrete situation doesn’t allow them to
avoid public contention. Since the BSE case in 1996, we have learned that alarms, and
specially health crisis, implicate actors with economic interest or particular categories
that fear to be hit by (or to be excluded from) the decision process by experts measures
to manage the risk. By this way is not unusual that these lay categories of actors try to
gain access to the media to express and to defend their specific concerns. In order to
find evidences to understand these new dynamics of public media sphere, the three
main aspects listed above will be compared in the selected cases.
Ana Godinho Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciéncia, Portugal, Marta Agostinho Instituto
de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal,
Paulo Mota Museu da Ciéncia, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal & CIBIO, Portugal,
Sónia Pereira Universidade do Porto, Universidade do Porto Inovação, Portugal, Filipe
Pires Centro de Astrofísica, Universidade do Porto, Portugal, Ana Sanchez Instituto de
Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (ITQB-UNL), Portugal,
Júlio Santos IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto,
The ‘science fair’ and ‘spectacular science’ approaches largely prevail in public
science communication events. As key players in communicating research to the
public, scientists often take part in these events, as one-off speakers or ‘entertainers’
for hands-on experiments. This paper presents the outcomes and findings of two
projects that move away from the ‘science fair’ model of science communication into
more reflective approaches, for participating scientists and the public.
SettingTheStage (2009 and 2010) used the medium of theatre to engage scientists
and the public in the reality of being a scientist. Both projects were organised for
Researchers’ Night, an annual Europe-wide initiative, funded by the European
Fourteen theatre performances were developed and produced for the SettingTheStage
projects. A total of 108 scientists, from different research areas and at different
stages in their careers, committed several months to the performances, taking on
roles of authors, stage directors and actors. Rather than showcasing science, the
performances were designed to stimulate reflection, discussion and debate on topics
related to scientists and the impact of their research in society.
A questionnaire-based survey of the scientist-actors (44% response rate) revealed
that interest in theatre, the prospect of having fun and a new experience were the
main motivation for taking part. The majority of scientists had some prior experience
of science communication. Taking part elicited encouragement and praise from
colleagues and peers. Scientists and the public shared views that theatre increases
understanding of scientists’ work, raises awareness of the societal impact of science
and contributes to breaking down stereotypes of scientists. Rewards on personal and
professional levels were reported, as well as in improving and exploring new forms
of interaction with the public. The vast majority of scientists remain in research,
underscoring that only 2% of respondents reported interest in an alternative career
as a motivation factor.
Several of the performances have been repeated since Researchers’ Night, at the
request of theatres, community groups, science centres and research institutes.
Some projects have gained a life of their own, with new scientists taking part.
Indeed, a main aim of SettingTheStage was to produce tools and material that would
outlive Researchers’ Night, being incorporated into wider science communication
Karl Grandin Director, Professor Center for History of Science The Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences
The Nobel Prize is regarded as the epitome of Science Prizes, it has a unique standing
to which all other prizes have to compare and measure up to. To most people the
Nobel Prize is a black box, which operates from the Olympic Mountains to raise a
few individuals to Nobel Laureate class. In this paper I will not address this but look
into how the Nobel archives can be used as a resource in discussing scientific work,
scientific rewards and if that allows us to discuss these aspects of science in a better
For a long time the Nobel system was hidden in secrecy, due to the fact that the
awarders were private bodies and the statutes of the Nobel Foundation and the
awarding institutions prohibited any access. However, from the mid 1970s it has been
possible to do research in the Nobel archives of the awarding institutions after the
statutes were changed. Most historical research into the Nobel archives has been
performed into the archives of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which holds
the Nobel archives for physics and chemistry. The archives are open for scholarly
research after special application on material older than 50 years. From the beginning
a lot of people hoped this material to hold answers to a lot of questions. Still this
material leaves many questions unanswered. The minutes do not hold any discussions
only the decisions, but it holds extensive nomination data as well as interesting and
crucial evaluation reports. Especially the latter material is of great interest, also the
general reports.
The talk will give a quick overview of how the Nobel system operates, but its main
purpose is to ask a few questions. What kinds of research questions have been
addressed by using this material in more than 35 years that this particular material
has been possible to research? Have this research influenced the way science is
presented to the general public? And what can we expect from this historical resource
in the future?
Martina Gröschl University of Klagenfurt and Austrian Academy of Sciences
“Why are numbers beautiful? It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
beautiful. If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you. I know numbers are beautiful.
If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.” (Paul Erdõs)
Many mathematicians would say that one of the reasons for their fascination for
mathematics is its beauty. G.H. Hardy writes in his book “A Mathematician Apology”
(1940): “Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly
mathematics”. For Hardy being a mathematician is in first place being an artist.
However, this is certainly not what most non-mathematicians think of the subject:
their view is coined by a bad attitude towards mathematics resulting from bad school
teaching. In a nutshell, mathematics to them is in first place a technical process and
has nothing to do with beauty.
According to Paul Erdõs, the beauty of mathematics does not seem to be accessible
to everyone. He argues that everybody has to “see” it on his or her own. In my paper
I want to argue the contrary and want to draw on attempts to bridge this gap. Authors
of popular science books on mathematics try to give an insight into the manifold
connections between mathematics and beauty and even more between mathematics
and culture by referring to the close relationship between mathematics and art.
How do they approach the topic? What are the typical examples they work with?
Which strategies do they apply to succeed? In my paper I will look into some examples
of how authors of popular science books on mathematics succeed in communicating
the beauty of mathematics and the relatedness of mathematics with art and culture
and thus drawing a picture of mathematics as an important part of human culture.
Raphael Hammer School of Health Sciences, Institute of Health Research, Switzerland
Mass media is one the major sources of public information about scientific issues,
especially for transplantation medicine which remains a topic distant from general
public everyday experience. In particular, post mortem organ donation is highly
charged with emotions and ethical issues regarding death, body and sense of self. In
such a context, we might expect media coverage of organ donation and transplantation
to be characterized by debate and by a pluralization of actors. Such a contextualized
model of communication would result in challenging scientific and health official
discourses. Based on this analytical background, this proposal addresses media
representation of organ transplantation through a content analysis of newspapers.
Data come from a corpus of 376 articles dealing with issues of organ donation and
human transplantation, which are taken from the Swiss French-speaking general
press, including three daily papers and two weekly magazines, covering a period of
ten years (1998-2007). Examining the main contents of the articles, the framing of
organ shortage, as well as the actors most represented in the corpus, analysis reveals
that the media coverage is highly dependent on news and particular events, and that
media messages convey for the most part transplant community’s representations
and discourses on organ donation. As a result, print media content is characterized
by a marked pro-donation orientation, where controversial aspects and plurality of
perspectives are little present. Thus, press coverage of organ donation cannot be
regarded as an instance of a contextualized model of communication. At a more
general level, our findings raise more broadly the issue as to how organ transplantation
is constituted as a public problem. In this regard, especially in the context of organ
shortage, the question also arises as to which model of public communication is likely
to heighten public awareness of organ donation. Instead of spreading consensual and
normative messages about organ donation, it is worth considering whether public
information should not promote open debate and personal reflection in order to help
citizens to form their own opinion on such a sensitive topic.
Torsten Heinemann Department of Social Sciences, Goethe University
The field of neuroscience has been one of the most prominent and active scientific
disciplines in science communication, in recent years. It almost seems to be a roll model
for science communication in the last decade. Research on the public communication
of neuroscience has been mostly focussing on the quality and standards of the
popularisation of scientific knowledge or the interpretation and understanding of
neuroscience by the public. The importance of science communication for the field of
neuroscience and its relevance for the raise and professionalization of the academic
discipline have long been neglected, though.
I will argue that the reason for the growing prominence of the brain and the
dominance of Neuroscience within the academy and beyond is based on the
neuroscience practice to consequently popularise scientific knowledge and make it
available to other scientific disciplines as well as to the public. Hence, I aim to analyse
this practice and to reveal its immanent dialectic structure. On the one hand science
communication is a major driver for the success of neuroscience. It allows other
disciplines to access the latest findings in Neuroscience fairly easy and adapt them
for their own theories. Additionally it enables Neuroscience to enter a productive
dialogue with other disciplines and profit from their knowledge. On the other hand,
the strong focus on the popularisation of scientific knowledge has a deep impact on
the process of knowledge creation within the laboratory itself. There is a tendency
to engage in research projects that are promising not with regards to the possible
scientific findings but with regards to their later popularisation and communication.
This trend is not limited to the selection of certain topics but also influences the way
research is conducted in the laboratory.
The argumentation is based on a documentary analysis as well as extensive field work
and interviews I have conducted in three neuroscience laboratories in New York, NY
and Frankfurt, Germany.
Per Hetland InterMedia, University of Oslo
One of the most serious shortcomings in science and technology communication
is the pro-innovation bias. The pro-innovation bias is the notion that an innovation
should be diffused and adopted by all members of a social system. And the innovation
should be diffused rapidly and should be neither re-invented nor rejected (Rogers,
2003). The pro-innovation bias was described by Rogers and Shoemaker already
in 1971 (Rogers & Shoemaker, 1971), but as Rogers state in 2003 “not enough has
been done to remedy the problem” (Rogers, 2003, p. 106). So still, in spite of the
fact that innovation is one of the most mentioned concepts in social science only a
small fraction of the research study undesirable consequences (Sveiby, Gripenberg,
Segercrantz, Eriksson, & Aminoff, 2009). Sveiby et al found that only 1 per 1000 of
innovation articles presented undesirable consequences. They suggest two main
reasons for this bias. The first “is that innovation research seems to be built on a
fundamental value that ‘innovation is good’” (p. 14). The second reason “for lack
of research on undesirable consequences in innovation research seems to be a
separation of discourses on desirable and undesirable consequences” (p. 14).
The pro-innovation bias is also prominent in science and technology communication.
In her classical work “Selling Science” Nelkin rises several crucial questions linked to the
pro-innovation bias, however not discussing it per se (Nelkin, 1995). Important aspects
that she discusses is the promotional bias in science and technology communication,
especially different public relation techniques and the problem that the media are
relying on corporate sources about new technology, the celebration of progress,
technological enthusiasm and optimism, in short the hype fascination, accompanied
by the fact that the public in general have attitudes that are overwhelmingly favorable
to science and technology, including the general believe in all kinds of technological
fix. The questions Nelkin discusses are still valid and important and I will therefore
in this paper look closer into two themes, 1) strategies for promoting innovations in
technology communication, and 2) technology communication as source driven as
well as enrolling support from other actors, using a case study of how Internet has
been communicated in the Norwegian press during the 1995-2006 period.
References will be given on request.
Jörg Hilpert Dialogik non-profit institute for communication and cooperation
research, Ludger Benighaus Dialogik non-profit institute for communication and
cooperation research, Oliver Scheel Dialogik non-profit institute for communication
and cooperation research
The disputes over nuclear energy, Stuttgart 21 (rebuilding of Stuttgart’s main station
to an underground through station), radioactive waste, green genetic engineering
and nanotechnology show that innovative technology developments are increasingly
ex-posed to an “acceptance test” in the public. This test may delay or even prevent
a development, but it may also indicate possible failures and induce corrective
Fusion technology to generate electricity has being developed for several decades,
but a commercial breakthrough is to be expected only in another few decades.
However, it is already controversial whether the high investment required for further
R&D work is justified or not.
On behalf of the Max Planck Institute DIALOGIK conducted four focus group exercises
with lay persons, students with background in technology and journalists.
It aimed at the perception of fusion power among various target groups. In total, 41
people participated in the four focus groups. They discussed in depth their opinion,
pros and cons of the energy source compared to others, information and participation
The study shall also identify emerging patterns of perception and develop on this
basis the main features of an effective risk communication program.
On the basis of the research results the project team produced a plan showing how
to carry out dialogues constructively and effectively in the future. The plan comprise
possible ways to include communication and information services in future processes
of fusion energy development as well as methods and procedures for implementing
this inclusion communicatively in an effective and efficient manner.
This presentation will first focus on the conduction of the focus groups and the
opinions of the participants. Second, the author will show how to carry out dialogues
of fusion energy development constructively and effectively in the future.
Junping Hu China Research Institute for Science Popularization
The organizers are one of the key factors that determine the effect of a science
communication activity. They play an important role in the whole process including
the period of communication strategy design, venue practice, et al. Since 2007, the
evaluation of the organizers for Chinese typical science communication activities
such as the National Science Communication Day and Beijing Science Week has been
carried out by our group. It is expected to find out the advantage and disadvantage
in holding such large scale science communication activities from the perspective of
the organizers. Certainly, the results should be understood together with the other
perspective evaluation such as the public and experts’ perspective, which could be
much more objective. The utilized investigation methods include questionnaire,
interview and observation. There would be some minor changes in different year’s
evaluation. The items of the questionnaire record the characteristic of continuity and
progress, and the statistical results show some interesting issues. Combined with
the interview, the organizers’ choices could be better understood. By this study, the
organizers’ quality could be reflected to some extent, and the public’s behavior in the
activity is presented from the organizers’ point of view . The enlightenment from the
study is beneficial for the following years’ practice in future.
Chun-Ju Huang National Chung Cheng University, General Education Center
Science news is a major resource to help the public understand new scientific
knowledge. The latest technology development and research primarily utilizes English
as the communication language in academic journals and scientific communities.
Compiled science news therefore has become a major agent for many non-western
societies to understand latest technology developments.
In Taiwan, for example, being a non-western society, the acquisition of new scientific
knowledge often depends on foreign sources. Nonetheless, with the limitations within
the infra-structure of the entire news industry, it is rather difficult to compile highquality science news. First, journalists and editors often lack scientific background
to produce science news accurately and precisely. Second, news compilation staff
seldom read the original scientific reports and they usually report the news solely
from western media’s second hand reports.
Based on this background, the study aims to investigate the changes in the scientific
contents and meanings during that compiling process. We selected compiled science
news from September 2009 to August 2010 in four major newspapers in Taiwan as
research samples. In order to compare the message flow more precisely, the selected
news must be traceable to find the quoted source or research. A total of 131 pieces
of compiled science news were collected for analysis.
The results revealed two obvious gaps among compiling processes. The first gap was
that the western media amended some meanings in the original scientific research
in order to please the readers’ preferences. Such amendment included designing an
amiable or attractive heading, purposely ignoring complicated research processes,
and paying much more emphasis on the relationship between the research results
and everyday lives. The second gap between western media reports and compiled
news in Taiwan also was obvious. This was because most of the compilers deal with
science news directly from the western media’s reports, and seldom go back to the
original scientific research. In order to cater to Taiwanese readers, the headings
therefore were twisted to be much more sensational and untrue.
Assuming that the distortion between the original research and the western media
reports was the first media disaster for science news, the compiled science news in
Taiwan undoubtedly produced the double media disaster. Such situations could also
be a common problem for other non-western societies.
Marie-Nathalie Jauffret-Cervetti International University of Monaco (IUM)
The wonderful world of aesthetic affects many people – at some point in their lives,
in front of the magic mirror, they are waiting for the answer to the question: “Mirror,
mirror of ebony, tell me, tell me...” revealed by the Brothers Grimm, unless they have
been heard, admired and possessed the most beautiful things, made the best action...
From the depths of time, beauty sublimes the world. Beauty can sublime objects,
human beings and sciences. It is undoubtedly because of this quality that it is perceived
and it is judged. Many people criticize it, order, control or shape it. Some people build
it or acquire it under art forms (visual arts, architecture...), others expose its aesthetic
arts’ aspect (Museums, sets...) while some urge the beauty to own their bodies with
aesthetic development of science (surgery,..).
Then, if the abstract notion of beauty covers many areas, for which (s) reason (s)
wouldn’t the issue of aesthetics beauty emerge in the scientific communication?
This aporia can still be asked: can scientific communication be aesthetic, beautiful?
Through various professional communications experiences, we’ll first project
ourselves into the world of beauty with the history of philosophy and Plato for which
beauty is inseparable from the quality. We will also pay tribute to Kant and Hegel to
the concepts of freedom and truth without which Beauty is not. Then, we’ll discover
how Burke includes the concept of pleasure in aesthetic.
In light of these thinkers, we’ll finally know the answer to the main question: “Mirror,
mirror, I am a scientific communication. Quality, honesty and beauty are my goals.
Can I be truly beautiful? Am I aesthetic?...”
Blanka Jergović Croatian Radio and University of Zagreb
Science communication in Croatia is still immersed in the deficit perspective and
the media are in the view of scientists to be blamed for it. They are discontent with
the quantity of media coverage of science, with what media perceive as a science
story and the way in which they present it. Media science is, they usually complain,
simplified and the information is not precise and complete, particularly information
about scientific method. But is it really the case? How and what kind of science is
published in the Croatian media? Is science an interesting media topic at all? Is the
media coverage of science in the declining phase? Is the coverage of S&T sensational,
biased and non-objective? Even when it is a topic of scientific discussion or conference,
media coverage of science in Croatia is often based on anecdotal impressions. To
answer those questions properly we usually lack systematic experimental evidence
and approach.
In the attempt to analyze the current media coverage of science, I will use the results
of a study of five main Croatian daily newspapers and their coverage of science over
the period of two years, from 2009 until 2010. In order to understand the context and
the nature of the daily newspaper’s coverage of science in Croatia, I will present the
main characteristic of the media landscape, with particular regard to the transition in
the media ownership after the political changes in 1990-ties until nowadays. Methods
of content analysis, comparative analysis, case study and descriptive statistics will be
Some of the conclusions are the following: the media coverage of science is slightly
intensified and the number of published science stories is increasing in the analyzed
period. Sensationalism is not so often present (in terms of a mismatch between title,
subtitle and pictures and the content), but media use hype in their coverage of science
in order to achieve better prominence of the story or attract the readers’ attention.
Science is mainly perceived as important per se or as entertainment, and the majority
of science stories are published within respective pages or sections (e.g. “Science”,
“University”, “Life”, “Entertainment”, etc.). There is an overall positive attitude
towards science and technology nevertheless they are still treated as expenditures
and not as a long-term investments. Their social value of S&T is undermined.
Peter Kastberg, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Aarhus University, Business and Social
Sciences, Department of Business Communication, Denmark
To many the compound science theater is a contradiction in terms, or – as science
journalist Williams has aptly put it – “[a]rt and science, conventional wisdom goes,
are two mutually exclusive disciplines that rarely exist in the same sentence, much
less converge on a theater stage”1. But even if theater and science have been living
separate lives (at least since the European Enlightenment) it seems that they may
have found not only a place to meet but indeed also a place to interact.
Science theater performances may take on many forms. They may be performed
by professional and drama-educated theater groups like the Danish “The Science
Theater”. Here fully scripted plays about, say, the health issues of stress are performed
at traditional theater stages. Or it may be university students demonstrating science
experiments at local high schools like the “Science Theater at Michigan State
University”. Here senior natural science students reenact the gist of famous scientific
experiments, e.g. the dynamic perception of sound according to the Doppler Effect,
the cohesive force of the vacuum generated in the Brandenburg Spheres. Or it may
take on the form of a collaborative learning project as in the Danish “MathTheater”.
Here a group of teachers and pedagogical consultants helped a class of 5th graders
to – quite literally – perform math. Different though they may be, the various kinds
of science theater all converge on a common idea, i.e. that science theater is a forum
well-suited for the mediation of science, a forum where dramaturgical means are
employed to communicate science for and with lay audiences.
This presentation introduces the phenomenon of science theater as a science
communication activity as well as a science communication research object. It points
to some of the core science mediational qualities of the science theater format
and presents a typology of science theater performances. Each type of science
theater performance is described, discussed and evaluated on the basis of core
science communication qualities. The presentation ends by reflecting on theoretical
impetuses for science communication research – both with regards to the science
theater as such but also more generally with regards to theoretical issues of science
communication research.
Williams, Joseph (2010) “When Art Meets Science,” The Boston Globe, April 2nd 2010.
Dorothe Kienhues Department of Psychology, University of Muenster, Germany,
Rainer Bromme Department of Psychology, University of Muenster, Germany
Scientific controversies are everyday routine in empirical sciences. Such controversies,
e.g. experts putting forward different views on one issue, are – in an epistemological
sense – argumentative approaches towards the best conclusion. Emotional “side
effects” of conflict can occur, but are not the dominant explanation for scientific
controversies. We assume that laypeople, who usually do not expect scientific
controversies, may struggle with finding a good explanation for scientific controversies
when the conflict displayed is (negatively) emotionally charged: Then the conflict
might appear to be interpersonal but not inherent to the topic.
In our empirical studies, we compare the impact of different versions of a newspaper
article about two experts controversially discussing the pros and cons of an anesthetic.
In detail, we explore the potential differential impact of reported affective behaviors
(experts who argue in an exited and rancorous way) on recipients’ evaluation of
scientific experts’ trustworthiness. Furthermore we assess recipients more general
notions about the variability and structure of scientific evidence. We assume that
an emphasis on the affective tone of the argumentation effectuates laypersons’
underestimations of the inherent and epistemic nature of scientific conflicts. Instead,
it enhances a folk psychology interpretation of such conflicts.
In study 1 (N = 42), we compared the impact of an article where the discussion of
the experts was displayed as neutral and fair with a contentious version (displaying
a rancorous debate). In a nutshell, results reveal that participants reading the
contentious article rated experts trustworthiness lower and perceived scientific
evidence to be generally less variable than participants reading the neutral article.
In study 2 (N = 44), we found that different explanations provided for the contentiousness
(comparing an emphasis on the topic-inherence of scientific controversies with an
emphasis on expertsҒ irascible and pejorative discussion behavior) alter the effects
found for the contentious article in study 1.
In study 3 (ongoing) we investigate whether results found so far are limited to
negatively-laden discourse and compare a positively charged discussion with a
neutral one.
We will discuss implications of our studies for laypeoples understanding of scientific
controversies and derive suggestions for communicating scientific uncertainty.
Hak-Soo Kim Professor of Communication, Sogang University
Engagement is the critical concept to enhancing communicative effectiveness.
However, it is often treated as a normative, pushy movement concept for scientific
literacy rather than a process of genuine behavior. Engagement is not easy to grasp
and obtain without conceptualizing its behavioral acts components, for example,
exposing, focusing attention, questioning, cognizing, and so on. On the other hand, it
is argued that traditional, content-focused communication has been over-emphasized
for effects studies. This study tests how further engagement obtains by a different
sequence of those exposing, focusing attention, questioning and cognizing acts with
regard to food poisoning and its scientific solution, food irradiation. Now a rigorous
experiment is under operation. We will report the results and demonstrate how
much critical those different acts-sequences with the same content are to enhancing
engagement with food poisoning and food irradiation and constructing their possible
outcomes, that is, impressions of food poisoning and food irradiation.
Andrea Kiraly Eötvös University, Budapest
In 2011 on the twelfth of September a minor industrial accident happened in a French
nuclear waste disposal facility. Barely half a year after the tragedy at Fukushima,
the event understandably evoked a considerable attention. The first message was
only a few sentences long, it announced the accident, but did not reveal any details
on the circumstances, nevertheless it drew attention to the possible dangers. This
short announcement have been adopted from the French media by the press
worldwide including the Hungarian news portals. However, while on the French web
(and following it, all over the world) soon after a more detailed announcement was
made, along with the authorities’ reassuring announcement on the lack of radiation
danger and radioactive leak, the Hungarian news portals still presented only the first,
disconcerting news for hours. When more detailed information became available, it
was far from satisfactory. The articles that appeared on the various news portals were
teeming with elementary translation faults, misuses of technical terms like mixing
up the concepts of “nuclear reactor”, “nuclear power plant”, “nuclear facility”, the
merging of chemical and nuclear explosions, uncalled-for provocations of the public
opinion and shady political indications. On the next day the news were updated,
augmented with the more or less accurate translations of publications from the press
worldwide, but the earlier, mistranslated, poorly worded or otherwise misguiding
parts remained in the texts. After the further update on the contents of the portals, the
entire communicational fiasco could be reconstructed with a bit of “archaeological”
work, the analysis of previous news versions, titles and links. Since Hungary is in
the path of the winds coming from the direction of France, a serious panic could
have followed the fake news about the released radioactive cloud. This case keenly
highlights the questions regarding the professional skills and responsibility of those
working in the field of public information.
Alexandra Klimek NTNU - Department of interdisciplinary studies of culture/ CenSES
Who is communicating carbon capture, transport and storage (CCS) in Norway? This
article is an analysis of the Norwegian newspaper landscape regarding the medialization
of carbon capture, transport and storage. Mass communication is essential to achieve
broad publicity and familiarity, but is CCS fairly communicated? I try to examine how
visible the general public is in the debate surrounding CCS and what impression the
general public gets by reading articles about the technology. Is the newspaper debate
only a political debate about candidates of opposing parties or high cost implications?
Is it just a technical debate about feasibility and experimental plants? Or does the
debate maybe also initiate a public dialogue on CCS technologies in order to engage
the public and key stakeholders? Is public engagement acknowledged as a requisite
for gaining public acceptance and promoting the successful development of the
technology? Is there a need for socializing science or scientising society?
The results shall help to improve the effectiveness of policy measures as well as
the choice of targets for policy initiatives. Ironically, the historical absence of fossilbased power in Norway makes CCS looking in some ways misplaced. Nevertheless
CCS has a unique role in Norway and was right from the beginning a policy tool.
The Norwegian government, with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the front line,
promotes carbon capture as a highly promising option for CO2 emission reduction.
Demonstration plants are one important step in this development, like Mongstad.
But Mongstad, as a symbol for CO2 free power plant is affected by postponement and
being a bottomless pit of taxpayers money. There is a significant gap between CCS
policies, CCS feasibility and CCS in its meaning for the general public. To bridge the
gap between all participants I will introduce the concept of ґsocialization of scientific
and technological research.
We are able to identify at least three aspects of socialisation: “Translation” (Latour
1987), public understanding of science and technology (PUST, see Yearley 2005) and
public engagement with/in science and technology (PEST, see Irwin & Wynne 1996).
Christoph Klimmt Department of Journalism and Communication Research (IJK),
Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media
Covering social sciences the state of the art regarding a specific issue is a hard task for
the news media: Findings are mostly complex, of limited generalizability, and rarely
there is broad consensus among the members of the research community about
interpretations and recommendations that should be derived from the available
(empirical) research. At the same time, social science institutions are struggling for
more public visibility, as they try to improve their standing in a competitive science
These developments increase the risk of social science failing to contribute
effectively to public debates, because many valuable insights are likely not to receive
attention in public discourse and decision making, whereas other, less informative
studies or scientifically effective institutions may become very influential in public
communication due to successful PR strategies.
This contribution argues for scientific associations to intensify their efforts in
public communication by taking responsibility to establish consensus perspectives
of research communities with expertise on specific society-level problems. Such
“consensus papers” (for instance, on the effects of media violence on children) can
be prepared theme-specific divisions, interest groups, or working groups and be
approved by association heads before public release.
These “policy papers” can have two important effects: (1) orientation for the research
community about of the state of the art. This internal alignment of perspectives is
often necessary, because not all social scientists delivering public statements are
aware of the latest and best research available on a given topic. (2) Policy papers are
journalistically “reliable” sources and would hold higher news value than statements
from individual sources. They would thus be more likely to be cited across different
news reports and generate larger audiences for a more concise contribution of the
social sciences to public debates.
Given these chances to improve public communication of the social sciences, the
short speech discusses organization structures and rewards mechanisms for social
scientists engaging in the production of policy papers. The conference audience is
invited to generate ideas on how social-scientific associations can install effective
work routines that allow a greater output of policy papers to improve the public
communication of social research.
Tiziana Lanza Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Roma, Massimo
Crescimbene Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Roma, Federica La Longa
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia – Roma
Rumours in social, economical, political and scientific communication indicate a
news, presumably true, that circulate without being confirmed or made evident.
Planet Earth seems to be the elected place to give rise to frequent rumours about
impending catastrophes that will bring to the end of the world. As from a recent case
in my country, a strong earthquake was predicted for the last 11 May in Rome but
didn’t occur. In this work we will analyze some examples of rumours related to Earth
sciences. We will discuss the way they originated and how they propagate with a
particular emphasis on the role of the media. We will drive conclusions on the social
function of rumours in relation to the Earth and we will show some ideas on how
turning rumours into something useful for Earth education and for the communication
of Earth issues to the general public.
Maria Joao Leao Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Portugal, Silvia Castro Instituto
Gulbenkian de Ciencia, currently working at MIT Portugal Program
A unique partnership between Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC) and Everything
is New, gave rise to the development of very innovative and successful outreach
initiatives that bring together informal science education, public dialogue and
fundraising for scientific research in Portugal. The partnership started in 2007
and since 2008, the IGC has been, for 4 consecutive years, present at this annual
festival. At the IGC pavilion, just opposite the main stage, science, music and art mix
in an unusual way. Different activities have been developed to engage visitors with
science and scientists including “Speed dating” with scientists, DNA extraction from
strawberries, an interactive three-dimensional trip inside the human body, molecular
gastronomy, genetic and biodiversity interactive games, sci-arts installations and
photo exhibitions of research projects developed by young scientists sponsored
through this partnership. Per year, around 70 IGC volunteers, including scientists at
different stages of their careers, made these activities possible for more than 1000
young people that visited the IGC space during the three/ four days event. This
partnership also resulted in the sponsorship by the promoter Everything is New of
two research fellowships per year for young investigators to develop research in
Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution. These fellowships have one-year duration and
give the opportunity to young researchers to follow their vocations allowing them
to start their scientific careers at the IGC with collaborations outside of Portugal. In
addition, this project is having a high impact in the Portuguese media, namely at the
main TV channels, radios and online media. To further disseminate the impact of
this project into the society, we have been successfully using web-based platforms.
A Facebook page was created to advertise, describe and show videos and pictures
of the IGC initiatives carried out at the festival and the daily life of the winners of
the fellowships during their research projects at the IGC and at foreign countries
such as Madagascar, Malaysia and Principe. This page is also linked to the IGC and
OptimusAliveOeiras music festival Facebook pages. Three movies reporting IGC
participation at this music festival are also available on YouTube. We strongly believe
this partnership is a new model in science communication and a strong example of
how science can be closer to the private sector, media and society in general.
Bienvenido León University of Navarra, Miguel Ángel Jimeno University of Navarra
The process of climate change has become a relevant topic in the global agenda. In
Spain, as in other countries, there exists a “National Plan for Adaptation to Climate
Change”, which points towards information and communication as important social
intruments to obtain efficient results. Nevertheless, previous studies suggest that,
in Spain, there is a deficit of environmental information, and that its quality and
efficiency are not always optimal.
This paper presents some results of a project, which is being carried out by a research
group of the University of Navarra (Spain), University Miguel Hernández (Spain) and
Instituto Internacional de Ciéncias Sociais (Brasil) (*). It focuses on the quantity and
quality of information on CC in the Spanish newspapers and television, with a broad
sample of stories between 2005 and 2011, in both media.
We have analized these stories from the specific point of view of the interaction
between journalistic norms and values, with the processes of “translation” of
scientific knowledge, which are part of the production of news. Among these norms,
we have studied news values (criteria for the selection of events), the use of balance
and controversy (and its connection with the portrayal of scientific consensus), as
well as framing and sources.
Results indicate that a certain interpretation of some journalistic norms and values
can contribute to a low quality coverage of CC, in which this topic is still presented as
a controversy, in spite of the solid existing scientific consensus about the existence
and origin of this process. In addition, the norm of balance is used as a legitimization
tool to present conflicting points of view, not only related to opinions but to facts and
scientific certainties. However, the use of balance is subject to the editorial line of
each medium.
(*) This project is sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation
Liang Qi, China Research Institute for Science Popularization
Various countries around the world have consistent understanding of the role that
scientists play in science communication. Scientists have incomparable professional
advantages in science communication and have the obligation to inform public about
what they are doing and what affect their research has to the society. This article in
the first place introduced the main forms that scientists communicate with public in
China and the extent of their participation. The policy background was also discussed
in the first part. The survey results of Chinese Scientists’ Working Status Investigation
in 2008 showed that in the past 12 months, 56.7% of scientists participated in at
least one science communication activity. There are over 1400 academicians of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering in China. They
represent the highest level of scholarship and are also the leading group among
all the scientists in science communication in China. The status and forms of how
academicians participate in science communication are also stated in this article.
The survey conducted by China Research Institute of Science Communication in
2009, investigating the issued related to the academicians participating in science
communication in China, showed that in the past three years (2006-2008), over 87.5%
of academicians involved in some kind of science communication activity. They were
more willing to communicate with public comparing with other scientists. The main
characteristics of how scientists participate in science communication were discussed
in the final part of the article. Big differences appeared among scientists with
different genders, ages and education background when they participate in science
communication. Personal demands are the main factor that influences scientists on
the extent of participation in science communication.
Helene Limén The Parliamentary Evaluation and Research Unit (PER), The Swedish
Parliament, Eva Krutmeijer Percipia AB, Sweden
Parliaments are facing a challenging situation as they have to address a number of
research and future issues that are characterised by great complexity. A number of
issues concern new technologies and their societal implications – others may entail
difficult discussions on ethics, such as issues about genetic testing and therapy. Over
time, scientific and technical progress has created a situation in which increasing
levels of scientific and technical skills become a necessity for decision-makers.
Scientific advice, as well as public involvement, is crucial when communicating and
debating new techniques and research findings. Scientists often deliver information
in a form that is not comprehensible or useful in the shaping of policies. Politicians
may request clear answers to specific questions, whereas scientists are likely to give
several alternative answers or be reluctant to answer at all. Another important aspect
is credibility; it is important for scientists to communicate gaps, risks and uncertainties
in current knowledge.
Several parliaments, both in Europe and worldwide, have units, which are either in
the form of internal or external bodies that work with advising decision-makers in
the field of science and technology. The unit at the Swedish Parliament, which is
relatively new, has worked since 2007 with providing Swedish parliamentarians with
research findings and technology assessments. A new and fruitful collaboration with
the Swedish Research Council has also been developed.
Swedish experiences so far have shown that it is important to prepare researchers
before they meet with parliamentarians. Terms that are too technical and scientific
are for example often used, which prevent the transmission of the message. As
regards technology assessments, regular meetings with parliamentary reference
groups ensure that the content is useful for them. Involving parliamentarians at an
early stage also creates a sense of ownership of the work, which is a step towards
ensuring that they use the material. After finalising a report, it is important to let
expert groups read and scrutinise the content and to ensure that it is well-balanced.
This ensures the quality and objectiveness which is important if the material is to
be used in decision-making. Persons trained to facilitate communication between
researchers and politicians and to assess new research findings and technologies are
of vital importance for present and future decision-making.
Pei-Ling Lin National Taiwan Normal University, Yuen-Hsien Tseng National Taiwan
Normal University, Hsiang-Hu Liu National Taiwan Normal University, Chun-Yen
Chang National Taiwan Normal University
How should we suppose our considerations and arguments formed for new emerge
science, especially, after reading the related news and reports? Public understanding
and beliefs, regarding scientific issues, are heavily influenced by news and media
exposure (Hwang & Southwell, 2009). That is to say the mass media is a “convenient”
and “efficient” way for public to acquire primary ideas about newly emergent
scientific issues such as nanotechnology. This study will investigate “media attitude”
by utilizing the news of “nanotechnology” as a reasonable sample from which to draw
results. The goal of our study is to investigate media attitudes in Taiwan, towards
Investigating the local media attitude toward emerging science and technology such
as nanotechnology is a worthy step to figure out the important factor that impacts
Taiwan people’s opinions about the emerging scientific issues (Cheufele & Lewenstein,
2005). For this purpose, our investigation cites news from United Daily News in
Taiwan, and utilizes textual analysis to draw a picture of medias’ perspectives about
nanotechnology. Our study extracted 114 reports from around two millions of news
reports from United Daily News (2002 to 2009). According to further textual analysis,
our result shows that all 114 Nano ceramic news reports were in fact commercials.
The majority of those reports were commercials for “bathroom equipment” and
“building material”. Of the 114 news, 54 news reports were coded as positive, 60 news
items were coded as “non-related”, and no reports were negative. The media attitude
in Taiwan holds a wholly positive opinion towards nano ceramic related science.
Based on our results, we find that Taiwan media holds a positive attitude towards
nanotechnology The fact that nanotechnology news reports are in reality simply
product commercials may explain why media attitudes are completely positive
and only talk about the advantages and benefits of nanotechnology. The diversity
and objectivity of reports in media seems to be strongly affected by commercial
sponsorship. Thus, it’s worthy for the government to place importance on the diversity
and objectivity of reporting in our media context, especially on the scientific issues
with which people are not familiar. Otherwise, there’ll probably make a horrible
danger: the society view and value will be led to the only “one way”, the way only
guides to one direction: blind.
Yin-Yueh Lo Research Center Jülich, Germany, Hans Peter Peters Research Center
Jülich, Germany
In Western countries the relationship between science and the media has been
extensively studied because media coverage of science is expected to increase
the scientific literacy of the public and also public support for science. Compared
with Western countries, there are relatively few of such studies in Asia. This study
presented in this paper contributes to closing this research deficit. It reports results
of an online survey of 129 Taiwanese biologists and 151 neuroscientists.
For the survey, 723 biologists and 821 neuroscientists were selected on the basis
of their authorship of publications in international scientific journals. The response
rates were 20% (biologists) and 22% (neuroscientists). The questionnaire comprises
various aspects of the science-media relationship, including opinions towards the
public and public communication, perception of the media, and the interviewees’
experiences with the media. The questions match those used in a German survey of
researchers, thus enabling us to compare results across countries.
Congruent with surveys in other countries the Taiwanese researchers reported many
contacts with journalists. 48% of the surveyed biologists and 71% of the neuroscientists
said that they had such contacts in the past 3 years. Scientists who had contacts with
journalists mostly evaluate these contacts positive, are satisfied with their outcome,
and agree that public visibility benefits their careers and increases the chance to
gain research funding. Furthermore, Taiwanese biologists and neuroscientists largely
agree that public communication about science serves to decrease the knowledge
deficit of the public and promotes public support for science and technology. General
critical opinions towards media coverage of scientific research are prevalent among
scientists, in particular regarding perceived accuracy.
While there are many similarities between experiences and attitudes of researchers
in Taiwan and Germany, there are also some differences. One of the most interesting
findings is that differences between German and Taiwanese biologists are generally
larger than between neuroscientists from both countries. It suggests that public
communication of research in a medical context (with potential personal implications
for the lay audience) is rather similar in Taiwan and Germany, while media coverage of
research without direct health implications shows different patterns in both countries.
Claudia Loaiza Escutia Conacyt (Mexico) & University of the Basque Country (Spain)
Diverse studies and surveys reveal the modest increase in the participation of
scientists in science communication and public engagement during recent times.
Some of them also examine the practices and attitudes of scientists to the public
communication of science across countries, aiming to find cultural differences or
significant variances that can help to encourage the activity. The evidence shows that
the position does differ much between countries: for the vast majority of scientists,
public science communication is viewed as altruistic and not as an important part
of their academic life. Most of the reports that examine the views and experiences
of scientists are quantitative in nature, obtained through surveys by mail or online
questionnaires and with intrinsic methodological limitations. Although, they have
achieved significant results, these studies did not include in their analysis the specific
environments and contexts in which the groups of scientists surveyed were connected
to national, regional or institutional policies on the public communication of science,
which might have had an influence on their participation. A relevant example of
this influence is the world celebration “the Year of Physics”, in 2005, which changed
positively the stance of several research institutes regarding public communication
activities. The present empirical research seeks to contribute the qualitative analysis
of scientists’ public communication attitudes and the influences affecting their public
engagements. The research was carried out between May 2008 and May 2009 in 5
European research centres involved in nanotechnology and materials science; FHI,
Berlin, Germany; CEMES, Toulouse, France; ISMN, Bologna, Italy; CSME, Edinburgh,
United Kingdom and DIPC, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. The study implied face to
face interviews with 112 scientists and 9 national and local Public Relations and Press
Officers of the relevant institutes, as well as observations of the public communications
activities and interactions occurring in the centres. The quantitative and qualitative
results cover the following categories: scientists’ representation on public science
engagement; audiences and activities, barriers to science communication; training
and demand; and incentives for science communication. The results elicit a discussion
of the statement by the Royal Society Survey (2006), about the marginal influence of
external institutions on scientists’ attitudes.
Diogo Lopes de Oliveira Instituto Brasileiro de Informaçao em Ciéncia e Tecnologia
(IBICT) and University of Brasilia
This study is the result of an analysis of the Science Week (SC, for Setmana de la
Ciéncia) – first massive event on popularization of science in Spain, in 1996 – and of
the participation of Pernambuco (northeastern Brazilian State) in the National Week
for Science and Technology (SNCT, for Semana Nacional de Ciéncia e Tecnologia),
which has taken place in this south American country ever since 2004. Based on
quantitative and qualitative studies, the aim herein was to verify the validity of
theses science weeks’ formats in both locations as well as to identify their strengths
and potential. This academic paper is intended to serve as a tool for the elaboration
of public policies on popular science in different contexts and to prioritize the
population’s active participation in the process that leads up to scientific knowledge.
In Catalonia and in Pernambuco, over 5 thousand activities were evaluated under 8
useful parameters for the observation of similar events in different social-economical
contexts. Furthermore, it may well support public policies in whichever level, be it
local, regional or national ones. This study may also be applied to other papers about
the functionality of Science weeks around the world.
Pieter Maeseele University of Antwerp
As debates in the context of new technologies (such as biotechnology, nanotechnology
and converging technologies) and environmental risks (climate change, nuclear
energy, etc.) have shown during the last decades, rapid scientific and technological
developments not only offer many potential benefits to health, quality of life or
economic development, but simultaneously introduce known and unknown risks
to health, the environment and social justice, confronting us with tremendous
democratic challenges. To adequately address these challenges, it is imperative
to investigate whether and to what extent science communication processes and
practices facilitate or impede democratic debate and democratic citizenship in these
techno-environmental controversies. The aim of this paper is to put forward a new
approach in the field of science communication by calling for the conceptual and
empirical recognition of these controversies as a new type of social conflict in today’s
late modern societies. The implications of this shift will be discussed for the design
and evaluation of future science communication processes and practices.
A. Masson Delft University of Technology, research group Biotechnology and Society;
Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation; Centre for Society and
Genomics, T. Klop Delft University of Technology, research group Biotechnology
and Society; Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation; Centre for
Society and Genomics, P. Osseweijer Delft University of Technology, research group
Biotechnology and Society; Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation;
Centre for Society and Genomics
Society is becoming increasingly dependent on technology and the importance and
economic utility of scientific knowledge for all citizens is increasingly recognized
(Barmby et al., 2008). Not only do we need more technology experts, but also people
in general need a higher level of understanding. As a result, many countries face a
shortage of skilled personnel in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering
and Mathematics).
It is therefore important to get secondary school students interested in STEM; to
equip them with the basic knowledge they need as citizens and to raise interest for
a career in this field. However, research shows that science education which indeed
raises career interest and shows the relevance of science for students’ (future) lives is
not easy to establish (Klop, 2008; Millar, 2006).
This case-study research investigates how science education can be designed and
implemented to improve secondary school students’ understanding of life sciences,
enabling them to make well-founded decisions in their lives and about their future
careers. The Imagine competition was selected as a case study, as it aims to motivate
students for a career in life sciences and to show the relevance of life science in a
global society (Imagine, 2004). The competition contains three important elements:
1) students solve a problem in a less developed country; 2) they cooperate with a
scientist; and 3) they apply life sciences within their project. Although the competition
has been running for several years now, the fulfilment of the aims has never been
This paper presents the factors that contribute to or hinder the fulfilment of
the aims of the Imagine competition. Results showed that the first element is an
important factor that motivates students to participate in the Imagine competition.
The interaction between the scientist and the students appeared to be one of the
key factors contributing to students overall experiences. We did not observe much
increase in knowledge about life sciences among the participants, nor did we observe
much increased interest in a career in the life sciences. Furthermore, we observed
a discrepancy between the intended activity and the implemented activity, which
could be causing this. This discrepancy is the focus of an intervention to improve the
fulfillment of the aims. The first results of this intervention will be presented during
the conference.
Laura Maxim Institut des Sciences de la Communication, CNRS, Paris, France, Pascale
Mansier Laboratoire Communication et Politique, CNRS, Paris, France, Natalia Grabar
Laboratoire Savoirs, Textes, Langage (STL), CNRS, Université de Lille 3, Villeneuve
d’ascq Cedex
Scientific controversies are characterized by an important level of uncertainty (which
is different from risk), expressed as a lack of knowledge and conflicting expert views.
Furthermore, consequences of environmental problems can potentially reach many
people, and this raises the question of communicating the available knowledge to the
However, the existing literature suggests that certain scientists and decision-makers
believe that communicating uncertainty to the public will produce panic and will
discredit science. We have tested this hypothesis for the controversy on the effects
of endocrine disrupters (EDs) on human male fertility. The empirical set-up combined
two methods, i.e., focus groups and subjective estimation of perceived uncertainty
using a measurement scale proposed in the literature. Six short texts and videos were
selected from a book and documentary films of science popularization and were
presented to 11 groups, each made of 6 to 12 citizens. Each group met once, for 3
hours. Texts and videos were chosen as following: the 2nd, 4th and 5th contained
uncertainty but the 1st, 3rd and 6th did not. After each presentation of one text and
one video (having similar content), people used the scale for expressing subjective
uncertainty and discussed the information received. Meetings were transcribed and
annotated by 3 researchers.
Our results show that lay people raise a larger and different range of uncertainties
compared to those contained in the researchers’ messages. We propose a model
for the transformation of uncertainty between emission and reception. Statistical
treatment of the subjective assessments of uncertainty shows significant influence
of uncertainty communication by scientists on people’s judgments about the causal
relationship between EDs and male fertility. Qualitative analysis of the transcripts
show that, as long as public scientists (toxicologists) are concerned, instead of
discrediting information previously expressed with certainty, uncertainty is often
perceived optimistically as additional information and an opportunity for research.
On the contrary, for private scientists, conflicts of interests are judged to be the major
motivation for expressing uncertainty.
For most participants, uncertainty does not produce panic but is reassuring. Other
expressed feelings and their relationship with uncertainty communication will be
discussed (e.g., helplessness, feeling guilty, revolt, confusion, etc.).
Katherine A. McComas Cornell University, Christopher E. Clarke Cornell University,
Rachel M. Brockhage Grove City College
Scholars have increasingly focused on the ethical dilemmas posed by a climate of
scientific and engineering research that largely depends on external dollars to
accomplish its work. Among these dilemmas are the potential for funding to influence
research directions and give rise to real or potential conflicts of interest among
researchers. Left unchecked or mismanaged, conflicts of interest can lead to a loss
of scientific integrity and accompanying decrease in public support for science. This
study investigates how perceived norms and attributions of responsibility relate to
researchers’ intentions to consider the possible ethical implications of their research.
A web survey, conducted in July 2011, of scientists and engineers (N=656) who have
used the labs of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network found that
both subjective norms – perceiving that others would approve or disapprove of a
behavior – and perceived personal responsibility to consider the ethical implications
of funding were the strongest predictors of behavioral intentions. Respondents were
aware of and worried about the influence of funding sources and conflicts of interest
in science and engineering and believed that other researchers were less ethically
minded than themselves. The discussion and conclusions offer theoretical and
practical implications of these results in relation to the maintenance and promotion
of scientific integrity.
Elaine McKewon University of Technology, Sydney
In the United States and Australia there is a deep partisan divide regarding the reality,
causes and potential impacts of climate change. Progressives tend to accept the
scientific consensus and the need for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
while conservatives tend to reject the evidence of anthropogenic global warming
and the need for government intervention. This right vs. left ideological conflict has
been played out in the news media in Australia, with the country’s major newspapers
among the most high profile participants in the latest “culture war”. As the scientific
consensus on climate change strengthened, some Australian news media became
the public arena in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the
scientific consensus were contested and criticised. This paper reports the results of
a Critical Discourse Analysis of news coverage of the IPCC in two newspapers, The
Australian (conservative) and The Sydney Morning Herald (progressive), during 19962010. This paper asks how ideology influenced their coverage of the IPCC and climate
science. The study includes news stories, feature articles, science and environmental
reports, editorials, opinion pieces and letters to the editor.
Jennifer Medlock University of Calgary, Gwendolyn Blue University of Calgary
In this paper, we critically explore the contention of green political theorists that
public engagement initiatives can act as a tool to foster “environmental citizenship”,
a normative concept framing the rights and obligations of citizens in a framework of
large-scale social change aimed at environmental sustainability.
There are few empirical accounts of what environmental citizenship looks like in
practice. We respond to this gap through a case study of the Canadian arm of a global
public consultation called World Wide Views on Global Warming (WWViews), which
involved approximately 4000 citizens from 38 countries worldwide.
The public participation literature documents many factors that influence the
trajectory of participatory events, from the way the issue is framed for discussion
to the kinds of information given to participants to the timing of the engagement
in relation to policymaking cycles. These same factors also enable and constrain
expressions of environmental citizenship within participatory events.
Through a review of WWViews project documents, our study first examines the design
choices made by the Canadian organizers and how they enabled and constrained
particular roles for “environmental citizens”. We focus our study, however, on how
the participants ultimately inhabited (or rejected) the roles ascribed to them, an
aspect of participatory initiatives receiving much less attention in the literature, but
having strong implications for enacting citizenship. Through pre/post questionnaires
and semi-structured interviews with participants six months following the event, we
explore how our participants understood, and acted on, their ideas of citizenship in
the context of WWViews. Did they situate themselves as environmental citizens? Did
they see WWViews as contributing to shifts in their attitudes/behaviours in line with
environmental citizenship practices? How did they perceive the ideal role for citizens
in the governance of climate change?
The analysis suggests caution in making universal claims about public engagement
contributing to large-scale social change and the expression of environmental
citizenship. Though many participants were supportive of environmental citizenship
in principle, they pointed to elements of the Canadian context in tension with these
principles and that acted as barriers for them in putting them into practice.
Felicity Mellor Imperial College London
Drawing on a content analysis conducted as part of a BBC Trust review of the
impartiality of the BBC’s coverage of science, this paper examines the extent to
which the notion of impartial broadcasting applies to science coverage. In the UK,
broadcasters are required to cover controversial issues in an impartial manner; the
BBC goes further, applying due impartiality to all subjects. However, scientists and
other commentators on the media coverage of science often claim that a special case
should be made for science by exempting it from the need for balanced reporting.
Quality in science journalism, the implication is, arises from the effective translation
of scientific findings rather than from the mediation of science. Claims of this sort have
become particularly prevalent in response to the media reporting of anthropogenic
climate change, often making reference to analysis of journalistic balance by Max
Boykoff (e.g., Boykoff and Boykoff, 2004; Boykoff, 2007).
Such arguments are based on two fundamental assumptions: firstly, that the source
of news stories about science consists of statements of fact; and secondly, that the
notion of impartiality can be reduced to the journalistic norm of balance. This paper
will consider the relationship between balance and impartiality by critically examining
reactions to the BBC impartiality review and the contrast between claims about the
overuse of balance and the content analysis findings which showed a limited use of
balance. The content analysis was based on eight weeks of BBC television and radio
output in the summers of 2009 and 2010. I will argue that the case of global warming
has served to focus attention on a narrow understanding of balance to the detriment
of the central issue of independent journalism.
Linda Merman The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Brian Schwartz
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Brooklyn College
Many major scientific facilities throughout the world are located outside of universities
and in rural regions. Typically, these facilities are committed to providing information
about their work and gaining the good will of their host communities. We are working
with facilities to enable them to achieve the above objectives and more by means of
science-arts collaborations.
We have a decade-long experience with the series Science & the Arts at the Graduate
Center of the City University of New York. Through this series more than 10 sciencearts events per year are developed for the general public in the form of theatrical
readings and performances, dances, musical events and a variety of cultural offerings.
We are currently working with science facilities in rural locations, removed from
university centers and major, integrated arts/cultural environments. The facilities
have distinct and different minority communities (which will inform the outreach
efforts and establish collaborations with each facility in developing science-arts
programs of particular interest to those communities); and, present new challenges
and opportunities. Specifically we are working with National Science Foundation
(NSF) facilities in 3 diverse locations: the Homestake Deep Underground Science and
Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) facility in Lead, South Dakota
and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) installations
in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington DUSEL’s flagship experiments focus on areas of
subatomic physics such as detection of dark matter particles and proton decay. LIGO
is an important tool in the fields of physics and astronomy by means of its research
into the nature of gravity.
We have developed relationships with the directors and staffs of these science facilities
and hosted them in New York for an international conference on Communication
Science to the Public through the Performing Arts
We have also reached out to arts organizations and groups in the DUSEL and LIGO
communities, and have helped establish partnerships between the facilities and
their local arts communities. We are working in all 3 facility locations to expand and
enhance community outreach and educational activities by co-developing a strategy
to enable them to communicate science using theater, music and dance programs.
Matteo Merzagora Traces, Paris, France, Meriem Fresson Traces, Paris, France
SiS catalyst – Children as change agents for science in society is a 4 years, FP7 funded
project under the Mobilisation and Mutual learning scheme of the Science in Society
programme. It seeks to identify how children can be change agents in the science
and society relationship, and from this starting point, to indicate how they can be
catalysts in the longer term solutions to the grand challenges faced by society – their
future. The focus will be on children with ability, who are currently least likely to
progress to study science in post secondary education, thus combining the science
and society agenda with the social inclusion agenda.
Within the project, a research activity has been carried out to identify how the voice
of children and teenagers can be incorporated into science in society activities and
influence higher education institutions and the way they interact with the rest of
society. Several types of science in society activities have been analyzed (from
children universities to science festivals, from science centres to media products for
children) in terms of their capability to listen to and dialogue with their young publics.
Three phases were considered: the planning phase of the activity (how can children
and/or teen be involved in designing a science in society activity?); the execution of
the activity (how can dialogue occur during a science in society activity?); the impact
phase (how can dialogue with children provoke a true institutional change?).
We will present the results of this and highlight some relevant case study, in order
to draw an ergonomics of listening and dialoguing, that is, a better understanding of
the key elements that make dialogue with young people possible or difficult, ranging
from a very theoretical to a very practical approach, i.e. from Plato to the disposition
of the tables in a room.
Steve Miller Department of Science and Technology Studies University College of
London, Kajsa-Stina Magnusson Department of Science and Technology Studies
University College of London
This paper aims to present and discuss the results of an evaluation of the effects
and attitudes towards practical science communication training and science
communication generally, as delivered through 20 science communication workshops
in 2009 and 2010. The training, which was funded by the European Commission
through FP7 and delivered by ESConet Trainers, targeted European scientists and
researchers from all disciplines, levels of seniority and previous experience of science
communication activities. All trainees were asked to fill in post-training questionnaires,
in an attempt to measure their level of confidence, and their attitudes towards science
communication activities. Additionally, the trainees of 2010 were asked to fill in pretraining questionnaires, to which the results of the post-training questionnaires may
be compared. Building on an extensive data analysis, the results suggest that though
many trainees may have underestimated the obstacles faced when communicating
science, but that their level of confidence in doing so increased following the
workshops. Finally, with regards to their attitudes towards science communication
and the public understanding of science, the results showed that trainees were more
inclined to agree with statements in line with increased public awareness and the
need for dialogue, rather than the more paternalistic and one-directional ways of the
public understanding of science movement.
Karen Mogendorff Wageningen University
Scientists engaged in technology development are expected to incorporate the views
and needs of prospective users and stakeholders to ensure that new technologies
are adopted in society. Moreover, developers of new technologies increasingly need
to account for whether new technologies are used; funding of further research and
technology development partly depends on it. In this study, Dutch plant scientists
develop a decision support system to reduce the use of agrochemicals in plant
disease management in staple crops. Technology is meant to stimulate a behavioural
change in farmers and breeders. To accomplish this, technology developers employ
two strategies. Firstly, they communicate with representatives of industry and
government. Representatives of an end user group – farmers – do not participate
in these meetings. A second strategy developers use are discursive scripts about
how farmers and breeders in actual practice combat plant disease and how they
relate to new technology. This paper focuses on the use of the latter strategy.
The performative function of discursive scripts in multi-stakeholder meetings are
analysed. The scripts participants in meetings employ are based on shared and - in
meetings - partly negotiated conceptions about how prospective users interpret and
employ new technology. As it turns out, participants in meetings differ in the manner
they discursively claim to be responsible for these scripts. There are differences in
script formulations participants use to manage the extent in which they may be hold
accountable for how user and stakeholder scripts are incorporated in the technology
and whether the technology is used as intended. Differences in script formulations
serve to man. Finally, implications for employing scripts in public/user-scientist
interactions in science communication models are discussed.
Brenda R Moon Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, ANU
Understanding trends in public attitudes to science and technology issues is important
for effective science communication. Gaining that understanding is difficult.
Approaches such as surveys, focus groups and media monitoring are expensive,
difficult and time consuming. There is often a long delay between gathering the data
and results being available. Apart from media monitoring, they are based on some
form of active sampling of the public’s viewpoint. This may result in people giving
answers that they think the surveyor wants to hear, or in responding on issues that
are not really of interest to them.
The increase in people participating in various forms of social media on the internet
offers a new resource for monitoring. People self publish their views on subjects that
interest them using a variety of social media tools. This introduces the possibility of
using passive monitoring of this public discussion to look for trends in the importance
of different issues. This has been called “Open Source Intelligence”: finding, selecting
and acquiring information from publicly available sources in order to produce
actionable intelligence.
Some analysis tools are already available (Google Trends, Twitter Search) but these
are mainly focused on marketing and brand monitoring.
This presentation reports on progress on research into using a social media source
(Twitter) to gain an understanding of public discussion of science and technology.
Data has been being collected from Twitter using a range of science and technology
keywords since November 2009. This session reports on the initial analysis of that
Carolina Moreno University of Valencia, Spain, Oliver Todt University of the Balearic
Islands, Spain, José Luis Luján University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
A relevant part of the current debates about public acceptance of science and
technology centers on the social acceptability of science and technology governance
(including decision making, regulation and risk management). In this presentation we
will argue, based on survey data, that the relationship between public and stakeholder
acceptance of governance, on the one hand, and the level of public education, on the
other, as well as current improvements in science and technology management is still
We present recent survey data from Spain on the public perception of science and
technology governance, particularly on the perception of the importance of scientific
knowledge and values in governance, precautionary regulation, as well as the role
of experts in decision making. The survey’s data are particularly relevant due to the
relatively limited availability of data on public attitudes towards regulation and decision
making (instead of particular scientific-technological applications themselves).
The analysis also takes account of other recent data related to public participation
and information in science and technology governance. The results indicate that
neither the introduction of participatory decision making, nor increased scientifictechnological education and fostering of scientific culture, nor the adoption of new
regulatory frames (like the precautionary principle) are likely to significantly improve
social acceptance of science and technology governance.
Such reforms may transform the focus of public debates on policy and governance,
but do not necessarily lead to closure. In consequence, more research is needed on
the complex relationship between information, participation, trust and acceptance,
as well as their respective roles in decision making and regulation of science and
Constantinos Morfakis Department of Philosophy and History of Science, National
and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Katerina Vlantoni Department of Philosophy
and History of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Dimitris
Katsaros Department of Philosophy and History of Science, National and Kapodistrian
University of Athens, Aristotle Tympas Department of Philosophy and History of
Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
The beautification of biotechnology in the media has attracted considerable attention
among specialists in Science Communication and Science, Technology, and Society.
As a result, we know about the presence of patterns in, for example, the use of the
metaphors employed in order to promote a whole range of biotechnologies, from
genetically modified organisms to cloning. Several Science, Technology and Society
scholars have argued that textual and visual mechanisms of media beautification
of biotechnology were developed in response to widespread public concern about
biotechnology, which frequently took the form of open resistance to biotechnology.
We know much less about media strategies that have aimed at the beautification of
another defining technology of our era, that of wind farms. Noticeably, wind farms
are by now, also, a technology that faces considerable resistance. Part of this paper
introduces to our study on the way the technology of wind farms has been beautified
by media strategies, in response to this resistance. Central, however, to our paper is a
comparison between the way stem cells and wind farms have been portrayed in the
media. This comparison is based on primary research in several of the most popular
Greek newspapers and periodicals.
Padraig Murphy Lecturer and Programme Chair MSc Science Communication, School
of Communications, Dublin City University
This paper will look at the emerging priorities , and tensions, for science communication
in the new Irish context. Ireland is in a new situation in Europe post-IMF, where
indigenous and international linkages in bio- nano- and green technologies are
considered vital for economic recovery. Obvious tensions are developing between
two strategic positions: 1) a contemporary new generation, “dialogic-driven” science
communication favoured in current literature in science communication, and that has
been slowly emerging in Ireland, that privileges public buy-in, and 2) “new nationstate” building, the pressures to look outward for inward investment, to proclaim
Ireland’s place in Europe and the world as – still – an attractive knowledge-based
economy, with specific science and technology at its core, and to attract and foster
a skilled workforce. Will the power of 2) now supercede 1)? Or is a reflexive public
engagement possible that incorporates both?
The author will draw from specific examples of his work in outreach initiatives
and technology assessment workshops for nanosciences and green technology
development, well as broader Irish education and outreach strategies. He will argue
that it is not just the case that science communication in Ireland must be communicated
as a good in itself , to promote its intrinsic value, but also the importance of reflexivity
and critique brought about by the interdisciplinarity of natural/social sciences
collaboration, a type of what Ulrich Beck calls “self-confrontation” in modern reflexive
systems of institutional technoscience.
Mariechel J. Navarro Manager, Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology,
ISAAA, Randy A. Hautea Global Coordinator, ISAAA
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) is a
not-for-profit international organization that shares the benefits of crop biotechnology
to various stakeholders, particularly resource-poor farmers in developing countries,
through knowledge sharing initiatives and the transfer and delivery of proprietary
biotechnology applications. ISAAA has an information network composed of the
Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology (popularly known as KC) and 27
Biotechnology Information Centers (BICs) or country nodes located in Africa, Asia,
Latin America, and Europe. It is probably the only one of its kind in the world today.
With its global mandate, the KC critically scans global and regional developments
and analyzes issues and concerns that affect developing countries. This information is
transformed into prototype science communication strategies that the BICs adapt for
their clients’ specific information needs to advance a broader public understanding
of crop biotechnology. The network uses an array of multi-media communication
approaches, networking and various interpersonal formats.
The information network has enabled policy makers, scientists, academics, media
practitioners, farmers, and other interest groups to participate in a transparent
and science-based discussion and debate on the technology. Country case studies
of how they have operationalized science communication are documented in the
book Communication Challenges and Convergence in Crop Biotechnology (Navarro
and Hautea, 2011). Experiences are forwarded on how countries have addressed
communication challenges by introducing innovative approaches, building capacity
for science communicators, and integrating efforts among public and private sectors
in knowledge sharing initiatives. Lessons learned are forwarded on how best to
contribute to a better appreciation and understanding of biotechnology despite its
being a perceived controversial topic. Countries demonstrated that it is not a case of
Science then Communication but Science Communication.
Erin L. Navid University of Calgary, Edna F. Einsiedel University of Calgary
Engaging publics on new and potentially controversial science technologies has often
presented challenges. Publics may hold pre-conceived notions that science is too
complicated and specialized for them to understand and venues at which science is
discussed with the public often take place in formal settings. One approach to address
these challenges is through the Science Café, or Café Scientifique, a live forum event
that takes place at an informal setting such as a pub and involves conversations
between scientists and members of the public. Although the Café movement is only
15 years old, the popularity of these events is evident, with over 130 active Café
series happening around the world. Despite the apparent popularity of Science
Cafés, there has been insufficient research on how participants view Science Cafés.
We conducted five Science Cafés across Canada to gauge public awareness of and
early views on synthetic biology technology and its potential applications, and
evaluated the effectiveness of the Science Café platform as a knowledge-translation
tool. Synthetic biology is a novel research area and refers to both the design and
fabrication of biological components and systems that do not already exist in the
natural world and the re-design and fabrication of existing biological systems. The
results from our Cafés showed approximately half of our attendees having some
awareness of synthetic biology technology. Participants were excited for the benefits,
but also concerned about the potential risks, especially around accidental releases,
or uses for military purposes. While participants trusted scientists to carry out their
research, there was limited confidence that regulators would ensure public safety.
Science cafés as a forum for science to meet society were positively viewed for the
relaxed and pleasant atmosphere, small crowd size, accessibility and informality
of the venue, and the non-intimidating environment. We discuss these results in
terms of assessing science cafes as a venue for upstream engagement on a complex
emerging technology.
Aquiles Negrete CEIICH-UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico)
Nowadays sustainable development is a subject of particular relevance due to the
Earth’s environmental crisis, of which humankind is responsible, to a large degree.
A possible way of addressing sustainable development is science education and
communication. In principle, a society that is aware of environmental problems will
be more participative, committed and efficient when putting in practice measures to
mitigate the environmental crisis, than an uninformed one. Sustainable development
is a matter that concerns Mexican public in terms of biodiversity and ecosystems
conservation that, in turn, is relevant not only for the country but also for the entire
In previous works (Negrete y Lartigue, 2004; Negrete, 2005; Lanza y Negrete, 2007;
Negrete y González, 2008; Negrete, 2008; Negrete, 2009; Negrete 2010; Negrete
2011) I have suggested the importance of communicating science via narrative forms.
In this research I present an example of the use of comics in communicating scientific
information about the sustainable use of the Mayan Nut in rural areas (with low
scholarity) in Mexico and Central America.
Ana Claudia Nepote Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México campus Morelia
Mexico is a megadiverse country and is a host of cultural and environmental
complexities. Under the acutal panoroma of biodiversity loss, transformation of natural
ecosystems, a crisis of water supply and quality, and environmental contingencies,
some of them as a result of global climate change, it is important to increase both the
effort and quality of communication of environmental themes.
Currently, the reporting of environmental issues in mass media in Mexico has not
obtained the attention it deserves. Independently, the universities and research
centres have increased their interest in establishing communication channels and the
improvement of its collaborative strategies with other social actors, in particular with
media people and stake holders.
In order to know more about the state of the art of public environmental journalism
in our country, a survey was made amongst resident journalists in Mexico who cover
these topics. The present work will show the most important results that would help
draw a map of who reports on the environmental source and its principal mass media.
In an effort to strengthen the links between the scientific community and reporters,
we propose the creation of scientific culture units in research institutions that will
contribute to open and maintain strong links with organizations involved with science
and environmental communication
Daniel Noelleke Department of Communication, University of Muenster
A characteristic feature of scientific research is its uncertain and provisional nature.
This article focuses on the mass media as the crucial spot in the relationship between
science and the public and analyses how journalists deal with this uncertainty of
scientific evidences. It is argued that media content does not mirror scientific “reality”
but that it reflects journalists’ specific dealing with scientific issues. Based on a
systems theoretical approach considering media content as the result of journalistic
construction it is investigated to which degree reporting refers to uncertainty. Further,
the paper identifies journalistic patterns of presenting scientific issues as certain
respectively uncertain. To this end, two methods are combined: 17 German media
products (news and special-interest media) are investigated for a period of nine
months (10/2009 – 06/2010) examining all those stories covering the topic “health and
medicine”. This topic is highly relevant for a broader public and therefore, information
from this field can be regarded as especially sensitive. The results are reflected in indepth interviews with science journalists providing information about their routines
working on uncertain topics. Findings indicate that uncertainty plays a minor role in
reporting. References to uncertainty mostly occur implicitly. Journalists obviously do
not tend to highlight uncertainty as explicit references to doubts, debates, faults and
fraud are a rare exception. Uncertainty is neither expressed through the presentation
of scientists contradicting one another. Most stories only refer to one source; in
those cases two or more scientists are cited those sources mostly correspond. When
presenting scientific knowledge journalists focus on results while ignoring process.
To the audience the level of evidence remains dubious as most stories do not give
any information about the methods used. Only few stories explicitly refer to the
quality of scientific work or the expertise of the scientists cited. Though those general
tendencies apply to all analysed media products, there are differences when taking a
closer look at special patterns of constructing (un-)certainty. At the conference these
differences between news media and special interest media as well as between print
and broadcast media will also be presented.
Kathryn O’Hara Carleton University, Catherine Campbell Carleton University
The amplification effect of social media on a single, exclusive, medical report on
Canadian TV promoting an untested medical treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
influenced publicly-funded Canadian scientific research agendas, created international
coalitions of supporters and exposed the vulnerability of scientific support to political
pressure. Coverage of Italian surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni’s venoplasty procedure
(“Liberation Therapy”) for MS, a chronic, unpredictable and debilitating disease with
no known cure which harms over 2 million people worldwide, is examined.
Ethical coverage of new and unproven treatments (hype and hope) has long been
discussed in science journalism fora and literature. The argument is made that an
intense and potentially distorting magnifying lens of social media in this seminal
case was unanticipated and unprecedented. Based on academic research conducted
from November 2009 through December 2011, the framing of the news stories,
the trajectory of the Liberation movement, the impact on clinical research and MS
fundraising are examined as is the validating role of the citizen-patient and social
media’s ability to act as an instant communicator of medical news in various stages
of result readiness. In the process, relevant questions are raised in ensuring quality,
accountability and transparency in medical science journalism for all the actors
Satoko Oki Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Kazuki Koketsu
Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo
ANSA web news titled “‘No L’Aquila quake risk’ experts probed in Italy in June 2010”
gave a shock to the Japanese seismological community. According to the website,
for the previous 6 months from the L’Aquila earthquake which occurred on 6th April
2009, the seismicity in that region had been active. Having become even more active
and reached magnitude 4 on 30th March, the government held the Major Risks
Committee which is a part of the Civil Protection Department and is tasked with
forecasting possible risks by collating and analyzing data from a variety of sources and
making preventative recommendations. The committee did not insist on the risk of
damaging earthquake, and 6 days later, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake attacked L’Aquila
and killed 308 people. The following year on 3rd June, the prosecutors opened
the investigation after complaints of the victims that far more people would have
fled their homes that night if there had been no reassurances of the Major Risks
Committee the previous week.
Lessons from this issue are significant. Science communication is now in currency, and
more efforts are made to reach out to the public or policy makers. But when we deal
with disaster sciences, it contains a much bigger proportion of risk communication.
A similar incident happened with the outbreak of the BSE back in the late 1980’s.
Many of the measures taken according to the Southwood Committee are laudable,
but for one – science back then could not show whether or not it was contagious to
humans, and is written in the committee minutes that “it is unlikely to infect humans”.
If read thoroughly, it does refer to the risk, but since it had not been stressed, the
government started a campaign saying that “UK beef is safe”.
In the presentation, we review the L’Aquila affair and also introduce similar issues
from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. We would like to suggest how scientists should
behave when faced with giving advice on the ongoing phenomena whose future
situation cannot be forecasted scientifically, and how science communication should
be done in ordinary times to help the emergency situation.
Giuseppe Pellegrini Observa Science in Society, Gloria Pravatà Centro Nazionale
This paper analyses young people’s use of digital media for searching and exchanging
health information, focusing particularly on the issue of blood donation, transfusion
medicine and donation of cord blood. The study is based on: 1) a virtual ethnography
of youth communication practices throughout the main social networks and the
most visited blogs;2) an online survey performed on a representative sample of 1000
Italian young people between 15 and 25 years old.
Rather than the target of top-down health campaigns, communication on blood
donation and related issues is viewed as a social practice that creates and exchanges
meanings across youth audiences.
Robin L. Pierce, J.D., PhD. Delft University of Technology
The past decade has witnessed a deeply polarized debate about the potential and
use of biofuels as an alternative energy source. The phrase “Food vs Fuel” has
hovered over and, indeed, has defined many of these public debates. Abandoning
nuance, this has lead to increasingly entrenched views about the potential role of
biofuels in a transition to a more sustainable society. An important disadvantage
of this oversimplification has been the dichotomous framing of a single issue (food
versus fuel) that now dominates the debate and, more importantly, does not really
contribute to a greater understanding of whether biofuels have the potential to serve
society in the shift to a more sustainable way of living. Worse, it has the potential to
affect society in disadvantageous ways. This is because of the power of framing as a
constructed portrayal that often operates as a popular heuristic. Yet, if the solution
is to “re-frame” the discussion, other ethical challenges arise. Questions of when? by
whom? why? from what perspective? and on what basis? raise significant concerns
about the ethical underpinning of an act of changing a dominant frame even when
that initial frame possesses clear shortcomings.
This work examines the ethical issues in reframing in science communication, using
the case of the biofuels debate to illustrate 1) how ethical issues in “reframing” differ
from those in “framing” 2) the presence of ethical issues in the aesthetics of reframing
and 3) that the ethics of reframing are closely associated with issues of public policy.
While it is true that a spectrum of interests may motivate reframing, this paper makes
the case for a normative view of the ethics of reframing from a policy perspective.
Recognizing the limitation that ethical obligations may conflict with other types of
rights and duties, I identify several core ethical principles for reframing and apply
them to the current biofuels debate.
Finally, this work proposes a framework for what constitutes ethically supportable
reframing and its essential intersection with public policy. The ethical terrain of
reframing must regard both purpose (in the imposition of responsibility and obligations)
as well as respect rights. Consequently, while I conclude that a consequentialist
approach can provide a defensible grounding for ethical obligations, it must operate
within certain deontological constraints.
Nico Pitrelli Sissa – International School for Advanced Studies – Trieste – Italy
A couple of years ago, a group of prominent American universities and research
centres launched the website. The initiative, presented as the solution to
a supposedly declining scientific journalism, prompted a heated debate in the science
communication world. The website is an aggregation of press releases from the
different institutions involved. However, differently from similar previous services, the
presentation of contents follows journalistic logics and features multimedia contents.
The creators of Futurity sound enthusiastic for through the web scientists can finally
convey the “truth” about nature without media filters. Conversely, critics maintain
that the website is a misleading mixture of institutional communication, PR and real
Futurity is only an example of the possible ways in which science journalism is being
redefined as a consequence of the use of the web by researchers.
This round table aims to describe the initiatives directly promoted by scientists that
most greatly contribute to a new ecology of digital information on issues concerning
science, technology and medicine.
There are at least three trends now taking shape. is an example of
something that may be defined as “institutional disintermediation”. The website
intends to oppose and substitute the journalistic work by challenging the role of
professional operators of scientific information.
Scientists-bloggers may lead to the same outcome. However, they have a different
function. All in all, they enrich the ecosystem: they neither necessarily oppose
scientific journalists, nor they want to replace them. They enter the information field
as potential specialist sources and as generators of cultural and knowledge contests
that cannot but enhance a reformed scientific journalism. The third possibility for
scientists to contribute to journalism in the digital age is to help the communicator’s
profession regain credibility.
The discussion will be an occasion to illustrate, at a general level, the main
consequences of the advent of the Internet on scientific journalism and the specific
role played by researchers in the new processes of scientific information negotiation,
based on concrete examples.
Alexandra Plows Bangor University Wales
This paper draws on the authors’ current involvement in constructing a science
communication strategy for Bangor University, UK. Bangor has a very active natural
sciences research base with particular strengths in ocean and biological sciences.
The paper reflects on the process of communicating science communication; a
process necessitating reflexive practice, and a paring back to first principles, listening
to scientists and university senior managements’ own baseline understanding
about what science communication ‘is’ and should be for. The author presents her
reflections on an interesting journey for all concerned where some basic principles
of science communication, informed by current STS thinking on public engagement
with science, needed to be communicated and in the process examined for how well
these principles ‘travelled’ and were engaged with by the scientists. These included
explaining what post “deficit model” (Wynne 1996) science communication ‘is’;
introducing concepts of lay expertise and knowledge exchange particularly in relation
to deliberating the Ethical, Social and Legal Aspects (ELSA) of science and technology;
highlighting examples of best practice; and unpacking the concept of “publics”facilitating scientists and managers to think reflexively about which specific public
groups they wished to engage with and why.
Reflexively communicating science communication identified that primary motivations
for engaging in science communication for the scientists and senior management are
to recruit students, to get young people interested in science, and to communicate
their own research to these target groups and to a wider audience. This raises the
question of whether straightforward (though definitely post deficit model) public
understanding of science (PUS) has fallen too far out of fashion in current STS debates.
Conducting what might be termed ‘basic’ PUS is a valuable goal in and of itself, as
well as being a necessary first step in enabling scientists and others to appreciate the
value of undertaking post deficit model science communication knowledge exchange
between publics and scientists.
R. Portela IBMC, Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Porto, Portugal, T. S.Pereira
CES, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra, Colégio de São Jerónimo,
Coimbra, Portugal
This paper addresses the practices and perceptions of science communication
activities of researchers in a large health and life sciences research institute in
Portugal, the Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular (IBMC). In particular, we focus
on understanding how the attitudes, motivations, barriers and benefits identified and
perceived by researchers are related to the different profiles of scientists’ practices
and participation in such activities.
Using a web-based survey to all scientists at different career levels (from PhD students
to faculty members, in a total of 225 respondents), we characterise the levels of
participation of the researchers on science communication activities specifically aimed
to the media, schools and the general public, on the basis of descriptive statistics. The
resulting individual profiles identified are then related to individual characteristics,
such as age, gender, career position and past training in science communication.
As a first conclusion, the study showed that the majority of researchers (86.4%)
participated in science communication activities during the previous two years,
demonstrating this to be a particularly active institution in this area, and most likely
reflecting the explicit institutional policy which has placed science communication as
an institutional priority.
Nevertheless, the results show quite distinct participation profiles, with five profiles
identified based on individual participation: committed, active, regular, sporadic and
potential communicator. While these profiles are based on different participation
levels, they also reflect different attitudes and perceptions regarding science
We highlight two main findings: researchers with higher levels of participation
express more positive attitudes towards science communication than those with
lower ones and; the affiliation institution plays an important role in the researcher’s
level of participation by reaching out to the scientists and enticing them to enroll
in the institutional science communication activities. These two conclusions suggest
that scientists’ participation in science communication activities can strongly benefit
from its context of institutional support.
Toni Pou Science writer, author of the book awarded with the spanish “God Award in
Investigative Journalism”,
0. Motivation
We live in a world in which we have to handle lots of information. In this world,
critical thinking, the ability to reason, analysing and solving problems are important
skills. Science, which is a body of knowledge, but, more important, it is also a method,
could be a basic tool to improve those skills. An interesting strategy to communicate
science and improve science education could be using aesthetic elements in the
communication process in order to create a beautiful communication object. This
object might get people’s attention and make the communication process more
1. What is beauty?
If we want to use aesthetic elements in communication objects, we should have an
idea of what is beautiful and what is not beautiful. Not an easy job at all! I will try
to give some examples of beautiful things, using the classical relationship between
beauty, truth and simplicity. Finally, I will discuss some definitions of beauty.
2. Beauty in writing
Once we have an idea of what makes a thing beautiful, I will discuss how beauty can
be implemented in the writing process. I will use the concept of literary canons and
the example of the so called “New Journalism”, created in the sixties by T. Wolfe,
G. Talese, N. Mailer, T. Capote and other writers, which consisted of using literary
techniques to tell true stories.
3. Beauty in science
Science has in its very core extremely powerful aesthetic components. The fact that
we can use the same simple principle to understand lots of different phenomena that
are apparently disconnected can cause a deep feeling of beauty. A different feeling
that may have the same intensity as the feelings that music, literature or cinema
can bring. To give an example, I will use the story of Einstein, who was convinced,
just because of its beauty, that his general theory of relativity was right before the
experiments were carried out.
4. Conclusion
Although is very difficult to get to a general conclusion on how to create beautiful
written objects to communicate science, the main point is, in my opinion, to use the
inherent beauty of science and use aesthetic writing tools. I will give some examples
that contain all the elements I mentioned during the talk and some examples that
Leonie Rennie Curtin University
Communicating science through informal avenues, such as museums and
interpretative centres, is characterized by choice. People may choose to notice and
accept the opportunities to learn about science, or they may not. If they do choose,
then they are generally in control of how they interpret the science information
that is offered. However, the science that is offered is not the science that scientists
work with. Instead, most informal avenues of science communication, including
museums, zoos, botanical gardens and environmental centres, print and electronic
media, present their information in story form. This requires selecting, packaging and
presenting science information in such a way that the intended audience is motivated
to engage with it. The term “story” is used to describe the result of this process of
deconstructing and then reconstructing the target science information, because
by selectively presenting ideas and information a story is created. Developing that
science-related story needs a thorough understanding of the audience, because the
audience members will understand and make use of it, according to their own needs,
interests and experience.
This paper explores some of the factors that determine how such science stories are
developed and presented, and provides examples from science centres and museums
of how the stories are interpreted. The paper begins with an exploration of the
typical agendas of science museums and their audiences, then moves to a discussion
of how science-based exhibits are developed as a means of communication the
science stories and the factors that determine how the audience responds to them.
It is emphasized that for communication to occur, there must be a two-way dynamic
interaction between the science story and its audience. Specific research examples are
presented to illustrate audience responses to science stories that are both intended
and unintended. The paper concludes with a discussion of the issues science exhibit
developers need to consider in order to promote effective communication of science
through the stories that are told by their exhibits.
Andrea Retzbach University of Koblenz-Landau, Institute of Communication Psychology
and Media Education, Joachim Marschall University of Koblenz-Landau, Institute
of Communication Psychology and Media Education, Michaela Maier University of
Koblenz-Landau, Institute of Communication Psychology and Media Education, Lars
Günther Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Institute of Communication Research
Following Karl Popper’s (1976) idea that scientific theories cannot ultimately be
proven true, it is widely acknowledged among researchers that scientific evidence
can be rather weak or strong but never conclusive. Thus, in order to make truly
informed decisions on the private and the societal level, the public has to be informed
not only about the advantages and possibilities, but also about the inherent risks
and uncertainties of scientific innovations. Deduced from these ideas, we propose
that high-quality science communication must consider and represent scientific
uncertainty (cf. Funtowicz & Ravetz, 1990). But how do people react when they
are presented with information that stress the uncertainty of scientific evidence?
According to the cultivation theory (Gerbner et al., 1986), the public view on science
could – at least in the long run – be affected by the way science and scientific evidence
is presented on TV. These effects can be positive in a sense that people form more
“sophisticated beliefs” about science, but it is also possible that the presentation of
uncertainty is associated with unwanted side effects, such as negative beliefs about
and lower interest in science. To systematically analyze these effects, we conducted
a field experiment with two experimental and three control groups (N = 700). During
six weeks, the participants of the experimental groups watched a short TV clip about
molecular medicine every week. These clips either presented scientific findings as
uncertain or certain. Results indicate that the exposure to uncertainty leads to a
more sophisticated understanding of scientific evidence, and it does not elicit lower
interest in science or in the presented domain (cancer and cancer treatment). We
also found that most participants do not hold science or scientists responsible for
problems concerning the diagnosis or treatment of cancer, even when presented
with uncertain evidence. But those who were exposed to rather certain scientific
evidence were more optimistic that science might help to overcome problems with
diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In sum, we can conclude that presenting science
as rather uncertain might slightly reduce the enthusiasm toward science as a solution
for (health) problems. But it does not lead to an overall rejection of science. On the
contrary, it rather seems to foster a more sophisticated view on science.
Gema Revuelta Science Communication Observatory, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
(Barcelona, Spain), Cristina Corchero
The main aim of this study is to deepen the knowledge about how Spanish citizens
access to information on science and technology (S & T). We proposed one main
hypothesis: Citizens access to information on S & T through two different patterns: one
active and one passive. In the passive pattern information comes to citizens without
making a specific effort to find it, while in the passive one citizen makes an effort to
access to information or resources which require a certain level of participation.
To analyse the veracity of our hypotheses we used the data from the Survey of Social
Perception of Science 2019 (a random sample of 7747 citizens).
The observed results allow us to conclude that, indeed, among the Spanish population
there are two different patterns in relation to access to information on science and
technology. One way to access that information is through passive reception, without
requiring more effort to be in contact with general media (TV, general newspapers,
radio, non specialized magazines, non specialized books, and general media on line).
A second way is through the selective and active search in electronic search engines,
blogs, social networks and specialized magazines.
Citizens are mainly divided into a 50.3% that are both “active searchers and passive
recipients” of information and a 44.3% that only are “passive recipients”. A small
group respond in a way that can be interpreted just as “active searchers” (3.8%)
and even fewer (1.6%) appear like they did not actively search or passively receive
Specifically, the most active in relation to the search for scientific information are
those with a medium or high educational level, older than 14 and younger than 44
years, men, people higher incomes, the ones who consider themselves politically left
wing, atheists, agnostics and indifferent in religious matters. Relations between the
active search for information on science and technology and religious and political
trends found in this research raise a number of new questions and issues to explore.
Interest in science and technology is also related with a more active behaviour.
In conclusion, the active search of information about science and technology can be
interpreted as a positive value in the development of individuals in the knowledge
society. Some ideological and socio-demographic characteristics, as well as a higher
interest in science and technology, are associated with active search.
Tyrone Ridgway Australian Institute of Marine Science, The UWA Oceans Institute,
Ben Radford Australian Institute of Marine Science, The UWA Oceans Institute,
Andrew Heyward Australian Institute of Marine Science, The UWA Oceans Institute
A 2009 public survey revealed that 85% of Australians are at least somewhat interested
in developments in science and technology, yet most Australian marine scientists
argue that, besides their research publications they do not have the time or training
to communicate their research to resource managers or the public. As such, resource
managers and the public are often left out in the cold when trying to satisfy their
scientific information inquiry needs. This situation is particularly acute on the newly
World Heritage listed Ningaloo Coast in NW Australia where over 75% of the residents
are dissatisfied with the communication of the science from the region – especially
considering that recent government funding has led to 90 scientific publications from
2005-2011. Moreover, the Ningaloo Coast is faced with rapidly increasing annual
human visitation, and the Ningaloo Marine Park zoning plan is up for review in 2015
– resulting in resource managers being eager to access the best possible science to
utilise in their future planning.
Given that less than 1% of the recent funding was allocated to dissemination and
communication, the Ningaloo Atlas experiment has been created in response to
the need for more comprehensive and accessible information on environmental
and socio-economic data for the Ningaloo Coast. A small team of marine scientists
have embarked on a project to develop a user-friendly web and social media based
information management and communication system to foster the gap created by
the lack of communication by marine scientists to improve understanding, share
information, raise awareness, and aid in informed decision making. In contrast to a
similar product for the Great Barrier Reef where marine scientists have not engaged
with potential end users and generated an Atlas based on what they as scientists
believe is important and useful, the Ningaloo Atlas team has actively engaged with
researchers, resource managers, and the public to listen to what they think and want
in the product – with constant evaluation being a key component in the Atlas delivery.
Given the diversity of the Ningaloo audience, the general increasing fragmentation
of audiences, and the rapid expansion of multi-media elements in the education and
communication sphere, we believe that the integration of evaluation at all phases
of the project process has been fundamental to the rapid uptake and success of the
Atlas by diverse users.
Visit us at
Hauke Riesch Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, Clive Potter
Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London
OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) is a large scale “citizen science” public engagement
project in England that is engaging volunteers in gathering scientific data on
biodiversity, water quality, earthworms, air quality and climate change, as well
as several independent smaller volunteer science projects. Drawing on debates
concerning the nature and validity of participatory knowledge production and the
implications for traditional boundaries between experts and publics, this paper
reports on a study of the experiences and assessments of the scientists involved. It
looks at the question of whether participatory science projects can overcome some
of the institutional and career obstacles typically encountered by scientists working
in public engagement work. The paper further explores the nature of knowledge
production in these circumstances, the way it is deployed by the scientists and the
implications for professional identity and policy engagement.
Rolando Riley Corzo Mexico, Julieta Valentina García Méndez Mexico, Patricia
Hernández Juan Mexico, Vidalma del Rosario Bezares Sarmiento Mexico
This proposal is based on the use of the image on the scientific communication, from
the discipline of the visual rhetoric to achieve its feasibility in the social appropriation
of science in Chiapas’s rural communities. And the following strategies for it appear
to be:
To motivate to the scientific society to use a visual language as effective tool
of communication with the purpose of spreading the results of its labor in benefit of
the communities with those who work and others.
To offer a practical option to the scientists to spread (to exhibit and to express
in an accessible language) their knowledge to society.
To use the visual rhetoric as an proposal that translates the specialized
language of the scientists into a visual language.
To revalue the possibilities of efficiency and the aesthetics of the image in
To evaluate the social impact of this study in the communities with reference
to the level of appropriation of this knowledge that was achieved in every community
inside the proposal. As well as to measure the influence that the visual rhetoric for
the appropriation of this knowledge had.
The proposal has an academic character that will be present during the process, first
studying the problem of the lack of information and the cultural differences through
that the population lives in the south of Mexico, trying to rescue the possibilities of
efficiency and aesthetics that takes the image as an accessible language for all the
cultures. After the problem is in context and the need that has the society to understand
the scientific language of the scientists, proposes a scientific communication itself
across the use of the rhetorical image.
Patricia Rios Cabello Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey,
Campus Ciudad de México
How does architecture and public science communication relate? Could aesthetics
become an instrument to enhance scientific communication and cultural
identification? Nowadays, a multidisciplinary approach is fundamental to engage the
public in order to communicate scientific knowledge, increase comprehension, and
promote opinion making. This article explores the physical and conceptual relations
between public science communication and the museums design as an asset to
promote science understanding and technology appropriation.
Museums have evolved from being closed enclosures with exclusive access, to public
knowledge centers. Today, participatory activities, engagement, dynamic sceneries,
and interactive platforms, are part of the modus operandi of science and technology
museums. From previous investigations, we have learned that the key to a successful
learning experience is to involve the audience by allowing them to perceive knowledge
through their senses. Science and technology museums should therefore establish
a connection among design, information, and public; creating an environment that
enhances active participation in order to internalize and retain information in the
long-term memory.
Throughout history, architecture has been responsible for designing and shaping the
space we live in. It has provided shelter for human beings, but it has also proven to
be a cultural, political, and economic expression, as well as a social and technological
statement of society and its time. Aesthetics is part of the design process that
materializes concepts into physical forms and sensorial experiences. Therefore, the
museums design is the first step to establish a dialogue with its visitors, and start the
communicating process.
Having this in mind, it becomes part of the design process to aim towards these
objectives, attracting and engaging public from all ages. Communicating science
should become part of the social and cultural imaginary. The museum must be itself an
expression of science and technology. Through forms, sensations, spaces, materials,
accessibility, and technologies, a museum has the responsibility of bringing together
culture and scientific knowledge. It is important to establish a relation between
design elements, society, and public science communication objectives. This set of
associations will allow us to design museums that heighten the connection between
science and visitors, generating a memorable learning experience.
Dominique Robert Ph.D. Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Martin
Dufresne Ph.D. Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
How does an advocate scientist, who is also the head of a governmental forensic
service, urge the politicians and decision-makers of his country to expand the national
DNA database, while respecting both the imperatives of scientific honesty and his
political mission? This contribution argues that honesty in science and in politics,
while conventionally construed as incompatible (science and knowledge versus
politics, ideals, actions) are intertwined in practice. First, the paper briefly presents
some elements of Bruno Latour’s incursion into anthropology of “modern” sciences.
The aim here is come to terms with the crude distinction between facts and beliefs (or
fetishes). In order to replace this dichotomy, we will use Latour’s notion of “factishes”
(2009), according to which facticity share simultaneously the realist and constructivist
epistemologies and therefore the realm of fact (truths) and construction (beliefs).
The second part of the paper shows the results of our analysis of the speeches a
prominent government scientist presented to the Senate to explain the science of
genetics, the functioning of DNA fingerprinting in the criminal justice system and
engaged the political representatives of Canada regarding the development of DNA
collection and storage. Seen through the modern science imperatives, one can think
the scientist has fallen from science into pure politics. On the other hand, we argue
that the speeches under study are exemplar of an astute and unavoidable back and
forth movement between the realm of fabrication and adoration, a transition that is
imbedded in scientific communication. This case is particularly rich for it illustrates
how communication takes place, and knowledge effectively transfers, at the border
of two social spheres (How scientist succeed in making meaning for non-scientists
with a policy agenda) and how a liminal character (the advocate scientist directing a
forensic service) reconciles the imperatives of his plural allegiances.
Paola Rodari SISSA Medialab, Trieste (IT) and Ecsite The Group Steering Committee,
Maria Xanthoudaki Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, Milano (IT)
and Ecsite The Group Steering Committee, Anne-Lise Mathieu Universcience Cité des
Sciences et de l’Industrie, Paris (FR) and Ecsite The Group Steering Committee
Explainers, pilots, facilitators, mediators, educators; whatever their name is, these
professionals have an essential role in science centres and museums (but also in
outreach activities of university and research institutes); they are the human, direct
interface with the public, and have a relevant responsibility in the success of the
communication of their institutions. A key factor determining the quality of their
work is training.
THE group, the Thematic Human Interface Group is a working group of Ecsite, the
European network of science centres and museums, dealing since 2007 with the
professionalization of explainers. Survey on their status, role and training needs
have been carried on, training courses at a European level have been organized (and
carefully evaluated), and many international seminars have been held to exchange
the best practices and to discuss the pros and cons of the different training schemes.
The talk will present the state-of-the art of these activities, discussing data and
analysis regarding:
- Who are the explainers? Demographic data and job description of the European
- How are they trained? Different training schemes and practices in the different
- The European explainers learning community: programmes and evaluation results
of the training courses held in the framework of THE group;
- The PILOTS HUB: the online explainers’ learning community;
- Towards the professionalization of explainers: international debate and trends.
Cristina Rodriguez Luque CEU Cardinal Herrera University, Pilar Paricio Esteban CEU
Cardinal Herrera University, Francisco Nüñez -Romero Olmo CEU Cardinal Herrera
Communicating medical controversial issues implies some responsibilities for the
mass media related to fairness, honesty, truth and balance (Lacy, Fico, & Simon, 1991).
The aim of this study is to analyze the journalistic coverage of the stories published
about the process of the Law of Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary
Interruption of Pregnancy in El País and ABC in 2009 and 2010 when it was discussed
in the Congress. The stories analyzed are retrieved using the database MyNews
with the keyword “aborto”. The sample is randomly constructed by following the
indications of the constructed week (Riffe, Aust, & Lacy, 1993). 387 stories have been
obtained (159 in El Pas y 228 in ABC) and a double methodology developed. On the
one hand, content analysis has been used from the perspective of Framing (Durant,
Bauer, & Gaskell, 1998; Nisbet, Brossard, & Kroepsch, 2003). On the other hand, a
morphological and structural analysis has been developed (Kayser, 1982). The results
show that the most highlighted frame is political (243 texts), followed by ethical (220).
It is remarkable that in 45% of the texts there is not personal sources quoted. Other
variables as genre, format, political arena, sources and their positioning about the
law in parliamentary process are described. Although most of the texts studied are
information (49.1%), most of them don’t have a neutral tone (23% in favor and 30.2%
against). This means that the editorial lines of the analyzed newspapers are present
in the published news on abortion.
Durant, J., Bauer, M. W., & Gaskell, G. (1998). Biotechnology in the Public Sphere. A
European Sourcebook. Londres: Science Museum.
Gans, H. (1979/2004). Deciding What’s News. Evanston, Illinois: North Western
University Press.
Kayser, J. (1982). El diario francés. Barcelona: ATE.
Lacy, S., Fico, F., & Simon, T. F. (1991). Fairness and Balance in the prestige press.
Journalism Quarterly, 68(3), 363-370.
Nisbet, M. C., Brossard, D., & Kroepsch, A. (2003). Framing science: The stem cell
controversy in an age of press/politics. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics,
8(2), 36-70.
Riffe, D., Aust, C. F., & Lacy, S. R. (1993). Effectiveness of random, consecutive day
and Constructed Week in Newspaper Content Analysis Journalism Quarterly, 70(1),
Alice Ruddigkeit University of Mannheim, Matthias Kohring University of Mannheim,
Frank Marcinkowski University of Münster
Everything that happens in the world can be observed and described from very
different angles and every social system has a certain view on it. Legality is the concern
of the law system, whereas understandability is a demand from an educational
perspective and things that are somehow relevant for political power have a meaning
to the political system.
Collecting these various perspectives and contextualizing events in their relevance
for several social systems is in general the function of journalism. Science journalism
does the same. Hence, our research interest was the question whether there are
certain types of journalistic contextualization of science and if social sciences differ to
other research fields in a significant way.
We examined 16 disciplines for their coverage and reconstruction in German print
news during the years 2008 and 2009. Our approach enabled us to observe and
describe reporting characteristics by comparative benchmarks and without normative
expectations of “adequate coverage”.
A content analysis with a representative sample of 100 articles per discipline measured
the relevance criteria journalists used. For example informatics was often observed
from an economic perspective and biology by its scientific adequacy.
By applying a cluster analysis we found six types of contextualization. We found that
due to its medical use psychology, the most frequent mentioned research field, is
reconstructed similarly to biology, neurosciences and veterinary medicine (type 1).
History (type 2) seems to have a unique status in German journalism as it is highly
relevant in scientific and moral terms. A cluster out of philosophy, economics, law
and communications (type 3) forms the only type which is hardly described nor
questioned from a scientific perspective. Both type 2 and type 3 show essential
structural differences to the other research fields. Instead of the science sections of
newspapers they do appear more frequently in the society or culture sections. No
pioneer research was described. Surprisingly the field of archaeology and classical
studies partners with geology (type 4) as a result of their shared emotional potential.
Informatics and architecture (type 5) peak out in their contextualization from a
technical and economic point of view and the question of public attention. Chemistry,
mathematics and materials science (type 6) are discussed in their technical potentials
and scientific standing. Further type details will be presented and discussed.
Subhasis Sahoo National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Parisila
Bhawan, New Delhi, India, Binay Kumar Pattnaik Department of Humanities and
Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Post-World War II has witnessed several dozen science communication organizations
in both developed and developing countries. Science communication organizations are
distinguished by their explicit mission to seek ways to use science for the benefit of the
public and by their connections to social movements. While science communication
organizations have been around for a century by now (the American Association of
Scientific Workers was founded in 1918), in recent years several newer organizations
emerged with a focus on environment, science, education, health, and justice. Science
communication organizations are generally located outside the government, often in
opposition to government policies. Some pursue confrontational politics associated
with participatory research in direct opposition to “mainstream” science. Others tend
to reform-minded advocacy and sometimes in specific policy contexts. Even some
are more successful than others. Success here is seen as a function of how clearly
organizational goals are defined and how effectively its available resources – financial,
human, professional, and communication – are used for mobilizing support so that
the established institutions take seriously the aims expressed by the movement.
Yet, there is any systematic attempt to analyze the role of science communication
organizations in mobilizing resources. This paper intends to investigate questions
such as: What is the relevance of resource mobilization theory (RMT) in science
communication and public understanding of science? Why do we consider RMT, an
appropriate perspective to study science communication? Our paper explores these
research questions and examines them within a localized context (e.g. Maharasthra,
an western-Indian state) through the lens of science communication organization (e.g.
MVP: Marathi Vigyan Parishad). Our analysis is based on the gathered data through
participant observations, face-to-face open-ended interviews (with various actors of
MVP), guided by a pre-designed and tested questionnaire, combing websites and
printed documents of the MVP (1966-2005).
Carla Sandim ERA Virtual, Rodrigo Coelho ERA Virtual
The project ERA Virtual – Museums was developed in order to increase the
dissemination and promotion of the cultural and scientific information in Brazil.
It entails the creation and diffusion of interactive and immersion virtual tours on
Museums and on Brazilian Science Centres in 4 different languages: Portuguese,
Spanish, French, and English.
Such virtual tours offer the user the perspective of a true visit. They are available free
of charge on the internet through the website and also on DVDROMs that are distributed for free as well. The virtual visitor wends different ways
and undergoes interactive experiences with the museological space. Besides that, all
the collection can be zoomed in and out, seen from a 360° perspective, accessed via
the multimedia, and experienced through interactive games.
To democratize the access to information of Museum by means of a web address
whose access would be public and free;
To disseminate and promote the Science and the Technology by means of virtual
tours to real exhibitions, widening therefore their social and cultural scopes;
To create a cultural product of good quality that can be adopted as free didactic
material in schools and also be used as a source for researches and studies in the
domains of museology, preservation and security of collections;
To turn Brazil into a reference point in the process of exhibition and democratization
of the information.
It has made available 15 virtual visits to Museums on the following address: www.;
It has received great reception from the press, television, and the internet with regard
to the dissemination of each launched visit;
There is a forecast for developing virtual visits of more than 20 Museums in 2012;
It has established a partnership with the Ministry of Education and the State
Secretariat of Education in order to ensure free pressing and distribution of virtual
visit DVDs to state schools.
The building of an interactive support for virtual visits to museums makes feasible a
considerable expansion of its social and cultural scopes; not only because the internet
makes the access greater, but also because such project modernizes the language,
improving therefore the communication with children and youngsters. ERA VIRTUAL
is a network of museums available to virtual visit whose initiative has become a
reference point in the process of democratization of science and culture by means of
the internet.
Stefano Sandrelli INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Brera
In May 2000, ESRIN, the Italian establishment of the European Space Agency (ESA),
started a collaboration with the television channel Rainews.
Born about 10 years ago, Rainews is the “all-news” digital channel of the Italian public
television (RAI). It transmits 24 hours in a day and it is the most diffuse all-news
channel in Italy. Thanks to its staff and the many experts who take part to the in depth
analysis, RaiNews is perceived as an authoritative and reliable source of information
by the Italian public opinion. It is a quite rare white whale in the Italian information
In the first 5 years of collaboration, each Thursday an ESA representative (Stefano
Sandrelli) was interviewed by a professional journalist of RAI, as a 5-6 minutes
deepening of the 5 p.m. edition of News and broadcasterd live. The interviews were
replied on Thursday night and in the early morning of Saturday.
Year by year the collaboration grew up to reach a 30-60 minutes duration. It began a
real programme with a title, Spacelab. Thanks to the effort of Marco Dedola (Rainews)
and Valerio Rossi Albertini (CNR), during last Spring we got relevant audience results.
Now we are broadcasted live from 10 pm to 10:30 or 11:00 pm, and replied 4 times
in the following days. The Auditel data shows from 300 to 500 thousands spectators
every week, with a significant increase of the audience with respect both to the
previous and the following programme of Rainews. It show that Spacelab has a
Interviews are largely informal and close to a dialogue rather than an academic point
of view “from the space”. They are strictly linked to the weekly news and prepared
in the morning of the same day. The 30-minutes-duration interviews also involve
another guest, chosen by Rainews according to the specific argument.
The subject is chosen among the most debated news of the week, going from Dark
Energy to an Earthquake, from an astronaut mission on the ISS to the famous neutrinofaster-than-the-light experiment. Video, images and animations are provided by the
ESA television service and by press agencies.
We deal with research as a human activity, so that doubts and criticisms are welcome
during the interview. As a result of eleven years of uninterrupted collaboration, we
have overcome 500 hundreds interviews, quite a record for RAI. About 40% of them
are dedicated to astronomy, which is now seen by Rainews as an source of daily news.
Sergio Scamuzzi Università degli Studi di Torino, Selena Agnella Centro
Interuniversitario Agorà Scienza, Vincenzo Barone Università degli Studi del Piemonte
Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”, Andrea De Bortoli Centro Interuniversitario Agorà
Scienza, Enrico Predazzi Centro Interuniversitario Agorà Scienza, Isabella Susa Centro
Interuniversitario Agorà Scienza
We present the results of a recent extensive survey aimed at investigating attitudes,
motivations, obstacles and practices of science communication in the Italian physics
Data have been obtained from Computer-Assisted Web survey conducted on the
entire community of physicists.
In particular we have studied the perception and representation researchers
(physicists in this case) have of science, of different segments of their public and of
their own role; their perceived ethics and social responsibility; their communication
practices outside the restricted scientific community and the impact of generation
and gender on the entire process.
Methodologically we see two main points of interest:
(i) the target of the survey is represented by the scientists and researchers community,
whereas other works are typically focused on lay public; (ii) a longitudinal approach is
adopted, so that the large panel of this research will be a permanent benefit as it will
be possible to monitor the data evolution over time. Point (i) is especially relevant in
its reversing the usual focus summarized in the “Public Engagement with Science and
The project provides new research evidence-based insights and formulates guidelines
to improve the communication and social engagement of the scientific community.
Dietram A. Scheufele University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michael A. Cacciatore
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elizabeth A. Corley Arizona St. University, Philip
Shapira Georgia Institute of Technology, Jan Youtie Georgia Institute of Technology
Recently, there has been growing interest in, and calls for, increased social science
involvement in the assessment of emerging technologies, including nanotechnology
(Shapira, Youtie, & Porter, 2010). However, we still know little of how leading
nanoscientists form regulatory attitudes about the technology and view the
communication of research findings with the public. Moreover, there are – to our
knowledge – no studies exploring the extent to which the opinions expressed by
nanoscientists in public opinion surveys match their actual practices.
To address these issues, we have combined an opinion survey of leading U.S.
nanoscientists with data of these same scientists’ environmental health and safety
(EHS) publication records. Our analysis confirms that nanoscientists with EHS
publications are generally more in favor of revised nano regulations. Given the
absence of a precautionary principle in the U.S., we speculate that people working
and publishing in EHS areas may feel the need to serve as watchdogs for the nanotech
industry, and view EHS publications as one means of doing so. Second, there is strong
evidence that more liberal scientists see a greater need for new nano regulations.
This relationship holds even after controlling for factors, such as trust in regulatory
agencies and perceptions of risks and benefits. This suggests that, much like ordinary
citizens, ideology is one of the heuristics that scientists rely upon when forming
regulatory stances (Scheufele, 2006).
Perhaps most importantly, our analysis reveals several significant predictors of
nanoscientists’ attitudes toward the immediate communication of scientific findings
with the public. First, we find that it is the newer scientists – those who have held
their PhD’s for a shorter period of time – who see a greater need for immediate
communication with the public. This may be illustrative of the steady rise in formal
communication training opportunities for scientists and recognition within the field
of the importance of scientist-journalist interactions on public perceptions of science.
Second, we find that perceptions of risks and EHS publication record are strong and
positive predictors of nanoscientists’ attitudes toward immediate communication.
These relationships suggest avenues for risk information to make its way into public
discourse surrounding nanotechnology and is the focal point of our study.
Renato Schibeci Murdoch University Murdoch Western Australia 6150 , Catherine
Baudains Murdoch University Murdoch Western Australia 6150 , Davina Boyd
Murdoch University Murdoch Western Australia 6150 , Marleen Buizer Centre of
Excellence for Climate Change Woodland and Forest Health Murdoch University
Murdoch Western Australia 6150
The research question this paper examines is: How do science centres conceptualise
science communication? Many scientists work in research groups, including science
research centres, so in this paper we use the research centre as a grouping of interest.
We use “science” to include science, mathematics, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM), even though we recognise that some of those working in some
of these fields would object.
We first examine the international context of science communication. Recent
research in science communication, for example, has assumed a shift from the
“public understanding of science” to “public engagement with science”, or from
“deficit” to “democracy”. In this context, a recent report noted: Australia requires
a vigorous, high-quality national strategy for public engagement with the sciences.
‘Such a strategy would increase appreciation of science in Australian culture, facilitate
informed citizen participation in decision making and science policy development’.
This was one of the key statements in the first ever science communication report to
the Australian government (Inspiring Australia, 2010: xvii). What is the role of STEM
centres in achieving these aims?
Second, we examine the conception of science communication held by those
designated as responsible for the centre’s science communication. Our investigation
leads us to the conclusion that a “business model” of communication is evident; this
model is consistent with a “deficit model” identified in much science communication
research. This model has been widely criticised by “public engagement with science”
researchers, who have proposed “dialogue” models of communication, in which
citizens work actively with science knowledge, as well as drawing on knowledge
which is specific to a local context. One issue which arises from this investigation is
the view (or views) held by the science researchers in the centres.
Third, we examine what science researchers regard as science communication.
Research generally reports a “deficit model” of science communication when
scientists’ views are investigated. However, some research (e.g., Davies, 2008) suggest
that there are some discourses other than the dominant “one-way communication”
framework evident in her interviews with scientists.
Finally, we reflect on the role of centres in helping inspire a nation about STEM,
particularly through “engagement” activities by the centre scientists.
S. D. Searle The Australian National University, Centre for the Public Awareness of
Science, S. Stocklmayer The Australian National University, Centre for the Public
Awareness of Science
This paper describes the professional and personal benefits that scientists in Australia
identified from their own experience of communicating with the general public. Sixtytwo per cent of the 1,521 participants in an Internet-based survey gave examples of
how they benefited and these were grouped into 11 broad, emergent themes such
as “Positive feelings about themselves, their communication and their work”, “Work
or personal success”, and “Public understanding/awareness/support for science”.
Although any one of these emergent themes may not surprise researchers and
practitioners within the science communication field, in totality they project a more
positive image of scientists’ experiences than has generally been presented in the
science communication literature.
Nearly one in five scientists described positive feelings about themselves, their
communication and their work. These intrinsic positive emotions included satisfaction,
enjoyment and self esteem. That many scientists enjoyed sharing their knowledge
and communicating with and learning from the general public, and gained many
other benefits has important implications for scientists, their employers, the science
profession and the communication of science.
Connie St Louis City University London, James Brookes City University London
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC), Ofcom and the BBC Trust are the watchdogs
and/or regulators of their respective media sectors in the UK. All three accept
complaints from dissatisfied media consumers or participants and, in the interests of
transparency, publish such adjudications openly on the internet. Their websites thus
serve as repositories of information on breaches of good journalistic practice and
quality of reporting.
However, despite this transparency, few are prepared to trawl such vast repositories
to extract the overarching themes. We present an investigation looking at all the
adjudicated complaints dealt with by the media watchdogs during the last 5 years
(up to mid-2011) for science and health-related content. Analysis of the number and
nature of complaints as well the identities of frequent complaints and relevant media
outlets will give an overview of the quality of science journalism from the point of
view of the consumer and an indication of whether the watchdogs, who recently
have come under scrutiny, are effective in their work.
Initial analysis so far of the 250 science or health-related complaints adjudicated
or resolved by the PCC suggests this last question to be particularly important. Few
complaints were received on matters (Climate Gate, MMR-autism) where the quality
of scientific journalism could be called into question and there is some indication that
lobbying groups are more likely to complain to the PCC than members of the public
without vested interests. The work of specialist publications and indeed specialist
science journalists is rarely subject to complaints, indicating perhaps both a higher
quality of journalism from such sources and their reluctance to engage in the more
intrusive “dirty work” of investigative journalism that is frequently the subject of
complaints in other fields.
Alison Stokes University of Oxford, UK, Carolyn Roberts Environmental Sustainability
Knowledge Transfer Network, University of Oxford, UK, Kate Crowley Catholic Overseas
Development Agency (CAFOD), UK, Lindsey McEwen University of Gloucester, UK
In summer 2007 a period of intense and localized rainfall resulted in flooding which
devastated homes and businesses across western counties of England. Although
there was no loss of life, local authorities were clearly under-prepared for the
physical, economic, and societal impacts of an event of this scale. This prompted
the UK government to introduce new legislation requiring local authorities to take
greater responsibility for managing and mitigating the risks of flooding. For this to
be effective, professional stakeholders need to understand fundamental concepts in
flood science in which they may have no prior knowledge or experience. Engagement
with research and flood scientists is therefore critical to developing the knowledge
needed to effectively manage flood hazards. Similarly, however, researchers have
much to learn about the needs of those involved in managing floods; communication
is a two-way process.
To date there has been relatively little research into the communication of flood
science research across the researcher-practitioner interface, and the effectiveness
of different methods of engagement is largely untested. Project FOSTER is exploring
good practice in flood science communication by applying and evaluating different
learning and communication tools designed to encourage knowledge exchange
between academic researchers and local government representatives. A programme
of workshops has been delivered to local government officers and elected Council
Members in three distinct formats: standard tutor-led workshops; role-playing
exercises using floodplain planning and emergency response scenarios; and seminars
delivered through the interactive, on-line virtual world Second Life. The effectiveness
of these tools in communicating flood science has been evaluated using a combination
of qualitative and quantitative approaches to explore participants’ learning
experiences, together with perceived impacts on their knowledge levels and decisionmaking/communication skills. Along with key findings and recommendations, we
report on the value of engaging flood scientists in the delivery of workshop materials,
and reflect on some of the challenges inherent in communicating complex scientific
knowledge to non-specialist professionals.
Jedrzej Sulmowski Leuphana University of Lueneburg
Public discourses on controversial technologies, like agro-biotechnology, produce a
variety of communicative actions. They are rich in texts, pictures and performative
acts struggling for credibility and authority. The main currency of such struggles is
often scientific evidence. This is also the case in the agro-biotechnology discourse in
Poland that has been intensified since 2009, when the new proposal of the law on
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has got under deliberation. By referring to
and commenting on scientific evidence about environmental and health hazards of
GMOs the actors involved in the discourse not only (re-)interpret results of scientific
studies but they simultaneously transport various views of science. For example both
proponents and opponents of GMOs call for sound science as a base for political
decision making. This corresponds in some cases to a positivist view of science as
speaking truth to power. In contrast voices addressing the need for a democratization
of science reveal a view of science in a way that conceives science as an enterprise
that is not free from social and political influence.
In my presentation I show firstly what are the different views of science the
participants of the agro-biotechnology discourse in Poland transport in their attempts
to communicate on scientific evidence and its quality. Since the communicative
actions of the discourse actors are performed mostly in multimodal settings I analyse
both textual and pictorial messages. Secondly, I try to develop some criteria on how
the quality of science communication in the agro-biotechnology discourse could be
evaluated by considering the underlying views of science.
Julia Tagüeña-Martinez Centro de Investigación en Energía, Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México, Mexico, G. Iñiguez, K.K. Kaski Centre of Excellence in
Computational Complex Systems Research, Department of Biomedical Engineering
and Computational Science, Aalto University School of Science, Finland, R. A. Barrio
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Human societies, with their social interactions between individuals and organizing
structures, are examples of the dynamical complex systems where the network
approach and mathematical modeling have turned out to be crucial in the
understanding of their dynamical behavior. One of the interesting phenomena in a
society – describable as a social network – is the process of opinion formation among
people. Here we present the results of a model of coevolving social networks applied
to the mechanisms of the spreading scientific information among people under the
influence of science communication, such that during the process people may adopt
it as truth, or reject it. The key ingredient is to consider the information available to
all individuals as an external field that can influence the individual decision processes.
A good example of this situation is how much scientific and technological knowledge
determines the public engagement with polemic issues that affect society.
Certainly, science literacy is not the only parameter involved in forming opinions.
The attitudes of individuals depend on their cultural, educational, and environmental
differences. Within our model, the personal and external effects are taken into
account by assigning an attitude parameter to each individual and by subjecting
him to external and homogeneous field to mimic the effect of mass media. We have
compared the results of our model study with the actual data on scientific perception
surveys carried out in two different populations in order to analyze their peculiarities.
We have also shown that current surveys are not enough for probing the intertwined
relationship between social communities and opinion, but only measure the averaged
results emanating from the social dynamics. We suggest that these surveys could
be greatly improved by integrating data over time and keeping track details of the
network topology.
Midori Takahashi Shizuoka Science Museum
The social circumstance around science and technology are getting more complex
and a solution to the social issues remains unclear. In responding to this, National
Science-Technology Basic Plan has shifted to deepen the relationship between the
society and science-technology innovation in its fourth period. In order to achieve
it by gaining public understanding, secure venues for citizens are needed to acquire
information on science and technology and participate in the discussion of social
issues that are caused by science and technology.
A local survey on science and technology in the community supports this circumstance.
In Shizuoka City where Shizuoka Science Museum locates, almost 70% of the
respondents feel interest in science and society, but only about 33% of them feels
that they have venues to participate in science activities.
The project to cultivate science communication in a local community, granted by
Japan Science and Technology Agency for five years and started in November 2010,
aims at providing a number of local science activities where the public gets in touch
with science and technology and for that it holds three key emphases: developing a
network of science activity practitioners such as science museums, industry, colleges
and universities and NPO’s; producing science communicators and utilizing them for
local science activities; developing a driving system to sustain the culture of science
and technology.
The project starts from training lay publics in the local community as science
communicators and utilizes them as an intermediate of scientists and local publics.
The role of science communicators is to introduce a variety of science and technology
including the forefront science and social issues. The network of science activity
practitioners would work to secure a number of diverse opportunities so that science
communicators facilitate the understanding of science and technology as well as the
discussions among the local publics.
The project has been effective in terms of incorporating science communication to
the local science activities and promoting public participation to the science activities,
resulting in effective bridge between scientists by utilizing lay publics as science
communicators. A sustainable system of the cultivation further needs to be sought.
Mico Tatalovic Deputy news editor at SciDev.Net; board of directors for the Association
of British Science Writers; freelancer for a range of Croatian outlets
I will present contemporary examples of science comic books with their differing
aesthetics. I will also discuss merits and pitfall of communicating science through
comic book form. How does the art form help and hamper adequate communication
of science and the message sent? The talk will be based on my review article on science
comics in JCOM (“Science comics as tools for science education and communication:
a brief, exploratory study”:
9A02/?searchterm=None/) and a review paper on educational medical comics that
has been submitted to Anatomical Education Sciences journal.
F.M. te Molder University of Twente/Wageningen University - The Netherlands
Current practices of science communication – even if aimed at interaction – tend
to start from the assumption that the “publics” need or desire the communication
offered. However, many communities talk about science and technology themselves,
or at least discuss the fields to which these insights apply. Society is not only talking
back (cf. Nowotny et al. 2001), it is already talking.
To take this discourse into account, a different perspective is needed in which the
focus is not only on the content of the arguments used. Attention should shift to what
different discourse communities – ranging from expert to citizen-consumer groups –
achieve with their talk when drawing on certain arguments at particular moments in
the interaction. This paper therefore proposes a discursive psychological perspective
to science communication (cf. Potter, 1996; te Molder & Potter, 2005; Veen, te Molder,
Gremmen & van Woerkum, 2011). Rather than determining the truth value of what
people report, discursive psychology focuses on the use of arguments, i.e. the socialinteractional goals performed with these accounts.
Two cases will be discussed. The first case concerns celiac disease (“gluten intolerance”)
patients who were found to reject the future pill that was promised to replace their
life-long gluten free diet. An analysis of online interactions showed however that this
“rejection” was targeted not so much at the pill itself, but at the experts’ suggestion
that the pill would fix everything. This account was treated by patients as undermining
the value of their present diet, and more generally the entitlement to speak ‘in first
position’ about their own life.
The second case focuses on the exclusion of particular citizens’ voices from the public
debate on future foods. While many experts consider it their task to take health,
environment or safety issues, or the “hard” impacts, into account, there is much
less readiness to discuss technology’s cultural, moral and political, or “soft” impacts
(Swierstra & te Molder 2011). It is shown how the food aspects “naturalness” and
“good taste” are both placed outside the scope of public debate, but in different
ways, for different purposes, and with different implications.
Carlos Antonio Teixeira School of Public Health – San Paulo University, Paulo Rogério
Gallo School of Public Health – San Paulo University
Scientific development and improvement in technology in Brazil is mostly led by
public universities that are supported by public funding. This public funding derives
from the payment of taxes by a society that is composed by a mix of citizens, mostly
of them ordinary people without a scientific approach.
This paper is about the communication directed to the lay public. Giving back to
society highly qualified professionals who will work with their expertise in different
areas, is not the unique mission of universities. The universities should also be
responsible for a strategic politics of communication aiming to inform the society, in
understandable language, about the advances in science and technology promoted
in their laboratories.
There are some few studies in Brazil about the consideration of the university as an
organization who has a responsibility to society related with the public communication.
Kunsch from São Paulo University is one of them. Her studies published in 1992
were the basis to a doctoral research about how graduate programs in public Health
deal with the public communication of science. The results of this research will be
presented in PCST 2012.
Kunsch declared that the mission, duty responsibility and the urgent mission of the
university is the production of research open to the whole society. She preconizes the
democratization of university. University should have a communication service as a
way of opening new paths of dialogue within and outside their own walls.
International studies such those conducted by Kyvik (1994, 2005), Bentley and Kyvik
(2011) are also few of the ones that are studying the involvement of university
academic staff with the public communication.
These international studies have pointed that there is a contribution to public debate
by faculty members, but that there is little attention to science popularization in the
field of scientific studies. The few existing studies suggest that the popularization of
research is considered secondary to scientific publishing.
Two questionnaires were applied to the coordinators of Brazilian Graduate Programs
in Public Health (54 Programs) in order to induce a reflection about the possibilities
of the public communication.
The answers to the questionnaires revealed the concepts that these coordinators
have about public communication of science and how much these programs are
committed with the public communication.
Adrian Thomasson University of Uppsala
What makes Primo Levi’s texts so vivid and urgent when it comes to depicting and
synthesizing the life and the experienced horrors of the Lager? What were the
circumstances that brought forward such a (prima facie) non-scientific, invitingly, and
clear language, and by all means conditioned to a huge extent of a life long career
as a full time working chemist? I would emphasize that the “two cultures”, in a C.P:
Snowian respect, is absent in Levi’s writings.
Primo Levi’s most read book would probably be “Se questo è un uomo”, If this is
a man, his experiences from Auschwitz-Birkenau, coming to expression through his
laconic and (in some respects) restrained descriptions from the death camps. By
decades, there have been numerous scenes to be put forward from his every day
life in the Lager. One example is the chemical examination. Among the applicants,
Levi eventually faced – eye to eye – with a Doktor Pannwitz, the engineer in charge
for the Buna-Monowitz production of artificial rubber. Another of Levi’s observations
in that very moment caused almost a surrealistic conception of the situation he
was caught in. The standard edition for a chemist at that time, Ludwig Gatterman’s
book on organic chemistry , was also an item in Pannwitz’s Lager library. Levi recalls:
“[Pannwitz] asks me if I know English, he shows me Gatterman’s book, and even this
is absurd and impossible, that down here, on the other side of the barbed wire, a
Gatterman should exist, exactly similar to the one I studied in Italy in my fourth year”.
From another perspective, I would also like to highlight another instance of how
Levi is treating his experiences, coming to several expressions in Il sistema periodico
or The Periodic Table. In the essay, “Ferro”, in which Levi portrays a friendship with
another outsider he met during the student years, a “Sandro”. Sandro Delmastro,
like Levi, was also an outcast. It is a portrait of a ripening friendship, taking place
during adventurous excursions – when spatiotemporal circumstances to some extent
were excluded – In the Piemontian alpine landscape. And not to mention his selfconception of a “centaur”; and Enrico Mattioda’s highly interesting analysis on Levi
as “chimico e scrittore”, i.e., chemist and author.
Giuseppe Tipaldo Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali – Università di Torino
The paper is first of all concerned on the analysis of the Italian press communication
during the 2008 waste emergency in the city of Naples. Data are analysed using a
combination of content analysis and textual data mining techniques to underline
the main strategies used by seven of the Italian main newspapers (Repubblica,
Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, Il Sole 24 Ore, Il Giornale, Il Mattino, La Gazzetta del
Mezzogiorno) to cover and frame the issue as long as to critically discuss the role of
mass media in technoscientific controversies.
As a part of a still on-going 5-years research conducted on the social impact of the
under-contruction co-incineration plant in the city of Turin, data from the mass media
analysis are cross tabulated with those coming from a panel survey and some focus
groups in order to give empirical evidences of the effects of the coverage on public
The work demonstrates a highly emphasized and dramatized communication has
been set up by the Italian newspapers, which described the Naples’ waste emergency
as a “new Chernobyl”, whose solely solution was the co-incineration, without giving
enough space to alternative solutions. By making the local emergency a sort of
Hirschman’s “catalytic event” nation-wide, mass media have strongly influenced public
opinion in a short-term perspective, increasing the number of people agreeing with
waste incineration. Otherwise, in a wider-time perspective, such an oversimplistic
technoscientific communication only led to a waste of institutional trust, mainly in
expertise and mass media.
Accordingly to the empirical evidences, considerations on what could be quality,
honesty and beauty in technoscience communication, and, more in general, on the
importance of journalism’s trustworthy as a (presently frail) trait d’union between lay
public and expertise are made in the conclusions.
Dana Topousis U.S. National Science Foundation
How do U.S. federal agencies identify and keep up with the latest technology to get
their messages out effectively and widely? And is it possible to have any influence over
what the media covers when there’s strong competition for attention and diminishing
newsrooms? Participants will learn about how one independent U.S. federal agency,
the National Science Foundation (NSF), has charged ahead with national media
partnerships and new communication platforms to change positively how and where
Americans get their news. They will hear about how scientists are equal partners
in telling stories about their research and its impact on a global society. In 2009 at
the World Conference of Science Journalists, NSF spurred an international debate
about the line between science journalism and science communication. Since then,
media centres from various countries have emulated NSF’s efforts to communicate
science broadly. Participants to this session, led by NSF, will engage with panelists
from various U.S. media outlets and international government media centres to
deconstruct best practices and upcoming challenges in the ever-changing world of
science communications.
Mauro Turrini PaSTIS – Padova University
Drawing on media studies and science and technology studies, this presentation intends
to analyze the interaction between the specificities of science and the specificities
of general TV, analyzing how one of the most important scientific areas aired in TV,
medicine, is represented in one of the most important genre of Italian general TV –
the talk show focused on public discussion of issues of concern. Differently from the
popular science shows, talk shows do not only channel information and advice from
experts to the public, but they also promote discussions and arguments between
them, mashing up entertainment and information, public and private interests,
personal experience and general notions, involved and critical positions and so forth.
The process of layfication of medicine is analyzed through the construction and the
deconstruction of credibility and trust, focusing, in particular, on the role played by
the patient’s body.
Empirical data are gathered in two steps. Firstly, 377 shows of the Italian programs
of public debate – Porta a porta and Matrix – channeled by the two most important
general national Tv channels – respectively by Rai 1 and Canale 5 – have been recorded
(from January to December 2007 and from September 2009 to February 2010) and
filtered according to the presence of medical experts and topics. Secondly, the final
sample (22 shows) has been analyzed qualitatively.
Generally, medicine is a sort of scenic backdrop, where people are scrutinized through
the perspective of medical gaze on the patient’s body. This sort of dislocation of the
professional regard emphasizes the importance of physical aspects of participants, be
them laypeople, journalists or experts, who are contextually reclassified according to
a bodily characteristic or condition such as obesity, baldness, some kind of physical
impairments, and so forth. The discourse on the body which emerges is articulated
through the exhibition of some medical aspects of the body, which are decisive
resources for establishing the credibility and the authority of a participant’s point
of view. In conclusion, the medicalized patient’s body plays a crucial role in many
respects, from the selection criteria of participants to the process of construction of
scientific credibility and, moreover, it is used by the TV as a tool able to introduce new
intriguing mixes of argument style and performance that characterizes talk shows
and neotelevision in general.
Esa Väliverronen Dept of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Vienna Setälä Dept
of Social Research, University of Helsinki
Diet, fitness and healthy living have become popular topics of media coverage and
public health campaigns. Stories about the health hazards of fat draw on scientific
knowledge, the expertise of scientists and medical doctors, and increasingly on new
“field experts” such as nutrition consultants and personal health trainers.
This paper explores the relations between actors in health communication in a
recent anti-fat campaign (“The Fat Rebellion”) that was run in Finland’s biggest daily
newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. We argue that the campaign addressed its readers via
four categories of agency (field experts, scientists, examples and students), and via
three discourses (national-economic, risk and aesthetic discourse). The field experts
played a key role in the campaign as mediators of scientific knowledge and expertise.
Nutrition therapists, sports instructors, public health nurses, physiotherapists,
personal fitness trainers and other field experts were the most cited actors in the
campaign. They appeared as authorized users of science-based information and
technology, and they worked in close relation with ordinary people fighting against
fat. They gave advice to and encouraged “students” to keep track of their weight
and in their interviews offered quite detailed prescriptions of what sort of lifestyles
people should lead in order to achieve their ideal weight.
In order to receive tailored advice on how to enhance their well-being, the students
gave the field experts all relevant information about their body and confessed to any
undesirable practices (“yesterday I sneaked a piece of chocolate”). Rather than being
allowed an independent voice, they were portrayed in the role of passive objects;
they were not making things happen, but things were happening to them.
We argue that the strong role of field experts in “Fat Rebellion” reflect a cultural
change, a process towards biological citizenship (e.g. Rose & Novas 2005) in which
the life sciences, lifestyle coaches and various technical instruments have assumed
an increasingly prominent role in everyday life.
Zuzana van der Werf Kulichova Delft University of Technology, Robin Pierce Delft
University of Technology, Patricia Osseweijer Delft University of Technology
Scholarly work in the field of science communication thus far focused primarily
on communication between scientists and media and/or communication between
scientists and public(s). In democracy, however, the facilitation of communication
between scientists and policy makers is equally important. This is especially true
when policy debates involve topics which are highly technical and controversial.
The need for more productive relationship between scientists and policy makers
has been mainly addressed by scholars of Science, Technology and Society studies
(STS). STS studies build extensively on the concept of boundary work proposed by
Thomas Gieryn which demarcates science from non-science with an objective to help
scientists to protect their professional autonomy (Gieryn 1983). Over the years the
concept of boundary work has been critically examined and extended by STS scholars.
The main criticism of the original concept lies in its ideological portrayal of scientific
community which is seen as homogenous and value free. Jasanoff articulates that
scientific knowledge is often constructed and deconstructed in policy process and
this leads to a competition among scientists. It is therefore difficult to draw clear lines
between scientific and policy world as these two are often interconnected (Jasanoff
1987; Moore 1996; Halffman 2003). Aware of these limitations, STS scholars proposed
to extend the original concept of boundary work with boundary objects (Star and
Griesemer 1989), boundary packages (Fujimura 1992), boundary organizations
(Guston 1999; Guston 2001) and recently boundary layers (Shanahan 2011).
Empirical studies focusing on relationship between scientists and policy makers also
point out that linking of knowledge production and knowledge use is not an easy
task. This is partly caused by overwhelming amount of information which is made
available to decision makers as well as format in which this information is presented
to them (Sorian and Baugh 2002; Brownson et al. 2006).
Against this background, the objective of this presentation is to provide a literature
review on science-policy interface in order to identify links with and potential gaps
in the current literature on science communication. This can serve as a starting point
for exploring science-policy interface from the science communication perspective.
Erwin van Rijswoud University of Twente/Radboud University Nijmegen
Scientific advisory committees are expected to present an outlook onto a particular
issue by presenting, interpreting and sometimes developing the appropriate scientific
knowledge for the benefit of society. The audience addressed by such advisory
reports is mixed: fellow scientists, politicians and administrators, NGO and citizens
all are included as formal and informal audiences of the committee. This paper will
analyze the interactions between two scientific committees and their audiences, by
describing the development and implementation of two exemplary advisory reports
in Dutch society: the Health Council’s advice on vaccination against cervical cancer
(2008), and the report by the ad hoc Delta Committee (2008) that provides an advice
on water security and climate change. These reports were selected for their sociopolitical significance and their supposed contribution to public health or public
Studies have shown that there are various ways through which experts develop and
communicate their scientific advice, and how this completed advice is presented and
defended to society as a credible piece of work. By studying the development of
scientific advice in a broad context and a historical time line, we will not just see
how the committee presented its report and interacted with politics and society after
it was produced, but also what political and society expectation existed before the
report was conceived. The different framings of the issue addressed by the scientific
advisory committee and the supposed solutions to the issue shape the interactions
with society and responses to the report. As such, this paper demonstrates how
scientific advice, as a boundary object, communicates science to society in a specific
The analysis of both reports will show that although the reports may be presented
themselves are a thorough piece of scientific advice, complying to Mertonian norms
for scientific quality, public framings of the issue may be different or shift over time,
thereby dramatically shaping the interactions between the advisory committee,
politics and society in ways unanticipated by the scientific experts. Consequently,
both reports were highly contested and their proposed solutions largely rejected.
The paper will conclude with arguing how scientists could improve their role and the
art of communicating science.
Elizabeth Whitelegg The Open University, Richard Holliman The Open University,
Jennifer Carr The Open University
This paper will discuss the Invisible Witnesses project (Carr et al. 2009) that
investigated children and young people’s (CYP) understanding and interpretation of
representations of STEM on UK television, and the effects these representations might
have. In this paper we argue that a focus on television as an out-of-school setting for
informal learning about STEM and those who are involved in it is an important and
necessary contribution to the efforts to increase the participation of all students, in
STEM within school and beyond.
The project, which drew on both quantitative and qualitative methods, involved an
investigation of the continuing portrayal of established stereotypes and the possible
emergence of new representations of STEM on UK children’s television programmes
(Whitelegg et. al. 2008). A key premise that has underpinned the project is that
children and young people are not simply passive receivers or consumers of media
messages, but active viewers, interpreters and, potentially, producers of media
representations. Indeed, we have argued that this process of interpretation plays
an important role in the ways in which CYP actively construct their sense of selfconcept and their identities. As such, a key aim of this project has been to move away
from research methods that focus on the ways in which adult researchers interpret
representations of STEM to engage with the insights offered through children’s and
young people’s media literacy skills.
In this paper we will discuss the activities carried out with 59 CYP aged 11 to 13 years
that were designed to support them in analysing, for themselves, short extracts from
television programmes in order to expose the images that these CYP bring about
STEM and STEM practitioners and to engage with the “creative” element of their
media literacy skills by planning STEM-related television series. We will consider the
recommendations from the CYP in this study for the representation of STEM on TV
and the elements of STEM programming that these CYP find engaging in order to
discuss whether they have the potential to increase CYP’s engagement with STEM.
Full project reports referred to above are available from the project website at http://
Holley A. Wilkin Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta,
GA, Carmen Gonzalez Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University
of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Latinos are at high risk for many health problems, yet they are often missed by
traditional health communication campaigns that tend to rely on general audience
channels. New immigrant Latinos living in Los Angeles indicate a strong connection
to Spanish-language television for health and medical information, but the quality
of health information provided through these channels has not been systematically
evaluated. Grounded in communication infrastructure theory, a content analysis of
Spanish-language television news and talk shows was conducted to examine the
nature of health coverage provided. As a primary health source for the Los Angeles
Latino community, Spanish-language television could serve an important role in
helping the community overcome health disparities by connecting them to health
resources (e.g., local organizations that help immigrants overcome health access
barriers or classes about how to cook healthy foods in the U.S.) or other sources of
health information where they can learn more about preventing or treating specific
diseases. Our findings show that the programs analyzed are not doing an adequate job
of connecting viewers to local health resources, other health information sources, or
personalizing the information in such a way that may prompt interpersonal discussion
about health topics. We discuss the aspects of Spanish-language television that
contribute to the lack of locally-focused health stories and suggest ways to improve
health storytelling through the networks.
Clare Wilkinson Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, Science Communication
Unit, UWE, Bristol, Melanie Knetsch Deputy Head of Communications, Economic and
Social Research Council, UK
The Festival of Social Science is a UK wide annual competition which sponsors both
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded researchers as well as any other
UK based social science researchers to hold a non-academic focussed, free events
during the week. The number of Festival events has grown steadily, with approximately
80 events held in 2006 to over 135 events held across the UK in 2011. Each year the
Festival of Social Science is evaluated and these evaluations have catalogued a wealth
of information. This includes details in terms of the specific events, the publicity and
media coverage they received, as well as their impact on attendees and organisers,
in addition to how effectively wider Festival of Social Science objectives are being
met. However, the focus of these evaluations on outcomes in close proximity to the
events themselves means it is often difficult to consider effects and consequences of
engagement which may appear following a period of time and reflection.
Reporting on evaluation research commissioned in 2011, this paper will examine the
longer term impacts apparent for those engaged with such festivals. The evaluation
examined longer term impacts over three years both from the perspective of those
organising festival events (e.g. development of new partnerships, new research
questions, co-funding arrangements, etc), as well as obtaining views from those
who have attended an event to see if the event has led to any developments or
longer-term outcomes. Discussing questionnaire results and findings from semistructured interviews, the paper reports on the impacts such festival events can have
at an individual, institutional and disciplinary level from the perspectives of both
participants and organisers. Additionally, the paper will consider the difficulties of
measuring the impact of engagement activities, an increasingly pressing consideration
for academics, researchers and practitioners, as well as the distinctive experiences of
engagement which were noted when the subject matter is social science specifically,
rather than the wider issues of science and technology.
Holger Wormer Institute of Journalism, Chair of Science Journalism, Dortmund
University, Marcus Anhäuser Institute of Journalism, Chair of Science Journalism,
Dortmund University
The evaluation of quality in science journalism and communication has often been
focused on the question of accuracy. But the opinion what constitutes accuracy may
be different among scientists and journalists. Therefore, the acceptance of purely
scientifically based advice for better science reporting is low among journalists.
However, in recent years different monitoring projects emerged, which try to judge
the quality of medical reporting on (new) treatments, tests and procedures. These
attempts use a set of defined criteria which focus on questions like: Is the magnitude
of the benefit reported? Are the associated risks and costs mentioned? What is the
quality of the sources (studies and experts)? But also: Is there a second opinion
mentioned and does the report go beyond a press release?
Mainly based on the work of Moynihan (2000) the Australian “Media Doctor” started as
the first of such projects in 2004 ( followed by a monitoring
in Canada and Hong Kong as well as in the USA ( In
November 2010 the German “Medien-Doktor” ( started as
the first European project in this tradition. However, in Germany the 10 criteria used
in other countries were extended by three purely journalistic criteria such as actuality
and quality of presentation. In our work we report on the journalistic review process
in these projects which was developed alongside scientific peer review, however, by
including journalistic criteria. All criteria are discussed and the results of the first 100
evaluations of articles and stories in German mass media are presented. Interestingly,
evaluating the data on there are about as many highly ranked
stories as stories with poor quality. Journalists mainly fail to mention risks and to
explain the quality of the evidence of a scientific result (about 76% each). In many
cases they do not cite independent experts (63%). Journalists seem to have fewer
problems with explaining the novelty of a therapy (22%). Although these results are
preliminary by comparing them with US data some suggestions can be made on how
to improve reporting on medical sciences. Finally, it will be discussed to what extent
the existing criteria could be adapted in order to evaluate other fields of science
journalism and communication such as physics or environmental sciences.
Zhian Zhang The School of Communication and Design, Sun-Yet-Sun University,
Guangzhou, China, Hepeng Jia China Science Media Centre, Beijing, China, Zhengmao
Zhan China Institute for Science Communication
Despite policymakers’ stress and supports on science communications, it is widely
complained by journalists that scientists in China are increasingly reluctant to cope
with media. On the other hand, Chinese scientists frequently complain media often
misunderstand or even mis-interpret their research findings or scientific viewpoints,
particularly their comments on hot scientific issues, so that they would not talk to
However, these widespread perceptions have never been proved in the real contexts.
There are few literature to discuss this situation both in China and internationally.
Based on the above situations, we design an empirical research methodology,
combining content analysis on media’s quotes of scientists, interviews of those
involved in the production of the content involved, and a supplementing questionnaire
among a wide variety of scientists of different disciplines to test whether professional
scientists are actively involved in media reportings of hot controversial issues, and
whether media in these reportings have well and properly quoted scientists in the
hot issues in question.
Concretely speaking, this research will identify reportings of the commonly agreed
hot scientific issues – which include Fukushima Nuclear Accident, the crisis of illegally
adding Clenbuterol in meat in March, and the high-speech train crash in July – in China
in four Chinese media – the People’s Daily, the S&T Daily, Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily
and Beijing-based The Beijing News, determining the degree of information quoted
from the Chinese scientific community regarding the issues in these reportings, and
then it will use interviews to survey those engaged to test the degree of accuracy of
the quoted information in the published reportings.
By objectively screening the hot (often controversial) topics, properly choosing
the media of different types, carefully analyse the articles related to the topics,
and interviewing scientists/journalists involved (mainly quoted), our research is
expected to reveal an objective engagement status of Chinese scientists in hot (often
controversial) scientific issues and factors leading to such status.
Based on the above researches, we will also find out some possible solutions which
are mutually accepted by scientists and media to better engage science community
in the communications of hot issues in the Chinese contexts.
Show Tell and Talk
Joachim Allgaier Research Center Jülich, Germany
Already in 2007 it was reported that 10 percent of all internet traffic was generated
by the online video portal YouTube. A significant amount of videos that are uploaded
and watched on online video-sharing sites such as Vimeo or YouTube are music videos.
Recent advancements in digital technologies now allow also amateur users to create,
upload and disseminate music and other videos. One tendency that is interesting for
the science communication and education community is that there are also music
videos about science and technology. In this contribution some preliminary results
from exploratory research on science in music videos are presented. Scientific motifs
can be found in music videos by professional artists, for instance about evolution or
the periodic table. However, also scientists and researchers use music videos in order
to gain attention and to promote their institutions and their research. Also commercial
suppliers of scientific equipment use music videos to advertise their products.
Furthermore, lab members and medical staff create music videos to disseminate
lab safety rules and general codes of conduct regarding health and hygiene. Some
professors encourage their students to share what they have learnt in class in form of
a music video, for instance in a clip about the “synaptic cleft” in a neuroscience class.
Other music videos are made to support silenced scientists or to advocate issues
such as climate change, evolution or MMR vaccination. Of course, the “other side”
is able to create and disseminate music videos too, for instance deniers of climate
change, creationists and opponents of vaccination also use music videos to advocate
their views. Interesting in this regard are also music videos made by young scientists
and researchers about their research and working conditions. Some of these music
videos are very humorous and entertaining. They allow an insight into lab work and
scientific practice also for people who do not have a great interest in science. Music
videos about science can easily be distributed via video-sharing platforms and mobile
devices, and if they become “viral” they have the potential to reach a huge number
of viewers (a music clip by CERN rappers was viewed more than six million times).
In this contribution a tentative typology of scientific music videos will be presented,
some illustrative examples will be shown and some of the implications for science
education and communication will be considered.
Annely Allik Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu, Estonia, Andres Metspalu
Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu; Estonian Biocentre; Institute of
Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Estonia
The Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu (EGCUT) is a research institute
with a population-based, longitudinal biobank representing about 5% of Estonia’s
adult population. The comprehensive database of genotypic, phenotypic, health, and
genealogical information enables scientists to carry out research to find links between
genes, human diseases, and the environment. To implement the knowledge gained
for the benefit of the public health, improved knowledge of genetics of complex
traits as well as policy development are necessary. It is crucial to educate the public
regarding the rapid developments in the field and to develop educational resources
to improve the public’s genetics literacy.
The whole concept of biobanking is based on the trust, support, and awareness of
the public. Donating personal data and genetic material on a voluntary basis is highly
based on people’s awareness about the aims of the project and their positive opinion
and expectations from the project to give the reasons to participate. An important
question is: are the sensitive data securely protected and are they used for the
claimed purposes?
Surveys to estimate the levels of awareness and the opinion of the Estonian
population regarding the EGCUT have been conducted annually since the beginning
of the project. According to the last poll, 83% of Estonians stated that they were
aware of the activities of the EGCUT, 55% strongly supported the project.
This is due to our main focus throughout the last decade - to popularize the field of
genomics and introduce the goals of the EGCUT. Due to the sensitive nature of the
topic and the legal and ethical aspects involved, alternative solutions to inform the
public had to be found instead of the traditional tools of marketing. For example,
the topic of becoming a gene donor was written into the script of the most popular
series on the national TV. Multiple direct communication tools were used as well. All
these activities enabled to raise the public’s awareness and increased significantly
the number of recruited donors.
In today’s world of science, which is rapidly developing and constantly changing,
the traditional marketing tools are not effective enough to bring new concepts to
the people. The experience of the EGCUT on how to influence public awareness and
attitude through effective communication are worth sharing.
E. Basto IBMC - Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Porto,
J. Borlido Santos IBMC - Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do
Porto, Porto, S. Martins IBMC - Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade
do Porto, Porto, J. A. Nunes Center for Social Studies (CES), Universidade de Coimbra,
Colégio de S. Jerónimo, Coimbra, Portugal
The Biosense platform was created to promote mediation between scientists and
laypeople in order to achieve common goals. Since its inception, the platform’s
development has come across with a number of challenges directly related to the
diversity of interests, agendas and varying levels of organization of both scientists and
citizen groups.
The scientists’ perspectives, who aim at a greater interaction with non-specialist
citizens, range from: 1) finding more effective ways of communicating their research
on specific subjects to broader audiences, as is the case with laboratory animal science
or with publics acceptance of human enhancement research and technologies; to 2)
trying to develop public awareness of problems they identify as being fundamental
public health issues, such as cancer and hemochromatosis; and to 3) assess the
perceptions and acceptance that recent developments in science and technology
have in different social arenas, which is crucial in the case of human enhancement.
The citizens’ outlook on this interaction span from: 1) gaining access to state of the art
information and clinical procedures on such diverse illness-related topics like cancer
or hemochromatosis; to 2) building science-based forms of participation in the public
sphere that stemmed from broader, new and old, social movements’ political agendas
that predate the interaction-mediation initiative of the Biosense platform.
In this paper we discuss the major challenges faced in the process of building this
science shop-inspired platform. These issues concern the need to find a common
baseline for the mediation practice whilst maintaining the context-sensitive approach
to each of the science communication and integration projects that are being dealt
with. This approach has proved an integral part of the initiative’s success.
The issue of who has the initiative of seeking the interaction-mediation processes is
also critically taken into account, since in most of the projects hosted by the platform,
the interaction processes were driven by a need of the scientists for a greater
involvement with the public. We focus on the role of the actors involved, which is
often complex and apparently contradictory, and usually grounded in the cultural and
historical course of each specific citizen group. We also consider the rooted practices
of the manifold research environments involved in this study.
Cissi Billgren Askwall Public & Science, Sweden, Klas-Herman Lundgren Public &
Science, Sweden, Lotta Tomasson Public & Science, Sweden
Researchers’ Night is an annual European wide initiative bringing together the
general public face-to-face with researchers since 2005. The Swedish non-profit
association Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA (Public & Science) has coordinated the
Researchers’ Night events in Sweden since 2006. The events take place in 20-30 cities
throughout the country and offer a variety of hands-on and interactive activities as
well as informal dialogues with researchers. Local organisers are universities, science
centres, municipalities, tourism companies and regional councils.
The local events have common objectives and a common identity through a joint logo,
website and other marketing materials. In order to develop the activities offered and
enhance the common features, all local organisers meet twice a year and also have
regular telephone meetings. Important aims of the Researchers’ Night in Sweden are
to exchange experiences between organisers, develop successful event activities and
document and disseminate best practices.
Successful science dialogue concepts from the Researchers’ Night events of the
last years have been systematically gathered and described in an interactive online
toolbox. The digital toolbox uses interactive mind maps to give a well-structured
overview of the different dialogue approaches. It is based on image-based learning
with a mind map structure, texts and pictures which leads to a pedagogical and
attractive interface. A wide range of activities are described in terms of suggested
target groups, how best to prepare the activity as well as advantages and challenges
of the dialogue concept. The toolbox inspires and gives science communicators and
science event organisers ideas and hands-on instructions on how best to organise
different types of science communication activities.
The science dialogue toolbox which was supported by the European Commission and
the Swedish Research Council will be presented at the conference.
Nelio Bizzo University of São Paulo – Brazil
History of Science can provide not only good ideas for museums and science
centres, but also can throw light on educational research. Some sort of problems
scientists faced in the past can be similar to those students find today when they
are introduced to the subject. The work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is considered
a landmark for the modern understanding of biological evolution. However, there
was a great deal of controversies about geology in the century before, regarding the
meaning of geological evidence in some parts of the world, which had extraordinary
well preserved fossils (they are considered Konservat-Lagerstätten, literally “place of
storage”). We present results of a historical reappraisal of the elaboration process
of geological theories, showing that the conception of geological time, contrary to
what is generally admitted in the educational community, had deep roots in the
ground Charles Darwin was planting with his first thoughts on natural selection. We
also present a summary of interviews carried out with children who live near science
museums located at strategic places, plenty of clear evidence of past environments
studied by scientists of the past. Marine fossil remains in mountains had an original
interpretation in Italian geology during 18th century, which had been fully incorporated
by the geology of Charles Lyell (1797-1875). These places, and their local museums,
invite visitors to revise their conceptions about the history of earth. We conducted
39 interviews in five localities, both in Brazil and Italy, with young students, in order
to understand their views on geological time. Results show that the interpretation
of evidence follows different ways, as young students give several meanings to the
extraordinary fossil remains they find every day, in the environment and in museums.
In addition, elements from History of Science suggest the need for a revision of the
historical framework in which evolutionary theories are commonly seen in educational
settings, including schools, museums and science centres. Furthermore, results urge
educators to pay more attention to scholar scientific definitions offered to students,
which can give rise to unnoticed complex intellectual ecologies in the school context.
Giorgia Bellentani Fondazione Marino Golinelli
This paper tackles the issue of an innovative approach linking art, science, and
creativity for education’s activities for kids and schools. In the context of the activities
run by START – Creative Cultures Lab (a new children center opened last November
2010), the connection between art and science is developed on a double track
process: through a hands on method – typical of the teaching of the experimental
sciences – and through an experimental approach to the didactics of art.
At START the core of the area has been conceived with an art and science exhibition
developed in collaboration with Peggy Guggenheim Collection – Venice. The planning
stage has involved young researchers and artists, art historians and kids’ educator in
the selection of different artworks (i.e. by Malevic, Baldessari, Sottsass, Penso, and
other unknown but important contemporary young artists). Then – always keeping
in mind the educative potential of each artwork – the animated and interactive
guided visits have been designed for children from the age of 5 to 13 years old. The
exhibition itself have become a proper space to involve children and schools in art
and science hands-on laboratories, designed with the Education Department of
Peggy Guggenheim Collection. They are creative and open experiments where the
youngsters can approach themes connected with biology, math, astronomy as they
were artists willing to understand the topics they are working on.
Further than describing the intellectual and interdisciplinary process behind the
conception of the area, this paper proposes a survey of the activities with the schools
and the public in a monitoring period. The main aim is to show how the infinite
connections between art and science could be useful tools in the education and
training of the new generations. Moreover – as a further step in a continuous learning
process – it aims to highlight the strength points and the weaknesses of a subject
that, without being conceived as a “discipline”, could add value to both science and
art education and communication.
Caterina Boccato Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica - INAF, Giuliana Rubbia Istituto
Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - INGV, Alessandro Rinaldi Artist, Angela
Misiano Planetarium Pythagoras - Provincia di Reggio Calabria – Sezione Calabria
Società Astronomica Italiana SAIt
The process which gives life to artworks because painters are inspired by the charm
of the Sky is a well-known process. Beauty and the mystery of Cosmos have always
given mankind, and still give, a lot of masterpieces, from the Halley comet painted by
Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel to the Starry Nights by Vincent Van Gogh.
But, what to say about the opposite process? How could art inspire science? In many
ways but we propose here one in a format appropriate for science communication.
We start from some paintings of Alessandro Rinaldi, an Italian quoted artist present
at the 54th Biennale International Art Exhibition of Venice. Focusing our attention
on a few Rinaldi paintings representing some cosmic scenes, such as starry skies,
constellations, moons, we will perform a dialogue between Science and Art, played by
two women. The dialogue will be written by assembling skills in astrophysics, science
communication, screenwriting and art. The final product will be a drama performed
in a particular theatre, built primarily for educational and entertaining shows about
astronomy and the night sky: a planetarium.
Public will be involved in an immersive show of artistic and astronomical images,
and will listen to the two characters, Lady A and Lady S, discussing both artistic and
scientific aspects of each painting: from the raw material used for painting to the real
knowledge of represented celestial objects. Few, selected and correct astronomical
notions will be conveyed in a new, funny and attractive way also for people who
are not quite interested in science. The proposed format could be regarded as
new for science outreach, where Astronomy could be replaced with Natural and
Environmental Sciences, while dialogues around scientific issues could be performed
inside planetariums as well on other stages.
But there is more: we will also tell the public that Science doesn’t make Art loose her
charm and beauty, rather she makes her stronger because mindful of her potential;
Art doesn’t make science loose her strictness and reliability, rather she makes her
stronger because mindful of her beauty. Public will have the opportunity of seeing real
artworks in a exhibit inside the planetarium and filling in a questionnaire before and
after the show. In this way changing in scientific notions and the related perception
of artworks will be collected in order to have a realistic feedback about the efficiency
of our project.
Sara Calcagnini Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo Da
Vinci”, Milano
The paper discusses the museum as a place of experimentation of new models of
communicating research. It analyzes the experience of the biggest museum of science
and technology in Italy: the National Museum of Technology Leonardo da Vinci in
Milano (MUST). This case study shows how inquiry based activities and museum
environment can contribute to change communication models put into practice by
researchers and open their perspective on their own research. The main focus will be
on a new format: the Nanotechnology Area, an area integrating communication and
scientific research open to all in the museum.
The MUST in collaboration with CIMaINA, the Interdisciplinary Centre for
Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces, University of Milan, opened an innovative
space: a real scientific laboratory inside a museum. CIMaINA researchers in the
Museum laboratory study properties of nanostructured materials for sustainable
energy applications. Visitors can observe the researchers at their daily work in their
lab and discuss with them any kind of issue. The lab is part of an area which gives
general information about Nanotechnologies (NT) with video, interactive exhibit and
activities (discussion events, interactive workshops and theatre performances).
The museum represented a space of engagement of science in society, not just as a
physical environment but as an actor enabling the dialogue between researchers and
visitors through educational activities and creating a common language and space
between them.
The area challenged the top-down communication typical of the deficit model and
forced the researchers to adopt a communication with visitors based on dialogue
and public engagement in research. The key elements adopted to stimulate a more
dialogic communication by the researchers are: training in communication skills,
museum environment, collaboration with museum staff in developing inquiry based
activities and the daily contact with visitors.
The visitors opened new questions in the researchers’ mind. They forced the
researchers into being open to talk about not just their specific research but to view
the NT in a more multifaceted perspective, taking into account not just the pure
scientific aspects but also the ethical, social, emotional, controversial and irrational
aspects embedded in NT. The adoption of a new communication model by researchers
enabled them to listen to visitors and see their research in a wider perspective.
Monica Carvalho Institute of Bioethics, Portuguese Catholic University
In 2011, the Institute of Bioethics and the CITAR - Research Center For Science and
Technology in Art, at the Portuguese Catholic University, made a short documentary
about Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) called “The desire to have a baby:
the MAR in Portugal”, with a bioethical approach: i.e. an approach that includes
scientific knowledge, reflection on the ethical questions raised by Medically
Assisted Reproduction and a humanistic view on the meaning of the desire to have
a baby. The film is part of the research project “Promoting citizenship through
the reflection on the ethical issues in life sciences”. The purpose of this project is
to develop science communication initiatives through the ethical reflection on
scientific issues. In 2011, as part of this project, the film was shown in Portugal to
secondary-level and college students. Before watching the film the public were
invited to complete a printed self-completion questionnaire about the basic scientific
issues on MAR and to express their opinion about some ethical aspects concerning
this subject. After watching the film, the public completed the same questionnaire
in order to know if their answers had changed or not. Thus, it was observed how
the documentary could influence the students’ perception of science and their
opinion about scientific and ethical issues on MAR. Based on this experience, the
purpose of this paper is to present the results of these exhibitions to the public.
Lloyd Spencer Davis Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago, Dunedin,
New Zealand
Penguins are arguably the world’s most loved animals. With documentaries like
“March of the Penguins” and animated feature films like “Happy Feet,” penguins
have proven to be the kings of the box office. In fact, ever since Herbert Ponting and
Cherry Kearton brought penguins to audiences in the early part of the 20th Century,
penguins have been favourite subjects on both the big and small screens. I analyse
the use of penguins in documentaries and feature films with respect to how accurate
the portrayal is scientifically. I compare six features of penguins – involving their (i)
distribution, (ii) habitats, (iii) phylogeny, (iv) morphology (v) ecology and (vi) breeding
behaviour – and find that the persona of penguins as portrayed on the screen often
bears little resemblance to the real thing. I conclude by questioning how much this
matters to the communication of science about penguins if these aspects of the
stories are true or not.
Gabriel de Oliveira Cardoso Machado Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Marina
Verjovsky Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Tainá Maia Rêgo Universidade
Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Claudia Jurberg Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
The Brazilian Ministry of Health estimates that in 2011 there will be more than 500.000
new cases of cancer, and 1 / 3 will lead to death. The incidence and mortality of cancer
have been increasing in Brazil due to the increase in life expectancy and control of
infectious diseases. In recent decades, health officials noted a 43% increase in cancer
deaths. On the other hand, data from the World Health Organization confirm that at
least one third of cancers could be prevented if population adopted healthier lifestyle,
like quitting smoking, physical activity, eating properly and avoiding excess alcohol
and sun exposure at inappropriate times, as well as adopting safe sex practices. It is
known that the occurrence of cancer in young people is rare. However, it is at this age
that people adopt habits and customs that can be correlated to the appearance of a
tumor in older age. Among these habits there are inadequate exposure to the sun,
the use of cigarettes and other drugs, unsafe sex, excessive consumption of alcohol
etc... Facing this panorama our group has developed a series of health communication
strategies that aim to enlighten young people about cancer and its risk factors, but
before that, surveys were conducted to understand how is the perception of these
young people about the issue and what is best strategy to increase the effectiveness
of the tools of awareness and prevention. Therefore we developed three YouTube
videos and a Role-Playing Game book warning about preventive cancers in a language
that is commonly used by teenagers.
Martha Duhne Backhauss El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, ECOSUR
Research centers and universities are places where different science communication
products and activities could be developed, because it is where experts work and
generate new scientific knowledge unknown to the general population. However
this does not happen so spontaneously and easily as might be expected. I think this
difficulty obeys many factors, both from the side of the communicators as that of the
El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, ECOSUR, is part of the System of Public Research Centers
of the National Council of Science and Technology, CONACYT, the agency responsible
for developing science and technology policies in Mexico. ECOSUR is located in the
four states that are frontiers with Guatemala and Belice.
In the Department of Communication, which I have been in charge of for six years,
there work eight professionals from various fields: communication specialists,
journalists, computer scientists and designers who have no scientific training, which
hinders both their understanding of the scientific concepts, and what is necessary to
highlight in a scientific research.
On the other hand, our interests and those of the researchers are clearly different.
They are interested in talking about the concrete results of their research. We are in
the scientific issues that could be interesting for and useful to the general audience.
In addition, researchers are working with a lot of pressure to achieve the results that
the institution expects of them: to develop high quality research, publish articles in
scientific journals, teach in our postgraduate school and graduate students. Outreach
science activities are hardly taken into account in their annual evaluations.
It is obvious that without their cooperation it is impossible to do our work. How do
we succeed in involving researchers in popularization of science activities?
I have faced these challenges with varying degrees of success: we edit a quarterly
magazine of science communication, publishing articles in newspapers and magazines,
do radio interviews, coordinate our website as a news portal, make videos, and
organize talks and workshops in both the city and in indigenous communities. The aim
of my presentation is to discuss various ways to build bridges between researchers
and the staff of the Department of Communication to divulge the results of their
work, and raise the level of scientific knowledge that exists in the region, one of the
poorest of the nation.
Michele Emmer Università Roma La Sapienza
It is very interesting to study the parallel story of soap bubbles and soap films in art
and science. Noting that mathematicians in particular have been intrigued by their
complex geometry; the interest, both scientific and artistic, was first on the colors
on the surface of soap films. Probably motivated by the large diffusion of paintings
of children and puttos playing with soap bubbles. It was Newton who first studied
the problem of colours on soap films, then Joseph Plateau studied their geometry.
Minimal surfaces became one of the most important topic in modern math. In recent
years there have been applications to contemporary architecture like the Olympic
Swimming pool in Beijing in 2008.
The idea of the presentation is to show how it is possible to use art, architecture,
pictures and films to talk about modern mathematics, to present the topic to a wide
audience. The author has a large experience on newspapers, in public talks and on
stage show on soap bubbles and their geometry.
M. Emmer “Bolle di sapone tra arte e matematica”, Bollati Boringhieri, 2010, Premio
Viareggio 2010.
M. Emmer “Soap Bubbles”, DVD, 25 minutes, colour, RAI and M. Emmer prod.
D. Escobar, M. Molins, B. Espar Barcelona City Council
EscoLab is a solid network between researchers and students that has connected 37
science research centres with 16.000 high school students of Barcelona up to now.
Nowadays EscoLab is in its sixth edition and it has been growing nonstop since it was
created in 2007.
The aim of this project is to invite students to get to know, enjoy, think about and
express their opinion about what science development means nowadays and the
impact of science applications. How do science labs look like today? What is it actually
done there? How do scientists work? What are they currently researching? To answer
these questions, various scientists based in Barcelona have organized several activities
specially oriented to High School students.
EscoLab offers more than 100 activities held from October to June in a wide calendar
choice among which the students are able to find a great variety of activities: from
guided visits to various labs to workshops and scientific experiments where the
scientific methodology is used to find solutions to day to day problems. The topics
are extremely diverse. From learning to program robots and manoeuvring ship
simulators, to exploring a microbiology laboratory experiencing a “smart room”, or
asking researchers what can be done to fight cancer. And most importantly, students
can get into their labs and have a direct contact with researchers. These are just 5 of
over 80 different activities.
All the activities are FREE for school groups and they are shown together in a webpage
which every year is published on 1st September, when teachers can consult and book
them online.
EscoLab was created in 2007, as an initiative of the Programa Barcelona Ciéncia of
Institut de Cultura and the Institut d’Educació of the Barcelona City Council, and
benefits from the collaboration of the 37 research centres which offer different
More information:
Wiebke Finkler-Hendry University of Otago
A key ingredient for successful science communication is storytelling and when it
comes to communicating factual material through film, the usual format is the
documentary. However, documentary in its long form is not necessarily the most
effective way for a filmmaker to influence public opinion and change attitudes: one
potential and largely unexploited avenue is to use “commercial-length” documentaries
to communicate the facts and change attitudes. For the purposes of communicating
science these short-form documentaries are defined as “SciCommercials”. In this PhD
research project, a conceptual framework for science filmmaking is being developed
with a special focus on what documentary filmmaking can learn from the commercial
TV advertising industry. The study identifies key elements/techniques used in
TV commercials and campaigns in order to develop a new framework for science
communication filmmaking in the form of SciCommercials.
This paper and presentation will concentrate on a specific example by illustrating
how SciCommercials may be applied to altering attitudes to sustainable Whale
Watching practices. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has concluded
that there is sufficient evidence that Whale Watching can endanger the viability of
small coastal populations of whales and dolphins. Yet, there is a public perception
that Whale Watching is a green enterprise with little or no impact on whales. This
creates a tension between the public’s expectations of what constitutes a successful
Whale Watching trip and the commercial Whale Watching operators’ responsibilities
to minimize impacts on the whales. For example, the closer to the whales, the higher
the impact risk, but for the public the closer to the whales the better the Whale
Watching experience.
This conference paper and presentation will outline: (i) the concepts for a series
of SciCommercials designed to change the public’s attitudes so that they perceive
Whale Watching at an appropriate distance to be a superior experience, and (ii) how
to test the effectiveness of these different forms of SciCommercials at altering public
perceptions to Whale Watching.
Amy L. Fletcher The University of Canterbury
In April 2010, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Gloria Molina,
announcing the launch of a “biotechnology incubator” pilot project, stated, “each
year, the county loses many great biotech entrepreneurs and future businesses
because we simply do not have the space, the expertise, or the capacity to nurture
and grow these businesses”. A year later (May 2011), the California Assembly’s
Select Committee on Biotechnology hosted a hearing on strategies to foster and
commercialize translational research and medicine in Los Angeles. Integrating and
adapting insights from the literature on “brand states”, the triple-helix (universityindustry-government relations), and upstream/downstream public consultation,
this paper considers why and how the quintessential modernist metropolis plans to
become a global biotechnology hub. Against the backdrop of the global economic
crisis, the paper asks: 1) what genomic future(s) does Los Angeles want to create; 2)
how – or is – the public being brought into the dialogue about LA’s future; 3) what
roadblocks inhibit effective public consultation; and 4) what, if anything, makes LA’s
public consultation model distinct vis-à-vis other “biopolis” initiatives in cities such as
Singapore, Quebec, and Dresden? The case study concludes by reflecting on the (early)
policy lessons to be drawn from LA’s attempt to advance private and public, economic
and social, revitalization via intense investment in the medical biotechnology sector.
Valentina Grasso CNR Ibimet - Consorzio LaMMA, Alfonso Crisci CNR Ibimet, Federica
Zabini CNR Ibimet - Consorzio LaMMA
In our contemporary “visual culture” computer generated visualization have great
potential as a means to engage people with environmental issues and scientific
problems affecting society. Previous research has shown that, meaningful
visualizations about climate change could help to bridge the gap between what may
seem an abstract concept and the everyday experience, making clearer its local and
individual relevance.
A Google Earth engine tool based on Thematic Mapping API library, named Climate
Scope, has been developed for educational purpose in the frame of R.A.C.E.S EU LIFE
project - Raising Awareness on Climate and Energy Savings. The goal of the idea, led
by the Institute of Biometeorology (IBIMET CNR) was to use a powerful geographic
environment to communicate the physical and social dimension of current climate
changes, at the global and at the local level, also inviting users to become information
producers. A Google Earth mash-up was developed inside the project’s web
pages displaying climatic and environmental global geographical layers of a sound
scientific level, available on the internet and often in real time view, as well as local
information from the cities involved in the project. Climate Scope was proposed to
teachers of secondary schools (14-19 years old students) to be used at school as
a powerful tool to set climate change as global, real event taking place now, with
different impacts on natural and social environments. Climate Scope was conceived
to enhance visual communication and to propose a participative approach that uses
the geo-environment as the cognitive frame to share the issues of climate change.
The visualization concerns map layers of: actual cloud coverage; global surface
temperature anomaly maps; sea surface temperature; and satellite beautiful images
used to explain different signals and impacts through colors. Visual representation
are used to make data more attractive, illustrate the global dimension and finally
engage the public emotionally.
Users are also invited to become “observer, researcher and producer” of local
information integrating climatic and social data and publishing them on the Climate
Scope. An opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between researchers and
students, new actors of “volunteered geographic information”.
Brigitte Gschmeidler dialog gentechnik, Hans-Peter Tscheru dialog gentechnik
Developments in frontier science and emerging technologies and their applications
necessitate individual value tradeoffs and periodically lead to value conflicts at the
societal as well as at the cultural level. In order to be accepted, such new technologies
need to be compatible with values of those concerned. A current approach to cope
with these issues is to engage publics in deliberations and councils on S&T and covers
a spectrum of consultative to participative formats, like consensus conferences,
scenario workshops, citizen summits, hearings, focus groups and the like. But only
a few activities have aimed directly at discussing and unravelling relevant, driving
values for opinions regarding S&T.
We therefore designed a method for public dialogue with a special focus on
people’s values and tested it in a pilot study with Austrian students in regard to the
following issues: “Biometrics Security - or Surveillance technology” and “Dual-Use
Dilemma in Pathogen Research”. We identified participants’ values and views and
identified expectations and positive as well as possible negative future scenarios and
recommendations for both cases.
We would like to present the concept of our value-dialogue method and its potential
and discuss its advantages and disadvantages against the background of the collected
data on the value discussions about biometrics and pathogen research.
The work has been done within the framework of the project “The Landscape and
Isobars of European Values in Relation to Science and New Technology”, funded by
the European Commission within the seventh framework programme.
Sofia Guedes Vaz CENSE/FCT/UNL (New University of Lisbon), Bruno Pinto Museu
Nacional de História Natural, Lisbon, Portugal, David Marçal Associação Viver a
Ciéncia, Lisbon, Portugal
During the last three years, a group of Portuguese scientists put up a project to
communicate science through stand-up comedy. Originally planned to integrate the
events of the Portuguese European Researchers Night in 2009, it evolved to a 2nd
and 3rd edition, with the more recent focusing on environment (with funds from an
environmental national prize).
In this paper, we describe the project and the process of conceptualizing and building
up a stand-up comedy show on science. More specifically we focus on the selection
of scientists, the choice of themes, the process of producing the texts, specific acting
lessons and preparation to perform for different types of audiences, and other aspects
related to this project. This is based on the personal experience of the authors (one
coordinator and two participants), but also through interviews to all the scientists
that participated in this process.
Each performance was planned to have the duration of approximately one hour with
pieces of six/seven scientists. Its main purpose is to entertain and make people smile,
laugh or feel-well, whilst trying to fulfill other objectives of science communication,
namely to increase awareness about the issues involved, to provide information
about those issues, to promote learning or curiosity but above all to transmit the
idea of science and of scientists as something one can laugh at. The overall objective
was that audiences became more receptive to science in general while learning and
laughing at the same time.
In general, the participant scientists chose themes related to their areas of expertise
and/or in which they had a specific interest, which gave them the advantage of
greater initial knowledge or interest to increase it. For the research in each theme,
participants used books about science, scientific articles, technical and non-technical
reports, newspaper articles, but also their personal experience as scientists. To
improve the quality of the humor of the initial texts, there was a substantial input
of the coordinator, but also a significant interaction and improvement through
brainstorming and trial and error which involved coordinators and participants.
After three years of experience, with 20 performances and a total audience of over
2500 people in different settings – theaters, universities, research centers, shoppingmalls – and endless laughter this science communication project may be considered
as an example worth sharing and discussing.
Sofia Guedes Vaz CENSE/FCT/UNL (New University of Lisbon), Rita Lopes CENSE/
FCT/UNL (New University of Lisbon), Pedro Beça CENSE/FCT/UNL (New University
of Lisbon), Vanja Karadzic CENSE/FCT/UNL (New University of Lisbon), Winston
Jerónimo CENSE/FCT/UNL (New University of Lisbon)
“Do you standby?” is a video-art that was produced and disseminated through social
networks. Videos have become a popular approach to transmit varied environmental
and scientific issues but a proper evaluation of its effectiveness is usually lacking. The
“Do You Stand By?” project aims to overcome that shortcoming and at the same time
to trigger a reflexive learning process in a wide audience which could, in turn, induce
a behavior change regarding the standby use of energy.
The video-art “Do you standby?” was disseminated through social networks such as
YouTube and Facebook during two months. It was followed by a short questionnaire
on energy issues and on the video itself. This methodology, using a video (2 min.) and
a questionnaire (2 min.) was an attempt to both assess the video’s effectiveness and
to increase people’s awareness, hopefully able to activate self-questioning and selfevaluation, triggering a reflection process which could induce a change of behavior.
When people are answering the questionnaire after watching the video, they reflect
once more on the issue, rethink their current behavior and the need to change. We
also tried to understand how people reacted to the video, and how the message
came across, namely if people became willing to change their behavior regarding
standby. Reflexive learning was used as a motivating framing concept to draw the
video script and formulate the questionnaire.
Using a universal language and using social networks reached a wide and varied
audience. Results from 1000 answers (in two months) to the questionnaire show
some insights into people’s awareness regarding standby power consumption and the
usefulness of videos as a communication tool. The majority of comments obtained in
the questionnaire showed that the video was received as an enjoyable and motivating
experience. We obtained a very positive feedback about the use of video-art as a tool
for communicating environmental messages, as well as a trigger to foster reflexive
learning and subsequent behavior change.
The paper discusses this environmental communication project aimed at
understanding the suitability of using video-art to convey scientific/environmental
issues and encouraging sustainable energy use in the field of stand-by energy
consumption. The experience gathered and the results obtained in this project act as
an inspiration that can be repeated with other more demanding subjects.
Andi Horvath, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, George Aranda Deakin
Science Communication Postcards
In this session participants will receive a postcard from an allied communication
professionals like, bloggers, philosophers, professors, and entertainers, etc. The
postcard will provide a communication “insight”. The group will reply to the postcard
with their experiences and examples of science communication. The wealth and
diversity of PCST 12 participants should make this an exciting session. The session
outcomes will be published on-line as a part of a project called Science Communication
Sample postcard: Dear PCST 12, Hello “Socrates” here, I’ve thought about effective
communication – I think the concept has three elements. It has logos (logic and
sound argument): if it makes sense I listen. The second is ethos (the relationship
the communicator constructs with the audience): if I like our “connection” I will
continue to engage. The last of the 3 is pathos (the message also speaks to the heart):
if it resonates with me, it’s meaningful. Have you experienced this too? Remember
Wisdom begins in wonder. Enjoy your Italian sojourn. Love Socrates.
Sample response: Dear Socrates, Hello PCST12 group 2 here, we have some examples
of science communication that illustrate you’re thinking. We saw an exhibit in ... and
it was memorable because... etc.
The Science Communication Postcards project is intended to be a collection of case
studies in science communication that can serve as a resource of concepts and
creativity to science communicators around the world. The project was inspired by
documenting an undergraduate Science Communication course at The University
of Melbourne and my Science Communication Gym (training I run for scientists
to communicate more effectively). It became apparent that creating effective
communication meant access to a resource that connects “conceptual tools” (like
Socrates logos, ethos and pathos) with good examples that made use of these tools
in the everyday world.
Ira van Keulen Rathenau Institute, Antoinette Thijssen Rathenau Institute
The Rathenau Institute is developing a social game on human enhancement for the
iPhone in cooperation with the Dutch game developer IJsfontein. The game, which is
going to be launched by the end of this year, is meant to encourage players to think
about the ethical dilemmas on human enhancement. In three different missions, a
team of players can either train themselves or use light to heavy enhancements to
reach their goal.
Human enhancement technologies can help people to become stronger, fitter and
more beautiful or focused. Such medical technologies are developed for people
with a disorder but are now increasingly used by healthy people to improve their
performance or appearance. Popular examples are Viagra for men to improve their
performance in bed, cosmetic surgery like liposuction to remove fat from the body or
ADHD drug Ritalin to increase concentration before an exam.
The Rathenau Institute – the technology and science system assessment institute for
the Dutch parliament – aims with this social game to invite people to think about the
broader trend of public acceptance of healthy people using technologies to become
smarter, fitter or more beautiful. How does enhancement change our ideas about
what is human? Will the social pressure to use these enhancements increase? What
if your child is the only one who has not taken Ritalin before his or her secondary
school exam? And who has access to these technologies?
The social game we are developing forces players to think about and discuss these
issues within their team. Players can sign up for three different missions: your child
is taking part in a competition to enter a top five university, you’re a scientist who is
needs funding for cancer vaccine research or you’re an elderly person who wants to
live independently with your friends. As a group or as an individual you can decide to
either put a lot of time in training or use enhancements.
The Rathenau Institute thinks a social game is an effective way of making a broad
audience think about an issue like human enhancement. The players get insight in
existing and experimental human technologies. They are challenged to think about
the question how far they would go to reach their goal.
In a Show, Tell and Talk we would like to demonstrate the game, explain the choices
we have made, talk about the experiences of the players and assess social games as a
way to communicate with a broader audience on science and technology dilemmas.
Tanja Klop Delft University of Technology, research group Biotechnology and
Society; Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation; Centre for Society
and Genomics, Patricia Osseweijer Delft University of Technology, research group
Biotechnology and Society; Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation;
Centre for Society and Genomics
Universities and other scientific institutes are increasingly considered responsible for
contributing to the public understanding of science and for communicating emerging
scientific developments that are difficult to understand but highly relevant to the
public. In this fast changing society, youngsters more than ever will need the ability to
make informed decisions about important aspects of their lives and future. They will
need to be able to make personal and social choices about their health, their privacy,
and collectively, the functioning of society as a whole.
Several Dutch universities and related institutes have already opened their doors
to invite members of the public, with specific emphasis on secondary schools, to
participate in “open days” or educational programmes. Most of the (extra-curricular)
educational modules are designed for pre-academic secondary education classes
(higher educational levels). These science modules are generally not responsive to the
needs of those with lower educational levels, while nearly 60% of Dutch secondary
school students are in these so-called vocational tracks.
This unequal distribution of educational opportunities particularly pertaining to
science can be explained by the fact that universities’ main focus is on attracting
future students. This leaves a significant void in achieving the goal of “science for all”
which is a core principle in the contribution to public understanding
This paper will describe and discuss the design of a science module, which focuses
on the relationship between food, health/sickness and nutrigenomics - and relates
to learners in the vocational track. Furthermore we will describe how the iterative
process between researchers in the field of science education/communication and
nutrigenomics, and school teachers and vocational students, resulted in achieving
the desired learning outcomes. In addition to understanding the basic concepts of
nutrigenomics, the students were able to evaluate the personal relevance for their
foreseeable future.
Stressing the objectives of “science for all” by specifically addressing the needs of
vocational students, this paper provides guidelines for the potential and efficacy of
universities to design science modules that could play a significant role in access to
scientific literacy.
Finarya Legoh Agency for Assessment & Application of Technology, Indonesia, Dyah
Ratna Permatasari DoctoRabbit Science Inc., Diah Kusumaningrum DoctoRabbit
Science Inc.
The fast growth of Social Network Services (SNS) has encouraged women to be
familiar with computer and gadget. According to Inside Facebook report in 2009,
there are more than 56% women in US Facebook audience, and amazingly, the most
growing segment is the older women (age above 55) with 175% growth rate in 120
days. This phenomenon has also happened in gadget users, especially in Blackberry
(women segment comprises of 59%).
Unfortunately, this fast growing of computer and gadget users from women segment
is not accompanied by their knowledge in information technology. In some cases,
this technology illiteracy could bring some issues, such as data security hacked, fraud
transaction, etc.
The DigiMoM program offers a fun approach to promote the information technology
awareness to women. It used the blended format of café scientifique and workshop.
We collaborate with a radio station to promote and broadcast the program. Currently,
DigiMoM program is held once a month in Jakarta.
Responds from women audience are positive. There are some inquiries from women
communities to have DigiMoM workshop at their places. We believe that this
program could have the beneficial effect of developing women literacy in information
Lucia Martinelli Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy, Samuela Caliari Museo delle
Scienze, Trento, ITALY, Marina D’Alessandro Master in comunicazione della scienza,
SISSA, Trieste, ITALY, Patrizia Famà Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy, Flavio Perna
Master in comunicazione della scienza, SISSA, Trieste, Italy, Paola Rodari SISSA
Medialab, Italy, David Tombolato Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy
The work aims at supporting the planning of the Environmental Sciences gallery for
the MUSE, the new Museum of Science of Trento (Italy), opening in the late spring
2013 ( The gallery proposes an original
approach both from the narrative and the scientific point of view being based on
framework known as “planetary boundaries”, in order to become aware about the
complex relationship between human activities and environmental resilience. At
first, the most relevant studies concerning public perception about environmental
questions - such as evaluation studies already accomplished by other European
museums and Eurobarometer surveys - have been analyzed. Then, the main
audiences of the future gallery were identified and involved in a series of focus groups
engaging secondary schools pupils, teachers and independent adults. Key issues
of the “planetary boundaries” framework were presented and discussed with the
participants (i.e.: climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion,
nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, global freshwater use, change in land use, biodiversity
loss, overpopulation, atmospheric aerosol loading and chemical pollution). Present
evaluation has allowed us to understand the knowledge, attitude and interests of
different publics towards those issues and towards the idea of sustainability, and their
perception of the information on those issues as conveyed in the media. Hostility
and willingness to participate, unconcern and awareness, hope and fear emerged in
interesting patterns, showing a general and declared need of information of “good”
quality, i.e. detailed and evidence-based, related to a “what-we-can-do” agenda. This
knowledge has been precious for designing the MUSE’s gallery in an effective way.
In particular the exhibition, addressed to a large public, includes the results of the
environmental research and the awareness of its methods and limits, shows possible
environmental solutions and raises the sense of belonging that seems to be lost.
Nora Sofia Mohamed Yuran Universiti Teknologi MARA Kedah, Faculty of Art and
In this poster, an attempt will be made to describe the effectiveness of visual arts as
a medium for communication of science.
The visual dimensions of science communication are often overlooked in
scientific research.
Can visual arts become a medium for science communication?
Can visual arts make science a thing of quality and beauty?
Can public understanding about microbiology be achieved in Malaysia through
visual arts?
To identify microbiology in Malaysia and visualize through visual arts
To produce artworks based on subject matter from microbiology
To encourage public understanding to learn more about microbiology in
On-site visit to collect sample of microbiology in Petri dishes.
Equipment to identify microbiology – electron microscopy.
Experimental media – drawing, mixed media, computer generated images
and digital photography.
Exhibit the artworks to the public.
Successful result can be obtained after experiments.
Visual arts provide an opportunity for the public in effective communication of
microbiology in Malaysia. More than ever we need to communicate the value and
benefit of communicating science through visual arts.
Petra Nieckchen EFDA JET, Phil Dooley EFDA JET
Controversy comes to the PCST in the form of the debate surrounding atomic energy.
Conducted in pairs of sessions, participants will view one of two videos of question
and answer about fusion energy research. The two videos are identical except for the
addition in one of key, emotive terms (e.g. “nuclear” and “atomic”). The participants
will fill in a questionnaire about their response to the video. The second video will
then be viewed and the floor will be opened to discuss the honesty and the quality of
the approaches used in the two videos. In a second session the showing order of the
videos will be reversed, to allow comparison of the viewers’ responses.
Another pair of sessions is also proposed, to contrast another pair of videos; one
comparing fusion energy (favourably) with fission energy, and one not mentioning
fission at all. As with the first pair, individual surveys are conducted before viewing the
second video and opening the floor for discussion with the professional community
in attendance. As above, a second session reverses the showing order.
The data gathered in these sessions will be analysed and disseminated amongst the
European Fusion Development Agreement’s network of science communicators. The
network spans about 40 European fusion laboratories.
Giovanna Pacini CSDC, Center for the Study of Complex Dynamics, University of
Florence and Associazione Culturale “Caffé Scienza Firenze”, Franco Bagnoli CSDC,
Center for the Study of Complex Dynamics, University of Florence and Associazione
Culturale “Caffé Scienza Firenze”, Tommaso Castellani Associazione Culturale
“FormaScienza Roma”, Cinzia Belmonte Associazione Culturale “FormaScienza
Roma”, Emiliano Ricci Associazione Culturale “Caffé Scienza Firenze”
“Welcome. Relax, take a coffee or a beer. The discussion will start in a moment,
but don’t be too impatient. We are here to explore, discover and enjoy science and
A science café is a discussion about some topic in science and technology as scientists
do. This does not mean drawing formulas on napkins, but discussing with experts all
on the same ground, where the public, and not the experts, are at home.
The purpose of the science café is to demythologize science communication, remove
it from the cathedra and bring it into everyday life. Very often, we think of the scientific
community as a one-way flow of information, from experts to ordinary people who
simply have to absorb some concept. It is true that much of the technical knowledge
necessary to make an informed decision is not every one’s heritage, and that we
often need specific skills to understand advanced topics, but it is also true that the
scientific method requires the discussion on equal level, without exceptions. Thus,
the concept of science café has more to do with participation than simply science.
A science café is not a conference, experts introduce themselves and the theme of
the discussion, but this part is limited to a minimum. The engine of the meeting are
always the questions, actions and discussions of the public, muffled-animated by a
We represent two cultural associations (Caffé-Scienza Firenze and Formascienza
Roma) that organize such events, see,
The associations which are participating are the Association of Florence through the
CSDC, Interdepartmental Centre for the Study of Complex Dynamics, University of
Florence, in the European Project titled “Scicafé”.
We propose to organize a demonstration of how a Science café works by setting up a
typical event.
The components of the event are:
two expert - they should complement as expertise,
one moderator - a scientific journalist who animates or dampens the discussion,
the audience - the participants at the congress.
Toby Parkin, Outreach Programme Co-ordinator, Science Museum, London, UK
The Science Museum’s programmes have developed in scale; we will discuss
techniques to communicate science with children from small to large events. We aim
to inspire, educate and entertain. Teachers are supported through courses to build
on pupil interest. The outreach team have performed in universities, and shared skills
with science centres. Science Museum Live on Tour!-new theatre show- has widened
access to informal science.
Susanne Paech HYPERRAUM.TV
Technology view
The digitization of technology will attain the historical status of a quantum leap for
mass communication.
- professional media producers are increasingly confronted with technology
- the technical entry barrier is dramatically lowered for professional media producers
- technical border between mass media and individual media is vanishing
- mere reach is out intelligent targeting is in
- the user enters the scenario as a content producer
The Anthropological Aspect
Evolution has provided humans with a visual sense, which permits a much higher
data rate than the ear. The human brain is prepared to receive high data quantities via
the eye and to rapidly process them. This capability was essential for the survival of
primeval man. But the cultural achievement of communicating by the visual channel
is still in its infancy because of a lack of suitable instruments.
Simulation – Interactivity – Virtuality
Communication by visual media is a powerful instrument for the transfer of knowledge.
Three emerging methods adding emotion to the reception and transfer of knowledge
in mass media are presented showing visual demonstrations. Simulation: Science
is using it as a powerful tool. But simulation is also very helpful in teaching and
training environments and in transferring information to a broad public. Interactivity:
Digitization makes communication a two-way process. In mass communication,
interactivity (besides voting via a phone number) has so far been impossible for the
lack of a suitable back-channel. Virtuality: Up till now, mass media were limited to
distributing their digital experiences in a one-way style. The implementation of virtual
realities now lifts simulations and interactive applications in mass communication to
a new level.
We are living in a world of constantly growing competition between knowledge
transfer and entertainment.
Production view: This visual transformation of knowledge shown before can also
be “beautiful” in an aesthetic sense if done by professionals experienced in visual
transformation of scientific topics.
Perception view: Anthropology tells us, that “visual beauty” stimulates the perception.
Lining in a world of gaming and entertaining, it’s usage fulfills an increasingly important
task in public knowledge transfer.
The future role of professionals stays important in this context. User generated
content can not erase professional media work.
Cristina Palma Conceição CIES-IUL, Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology,
University Institute of Lisbon
Every summer since 1997 a wide range of research institutes, scientific societies,
science centers, as well as businesses, municipalities and other public services, have
been organizing in Portugal a large number of PCST events, designed for general
public. These events – scientific field trips, astronomical observations, visits to
lighthouses, high-tech industries, museums, etc – are part of a national campaign,
“Living Science at Summer” (Ciéncia Viva no Verão), organized by the National Agency
for the Promotion of Scientific and Technological Culture.
Many people have participated in these (free of charge) events and the vast
majority is very satisfied with it. These activities have some peculiar and innovative
characteristics: they provide the public a direct/personal contact with the researchers
and other scientific professionals, in social contexts of great informality; and, in most
cases, such meetings take place at sites rarely used for PCST proposes, including
popular spots for summer holidays. In a way, these initiatives could be classified as
scientific tourism.
Being an indicator of the changes taking place regarding the relationship between
science and society, and the models of PCST, these events helps to foresee some
of the central theoretical debates in this field, namely the opposition between the
so-called “deficit” and “dialogue” models, or more specifically between educational
vs. dialogic approaches, discursive vs. interactive, out of context vs. in context,
spectacular vs. reflective, etc.
Based on case studies that comprised the ethnographic observation of the events,
interviews with its organizers and a survey of the public, this paper aims to present and
analyze those particular PSCT activities, focusing on its contents and communication
strategies, and how participants understand these experiences, the relationships they
establish, the dilemmas they face and the changes that such initiatives may favor. The
ultimate goal is to bring to discussion some concrete examples (of PSCT “in action”)
that may help to debate some central issues of the models set out above, their
oppositions and complementarities. Among the key findings of this study is the idea
that, in certain cases, even if those involved in PCST may orient themselves according
to some “deficit” principles, the circumstances in which scientists and public meet
are likely to induce new ways of approaching.
Francesco Rea INAF - National Institute for Astrophysics, Marco Galliani INAF National Institute for Astrophysics
The digital era has opened communication between people, from mere passive
consumers of information to active participants of the same. While this phenomenon
has led to a capillarization of the information on the other hand It made their reliability
and accuracy not always certified. In this context, the Italian National Institute for
Astrophysics (INAF) has undertaken in recent years multimedia communications
activities focused on two objectives: to directly reach for the public and act as an
authoritative source of information in astronomy and astrophysics among the citizens
and the Italian media news, delegating this task to an ad hoc online newspaper and
leaving the institutional communication to the INAF website. Media.inaf, the online
portal of INAF information contains articles, interviews (written, audio and video),
specials, and from April 2011 Sidereus, a web video magazine. Even the ‘social’ aspect
is particularly important: INAF has a profile on Facebook, but also on twitter, as well
as a TV channel on Youtube and Vimeo and a friends page on media.inaf.
Stephen Roberts Natural History Museum, London, UK
In addition to Natural History Museum programmes on site, we have new ways to raise
the profile of science careers. Darwin Centre Nature Live events showcase current
biodiversity research. Using social media, pupils upload questions for scientists
before interactive online events. Evaluation showed teachers wanted opportunities
for pupils to practice scientific skills, our development focus. Teacher consultation is
key. Pupils will join us via videoconference.
Pedro Russo, UNAWE International Project Manager, Leiden University / IAU, Leiden
Observatory, The Netherlands
Universe Awareness uses the Universe’s beauty to inspire children in science and
technology. We reinforce global citizenship and tolerance to welcome children to their
international community. Resources are exciting, fun, hands on and encourage play,
especially for age 4-10 from underprivileged backgrounds. We publish astronomy
news Space Scoop in partnership with observatories. It shares the excitement of
scientific discoveries, demonstrating there is much to learn; research children can
contribute to in future. In 6 languages, it is a focus for a classroom discussion.
Amy Sanders The Wellcome Trust
In the UK, activities aimed at engaging with people with an existing interest in science
have proliferated and are being carried out in ever more innovative ways. The use
of comedy, music, web, games and crafts as vehicles to celebrate and communicate
science means its now arguably much more fashionable to be into science – its “chic
to be a geek”.
But are such projects merely “preaching to the converted”, and does that matter?
What is being done to engage those who would not identify themselves as being
interested in science, and what are the challenges inherent in working with these
new audiences?
This session looks at some of the current trends in science communication in the UK
and discusses how effective “science by stealth” approaches can be.
The Wellcome Trust is one of the UK’s main funders of public engagement with science
activity and has funded a number of projects aiming to engage new audiences with
biomedical science.
Case studies considered in this presentation will include 3 projects recently
commissioned by The Wellcome Trust:
1. The Decontamination Chamber
An installation in the late night field at Glastonbury music festival which used a
fictional virus outbreak storyline to make people think about what it means to be
physically and mentally dirty. Visitors engaged with microbiologists and psychiatrists
and underwent a unique and memorable festival experience. Produced by Shangri-La
Glastonbury and Guerilla Science.
2. Evolving Words
Stand up poetry project for young people. Aspiring poets worked with science experts
and established poets in 6 cities to create and perform new works inspired by the life
and legacy of Charles Darwin. Produced by Elizabeth Lynch.
3.Threads and Yarns
Groups of seniors worked with undergraduate textiles students and oral historians
to create a new interactive textile artwork incorporating their own recollections
about changes in health and wellbeing over their lifetimes. Produced by Central Saint
Martins College of Art and Design.
The session will review what worked and what did not work about these projects and
suggest some future directions for innovative public engagement.
Stefano Sandrelli INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Ilaria Arosio INAF Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Andrea Tiengo INAF - Space Astrophysics and
Cosmic Physics Institute (Milan)
“Fantastic Voyage into the Galaxy center” is a new conception workshop for students
who just finished the penultimate scholastic year. It reached its V edition on June
2011, revealing a greater and greater success among the partecipants.
The major innovative method of the workshop is its “living role play” context, so that
it can be considered a main stream example of public engagement in the field of
science & technology outreach and education.
It is organized by INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Brera and INAF-IASF, Milan, in
collaboration with Thales Alenia Space and Media Lario Technologies. It is supported
by ESA, ASI, the National Agency for Education, the Regional Scholastic Office and
The workshop lasts 8-10 days (50 hours), and it is addressed to 30-40 secondary school
students. Its main goal is to introduce the students both to the scientific research and
to the industry challenges in the field of space technology. The students are splitted
into six competing groups and asked to design a space telescope for high energy
astronomy, taking into account the scientific rationale, the industrial technologies and
the assigned budget. Day by day, they attend lessons held by scientific researchers
and they visit both Thales and Media Lario, gathering information about high energy
astronomy and space telescope building activities. Each group discusses its choices
with a set of scientists and engineers acting as tutors. On the last day of the workshop,
each group formalizes its own mission design by making a multimedia presentation.
Two hour before the presentations, the groups are announced that the budget is
reduced down of 30% of the initial one. They have to co-operate and investigate the
possibility to reduce their costs or trying to join their forces.
After a re-discussion of the missions, the final groups (single groups or joined one) give
their final presentations, specifying their scientific goal, the mirrors, the detectors, the
spacecraft (solar panels and electronics all-included) and the launcher they chose. A
panel of scientists selects the space telescope which is worth flying into space.
This approach uses the role-play approach, the hands-on strategy and some more
formal education and it constitutes a high quality format which can easily be repeated
in most of the European countries to fight the disaffection of secondary school
students towards science curricula at university level.
Alessandra Scucces PERCRO Laboratory - TeCIP, Sant’Anna School of Advanced
Studies of Pisa; Museum of Human Anatomy - Department of Human Morphology
and Applied Biology, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of Pisa, Chiara Evangelista
PERCRO Laboratory - TeCIP, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, Marcello
Carrozzino PERCRO Laboratory - TeCIP, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa,
Massimo Bergamasco PERCRO Laboratory - TeCIP, Sant’Anna School of Advanced
Studies of Pisa, Gianfranco Natale Museum of Human Anatomy - Department of
Human Morphology and Applied Biology, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of Pisa,
Antonio Paparelli Museum of Human Anatomy - Department of Human Morphology
and Applied Biology, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of Pisa.
Users want experience over product. This concept, dealing with experiential
marketing, is even more truthful in cultural and social matters. But what can be
considered as a satisfying experience when we are talking about Science and
Technology Communication? Which standards can be evaluated as good-quality to
communicate inside museums and science centers? Contemporary museums play
a central role in making culture accessible to the mass audience, as Museology is
facing structural changes in last decades - especially for what concerns public
engagement and communication -inside and outside museums. A core question of
this renovation process deals with New Technologies and their several implications:
museums, cultural and scientific institutions are renovating their communication
methodology and investigating how new media can be integrated into this purpose.
Multimedia allow museum curators to modulate flexible cultural proposals aiming at
a new conception of exhibition, where Science and Art have become parts of a whole
method to explore and represent the outside world. Contemporary ICT, including
web 2.0, with its interactive approach request the visitor/user to participate and be
involved in a real experience. Developing new media and studying new formats is a
good method to collect data and improve Science and Technological Communication.
The Anatomical Museum of Pisa with PERCRO Lab focus on how multimedia
applications can improve accessibility and educational aspects by integrating new
concepts of fruition. Through specific questionnaires we have conducted an analysis
of people experience inside the Museum, in order to focus the main aspects/problems
concerning the approach to the medical and scientific collections. We have developed
two interactive applications: one is the Information Landscape, a 3D immersive
ambient structured as a corridor/rooms where information are perceived from the
user in a sequential way. The second one is a Virtual Gallery, a sort of multimedia
catalogue showing homogeneous objects through an immersive presentation, offering
a complementary vision of the exhibition. Our aim is to verify and increase the value
of the experience provided by multimedia resources, both for their educational value
and for the engagement they offer. It is a matter of fact that multimedia play a role in
every form of contemporary communication; it is our assignment to study and define
suitable models for the undeniable changes our society is facing out.
Angela Simone formicablu srl, Francesca Conti formicablu srl, Silvio Gualdi Centro
EuroMediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici
Climate change is a top ten favourite topic in most media we come across every
day. But only some aspects are usually discussed: why, how and what is going to
happen next. What if we now start considering climate change in a more complex
and multifaceted way? What if we look at it as a result of social dynamics, economic
issues, effects on human health, impacts on agriculture and forest and many other
criteria with the help of new scientific methods?
The CIRCE Integrated Project, funded under the European Commission’s Sixth
Framework Programme, aimed to reach these objectives, highlighting impacts and
possible adaptation actions of the climate change in the Mediterranean region, which
includes Europe, North Africa and Middle East. The outcomes of the project (scientific
facts and evidences) have been used to produce the cards of a participatory game.
“MedClimateChange-CIRCE PlayDecide”, aiming to discuss issues regarding climate
change and to involve all the participants in a fruitful debate sharing ideas on how to
deal with the impacts of climate change in the Mediterranean area.
MedClimateChange-CIRCE PlayDecide is a Playdecide-based (
game focused on the Mediterranean, already used in some schools events.
Science communication experts from CIRCE Communication Office (formicablu srl)
and a researcher from CIRCE Community (Silvio Gualdi, Centro EuroMediterraneo
per I cambiamenti climatici) will show the game and its features, highlighting and
discussing with the public:
how to manage internal communication among diverse scientific communities
gathered to work on complex scientific issues such as climate change;
how to transform scientific research project’s findings into communication
activities for schools;
how to deal with the needs both of communication efficacy and scientific
robustness in public communication products for schools.
Arne Sjöström Department of Psychology, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany,
Mario Gollwitzer Department of Psychology, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany,
Tobias Rothmund Department of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau,
Germany, Alexandra Sowka Department of Journalism and Communication Research
(IJK), Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, Germany, Christoph Klimmt
Department of Journalism and Communication Research (IJK), Hanover University of
Music, Drama, and Media, Germany
Media coverage of social science research can lead to biased representations of the
current state of research. One timely example is the coverage of the effects of playing
violent video games (VVG) on players’ aggressive behavioral tendencies. Findings in
this research field have often been reported by the news media within problematic
frames, most importantly, in contexts of high school shootings (i.e., extreme and very
rare events of aggression). For the purpose of minimizing the risk of such biases,
and to help improve the interplay between social science and media, we present a
workshop-based intervention concept.
The target audience of the workshop are journalist trainees who are writing at the
intersection of completed formal education and the beginning of daily authorial
work. A one-day workshop with such journalist trainees from different types of news
media is planned. The workshop consists of several modules, which will be prepared
and conducted by experts from various disciplines (e.g., psychology, communication
The primary aim of this workshop is to raise young journalists’ awareness of different
bias risks in the media coverage of social sciences, such as the complexity or limited
generalizability of single studies. Furthermore, the workshop aims to broaden the
trainees’ understanding of fundamentals of research methodology in the social
sciences. Finally, the workshop provides a forum for dialogue and debate on possible
future perspectives on improving the media-science relation, both with regard to the
case of VVG and beyond.
In a second step, the training concept underlying this workshop can be expanded
to a professional learning module that could also be embedded in formal programs
and curricula of journalistic trainee education, or as a tool for life-long learning and
discussion that is offered to more experienced journalists.
At the PCST conference, we intend to introduce the workshop concept with its content
modules and discuss conceptual and practical issues with the expert audience.
Susanne Sleenhoff MSc Delft University of Technology, Department of Biotechnology,
Section Biotechnology & Society, Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial
Fermentation; Centre for Society and Genomics, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The
Netherlands, Maurizio Montalti MA Officina Corpuscoli, Bilderdijkstraat 182-IV, 1053
LD, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Bio-art is described as a possible intermediary for the engagement between science
and society. It functions as a double boundary object between science and art, and
science and society. Bio-art has the potential to explicate social, cultural and moral
dilemmas that are likely to arise with the advancements in science and technology by
making them visible and tangible. By turning the innovation into something concrete
the artist and his work are able to ask questions or trigger dialogue.
For turning our current society into a bio-based one a transition is needed. This is only
possible if all stakeholders within society, including the public at large are engaged.
Individual choices people make in their everyday life, for instance about what to eat,
how to arrange transport or which energy contract to take will determine the direction
of the transition. A bio-based economy is an economy in which fossil fuels and
chemical processes are replaced by biomass and biological processes for producing
pharmaceuticals, chemicals, materials, and energy. This economy is expected to
benefit society in terms of sustainability, energy security and public health.
System Synthetics is a bio-art project by designer Maurizio Montalti. It was one of
the winners of the Designers & Artists for Genomics Award 2010. In this work he
explored the impact and social consequences of the latest advancement in lifesciences and microbiology. With this installation the artist addresses the problem of
plastic pollution in our natural environment. By working together with life scientists
Montalti looked at micro-organisms to see if they could be a solution for the reduction
of our plastic waste. His work suggests that they can be more than just that. Not only
can fungi reduce waste but by working together with yeast they should be able to
produce ethanol.
The installation was on display for half a year in the natural history museum Naturalis.
This created the opportunity for researcher Susanne Sleenhoff to look into how the
work affected the public and to what extent it engaged them with the bio-based
economy. For that she observed visitors, conducted small interviews with them and
held a series of focus groups. The results will show how System Synthetics is able to
engage the public. This presentation will address both sides of bio-art as a boundary
object for public engagement with science.
Cobi Smith Australian National University
Participatory evaluation is a concept relevant to science communication on multiple
levels. Best practice science communication should involve interaction and iteration
participatory evaluation incorporates both of these principles.
Evaluation of science communication activities is essential for the discipline of science
communication to progress. However evaluation shouldn’t just be the domain of
academics and policy makers, for the same reasons scientists shouldn’t be the only
ones making decisions about science.
Participatory evaluation calls for “radically rethinking who initiates and undertakes
the process, and who learns or benefits from the findings” (Institute of Development
Studies, 1998). This concept emerged in the field of international development;
however it is equally applicable to developments in science and technology
internationally. The practice of science communication has moved from a top-down
model to two-way engagement - evaluation of science communication activities
should share this model of best practice.
How does this concept work in practice? Cobi will discuss how participatory evaluation
is being used to inform science communication practice, in the context of ‘Inspiring
Australia: a national strategy for engagement with the sciences’.
Elizabeth Stevenson University of Edinburgh, Heather Rea Edinburgh Beltane Beacon
for Public Engagement
What does quality mean in public engagement with science?
There is a general trend, particularly in Higher Education Institutions/universities, to
increase the frequency and scope of public engagement; not only public engagement
with science but with other disciplines. In the UK for example, the Beacons for Public
Engagement is a four year project with the aim of embedding a culture of public
engagement in Higher Education. The Beacons are funded by the UK Higher Education
Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust.
In our role within the Edinburgh Beltane, one of six UK Beacons for Public Engagement,
we (Elizabeth Stevenson and Heather Rea) and the other members of the Beltane
Evaluation Group) were very interested in considering the issue of quality in public
engagement. Our concern was that there is a possibility that staff and students in
Higher Education Institutions merely increase the quantity of public engagement
being undertaken without regard to the effects on the publics with whom they engage.
We held workshops in Edinburgh, Manchester and London inviting discussion around
questions of quality in public engagement throughout 2009-2010. The questions we
considered were as follows:
What does quality mean in public engagement (with science)?
What are the characteristics of quality in public engagement?
Can we learn from other areas of practice-led work?
What can we in science learn from other disciplines?
Can we define guiding principles for quality in public engagement?
Workshop participants considered the question of quality in public engagement from
three perspectives:
These three perspectives would form the basis for three round table discussions
on quality in public engagement with science where we will share our findings as a
starting point for discussion.
We would like to share our findings and continue these discussions on an international
level to explore different dimensions brought by different cultures, countries and
Round table discussion 1: What does quality mean for practitioners in public
Round table discussion 2: What does quality mean for activities/projects in public
Round table discussion 3: What does an institution with quality public engagement
look like?
Miriam Sullivan The University of Western Australia, Nancy Longnecker The University
of Western Australia
Science communication is still a relatively young and sometimes misunderstood
discipline. As a result, many new students have trouble conceptualizing the field and
where they fit within the intellectual community. Internet blogs are known to be a
useful teaching tool at universities as they increase student interaction and expose
students to a diversity of opinions. Most research has so far looked at individual
student blogs, although class blogs have potential to encourage a greater sense of
community amongst students.
We introduced class blogging assignments to four different science communication
units in 2010 and 2011, with 122 students in total. The assignments required students
to read scholarly literature or listen to/ watch appropriate material related to the
unit and to write a short post. Student impressions about the blog assignments were
evaluated using quantitative surveys, qualitative feedback and website metrics.
Overall, students felt that the blog increased meaningful intellectual exchange. On
average, students received feedback from four others on their post and most found
that these comments were helpful. Knowing that their peers would read their post
also motivated them to write better. Students were less motivated by knowing that
the blogs were freely available to the general public, although the general public
is clearly reading the blogs. Each of the blogs received over 2000 views during the
semester and continue to receive visitors after the semester ends, even though
students have stopped posting.
Class blogs can be a powerful learning tool and help create a sense of intellectual
community amongst science communication students. If using public blogs, students
and teaching staff need to be aware that the blogs will be read by people outside the
class. This presents opportunities to promote the field of science communication.
Yihong Tan Science Times Group, Hepeng Jia China Science Media Centre & Knight
Science Journalism Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yang Mo Graduate
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fengji Luo Chaoyang District Centre for
Disease Control and Prevention
Despite the rapid growth in both research budget and outputs, the communication
work between researchers and the public & media remains poor in China. There
are continuous miscommunications on public health issues in Chinese media like
vaccination, food safety problems and hydro projects. Media’s poor understanding
of health professionals’ work as well as health professionals’ reluctance to cope with
the media from the fear of inaccurate reporting are the main causes to the problem.
In order to help find a solution to the mutual resistance, China Science Media Center,
with the support of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and funding
of Wellcome Trust, launched an innovative scientists-media role exchange programme
in late 2011.
This pilot project enrolls young medical scientists & health workers to work as intern
journalists in media for up to six weeks as well as arranges nine science and health
journalists to work in a public health agency (Chaoyang District CDC), labs and
This paper will report the full process of the project and its achievements while analysing
the significance of this project for the practice of China’s science communication
as well as its constraints in the Chinese contexts. Meanwhile, this paper will also
identify the challenges of the non-governmental organisations in promoting science
communications in China.
Francesca Taponecco European Academy of Bolzano, Uta Fritsch European Academy
of Bolzano, Matthias Muehlberger European Academy of Bolzano, Karin Amor
European Academy of Bolzano, Brigitte Leiter European Academy of Bolzano
The European Academy of Bolzano (EURAC) is an international research center
located in the heart of the Alps and is part of the pcst partner network. As a project
of the Scientific Communication group, EURAC junior aims at communicating science
of the research center to young people in an interactive and interdisciplinary way,
fostering their curiosity for science and humanities. It includes a variety of activities
and didactical formats, to introduce the job profile of a scientist, to motivate to start
an academic career.
In practice, we develop and perform initiatives that aim at bringing young people
inside our research institute as well as bringing research and researchers inside
the classroom. We offer experimental workshops - the so called schoollabs - that
constitute our daily business, we present our activities to a broader public during
science festivals and open dissemination events such as lectures for schoolkids or
summer science camps.
In our approach, interactive experiments, hands-on experiences, technical instruments
as well as examples from concrete applications fields are used to practically explain
the theoretical basis in usually three-hour workshops. These workshops introduce
young people to the fascinating world of research, and communicate the basics of
genetics, remote sensing, renewable energy, minority rights and multilingualism.
In order to explain scientific background and technical applications we provide
students with theory and practice in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology foreign
languages or social studies. Specifically, the topics we focus on come from the several
research institutes of the EURAC. The EURAC junior team works together with the
researchers of the respective institutes that are Applied Remote Sensing, Renewable
Energy, Genetics Medicine, Alpine Environment, Specialized Communication and
Multilingualism, Minority Rights to directly present latest research results and
contents, still communicating them in an appealing and intuitive way.
The institutes conduct research studies in fields which are directly related to the
local alpine territory of South Tyrol; this make the topics even more appealing for the
public, involving their experience and observation.
In this contribution we provide details regarding the dissemination of scientific subjects
through our workshops for schools as well as through public events for a broader
audience, and we discuss the collected feedback to improve our best practices.
Senkei Umehara Japan Science and Technology Agency, Masataka Watanabe Japan
Science and Technology Agency
Science Agora, a multifaceted science communication event held annually since
2006, represents Japan’s most current activities by inviting competitive proposals
nationwide. While more than a hundred individual programs welcome their targeted
audiences, the event as a whole is for everyone in society at all ages, irrespective
of background. Unlike academic meetings, lay people can enjoy hands-on activities
offered by research institutions or groups joined by leading scientists; and unlike
ordinary festivals, serious discussions on societal issues closely related to specific
scientific topics are held among a spectrum of stakeholders to exchange opinions.
Its uniqueness lies in the diversity of exhibitors and participants. Having been initiated
with programs by science communicators and their colleagues, the event, after its
six-year history, now comprises hundreds of exhibitors from various sectors such as
laboratories, research institutions, private companies, science centers, government
organizations, NPOs and individuals. Those exhibitors are expected to interact and
learn on site so that the event induces improvement in their science communication
skills, and thereby deliver their experience to local activities. Excellent practices can
also be seen as models that are to be analyzed; some are specific to Japanese culture
while others are rather more universal.
Reviewing the history of Science Agora from multiple perspectives, this presentation
offers suggestions for communicating science based on case studies. The focus will be
on culture and social context in Japan, whereas influence made by changes in national
policy background will also be mentioned. Furthermore, the authors wish to discuss
with meeting participants on additionality, or what quality of science communication
can be added to the simple sum of individual programs by organizing them into one
place of assembly.
Alex Verkade Very Disco Foundation
Discovery Festival is a yearly night filled with live science, live music, film, installations,
experiments, presentations and much more. The latest edition took place on Friday
September 23rd in science center NEMO in Amsterdam. This edition attracted 1400
young people, who bought a ticket and immersed themselves in new science, new art
and new music from 9pm until 4am.
In the past years we programmed many new things. Take, for instance, the world
premiere of live 3D images in a VJ-set, a result of the cooperation, initiated by us,
between Delft University researchers and renowned VJ Max Hattler (2009) or direct
brain-game interaction by Twente University (2009). Or take being a guinea pig in
real scientific research, from economical games (by University of Amsterdam, 2010),
via a serious cuddling-and-pain-experiment by Nijmegen University (2010) to testing
whether playing darts is really improved by having a beer, by Vrije Universiteit (2011).
Micropresentations by young scientists, but also by tv personalities, writers, artists
and the president of our Royal Academy of Sciences. An art programme curated by
us, showcasing young promising artists who play with science. The cutting edge of
new Dutch music. Cocktails. Sound art. Science visuals. Games. Debate.
Most science communication is aimed at knowledge transfer. We are convinced
that science would benefit from something additional: improvement of the attitude
towards scientists among the public. Our goal is to improve the public image of the
scientist, by initiating encounters between young, enthusiastic scientists and the
public. A night-on-the-town proves to be the ideal showcase –next to visitors, we
also attract much press, thereby reaching a broad audience with our message: young
scientists organise a trendy night out in Amsterdam.
One of our key success factors, we believe, is a seemingly insignificant shift in focus:
rather than scientific-content-driven, we are programme-driven. Which means, in
programming, that we do not start with certain science and then “fun it up”; we start
with the festival concept and then look for suitable science programming. In this way,
we aim to be not only innovative in the science communication world, but rather
innovative in the nightlife world. Our visitors do not come because we add dancing to
a science night; they come because we add science to a dancing night. Paradoxically,
we draw more attention to science by focusing less on communicating science.
Collette Vosloo Senior Manager: Research Communication CSIR
A case study looking at the challenges – and some ways of meeting these – of
communicating science (1) in and (2) of a multidisciplinary science, engineering and
technology (SET) organisation.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa comprises a
number of varying SET domains – ranging from the built environment, biosciences,
and defence, to modelling and digital science, and laser research.
Although the organisation’s multidisciplinary nature is seen as a strength, it also leads
to confusion among some stakeholders who are unclear about the organisation’s focus
– and thus its value proposition. In addition, every SET domain within the organisation
has a different group culture (regardless of efforts to advocate a “singular CSIR”). This
has as a result that stakeholders experience the organisation differently and – thus
inconsistently – depending on which domain they are exposed to.
Internally, a challenge exists in fostering cross-domain interaction between
researchers. Consequently, one finds that science disciplines would know very
little of one another but that unnecessary and costly duplication exists in terms of
cross-cutting capabilities (e.g. modelling). Researchers across domains would also
be communicating with similar stakeholders, without being aware of it (leading to
further confusion which adds to a seeming reluctance in the uptake of research by
stakeholders – many of whom are laymen).
How can science communication contribute to a better understanding and
appreciation of different science disciplines within an organisation and a willingness
to share learning and engage in cross-organisational dialogue?
With the varying dynamics of a multidisciplinary organisation, how can science
communication contribute to a cohesive message about different research topics to
diverging external stakeholders?
In responding to these challenges, the CSIR has implemented various platforms for
engagement internally and is embarking on targeted external initiatives –also with a
view to increase the uptake of research by decision and policy makers, among others.
The road is an interesting and sometimes sobering one, but every endeavour thus
far has not only highlighted the importance of science communication but also the
necessity of a shared understanding of the value of science communication.
Alessandra Zanazzi, Lara Albanese, F. Pacini Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Italy
The sky above us brings people from the world together, a source of legends for
all cultures. Communicating the multiculturalism of astronomy with children from
different backgrounds is a tool to introduce science and its impact. Every child has a
favourite language and ways to understand the world. To overcome communication
issues, we have implemented a project using diverse languages and techniques to
embed science story-telling. This includes lab activities, planetarium and puppet
shadow theatre. This co-operation involves astronomers, pedagogues, puppet
makers, cultural mediators and children.
Kimberly K. Arcand Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Lisa F. Smith University of
Otago New Zealand, Jeffrey Smith University of Otago New Zealand, Megan Watzke
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Astronomical images provide an opportunity for us to consider some of the largest
philosophical questions facing the human race – where do we come from, and where
are we going? The images can be seen as objects of beauty, art, and culture, but they
are primarily, or rather, originally, representations of science. Hundreds of astronomical
images that depict our Universe are made available to the public each year by scientists
and science communicators. The data span the entire electromagnetic spectrum –
radio waves to infrared light to X-rays and gamma rays – mostly representing the light
and phenomena that cannot be detected by the human eye. The release of science
results from these “other” types of light in particular can pose major questions about
the dissemination and communication of that information including: what are the
issues involved in the processing of astronomical data? How do non-experts process
and perceive this imagery? Do non-experts understand the choices made in the
representation of the data?
This paper will present recent results of the Aesthetics & Astronomy (A&A http:// research study which aims to examine the perception of
multiwavelength astronomical imagery and the effects of the scientific and artistic
choices in processing astronomical data. We will consider issues that could help
address public trust in science imagery and content. We propose that a more informed
consensus on the perspective of the non-expert in visualization and contextual issues
in science communication can help improve the material offered, foster trust, assure
a balance of power, and open opportunities for dialogue on meaning-making and
relevance. By ascertaining what non-experts learn from images and their context,
as well as how to better communicate different concepts with the public, we believe
this study will facilitate our goal towards the diffusion of science knowledge and
engagement in science experience.
Hiroyuki Arita-Kikutani National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Yoshikazu
Ogawa National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Saori Nakai National Museum
of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Kumiko Sato National Museum of Nature and Science,
This presentation considers the role of science museums in the advanced science and
technology society. We introduce the training program for science communicators at
the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo (NMNS).
The process of science communication depends on the contexts of communication
environments. Ogawa (2005) examined the communication environments in museums,
and in particular, discussed those qualities expected of science communicators when
they function as liaisons between audiences and science. They are expected to have
the qualities of expertise, communication, and coordination.
Based on these qualities, NMNS developed the practical training program for science
communicators in collaboration with universities. The goal of our training program
is to “create a link of knowledge” between theory and practice with regard to the
following four key qualities: Understand (Deepen expertise of science and technology),
Communicate (Improve communication skills), Engage (Improve coordination skills)
and Activate (Take action in society). The training program is composed of two courses;
“SC1” and “SC2”. These courses focus on communication skills (SC1) and coordination
skills (SC2), respectively. To complete the key qualities, students also acquire expertise
through their research activities. For this reason, the training program is aimed at
graduate students of collaborating universities. Students first learn communication
theory, apply it to actual practice, and then re-visit the theory by focusing on the
questions raised during actual practice. It is this process that makes the program so
unique. Each course provides opportunities for small discussion groups in which the
students can develop “communication skills” and “discussion skills”.
This training program was launched in summer 2006. In the last 5 years 116 people
have graduated. Among them, 51 people received the SC certificate on completion of
SC2. The graduates are expanding their activities in various areas, such as publishing
a free science newspaper, producing science learning support materials, etc. They
also receive financial support from a company and organize a Science Cafe regularly.
Our program is a successful pioneer model within the Japanese science communicator
community. The current key issue is disseminating information about our training
program. The concept of the program and science communication itself should be
widely understood by museums and universities.
Fred Balvert Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam
Thanks to information and communication technology we are able to witness surgical
operations live. The so-called ‘live cases’ provide a valuable tool in the education
and training of medical professionals. Medical conferences often feature live video
connections with the operating room, which are sometimes watched simultaneously
by thousands of colleagues all over the world. The well-established procedures for
live cases, paired with the common availability of video and transmission technology,
now also gives the general public a peek into a world hitherto closed to outsiders.
Erasmus MC University Medical Center has developed a format for live surgical cases
broadcast to the general public. In 2007, a lay audience of two hundred people
followed a live broadcast of an ‘awake brain surgery’ case. During this surgical
procedure the patient is awake to prevent the loss of brain functions. Researchers
and physicians gave commentary and background information in the auditorium. The
event was greatly appreciated by both the audience and the patient and her family,
who were present at the event.
In 2008, a lay audience gathered to witness a ‘living donor kidney transplantation’.
During the morning session, one kidney was removed from a healthy donor using
laparoscopic surgery; in the afternoon, the kidney was transplanted into the recipient
patient. Due to building activities in the university medical center during the years 2009
and 2010 ‘the clinical lessons’ were moved to a cinema, thus bringing communication
of science and technology to the centre of popular culture. This moving of the event
generated even more media attention than in the years before.
The idea behind this format is to help bridge the gap of understanding between
medical science and practice on the one hand, and the public on the other, using these
live demonstrations of operations. Placed within a context of scientific and medical
information, the events serve as a medium for focusing on the interaction between
health, disease, science and education in the medical field. The relatively long surgery
procedures allow for the opportunity to highlight the various professions and roles
of the team, the technology in the operating room and social aspects of the lives of
the patient and the professionals involved. The initiative has been followed up in
The Netherlands and beyond by university medical centres, hospitals and television
Gustav Bohlin Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Gunnar
E. Höst Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the major and most critical societal issues
the world faces today. To slow down the negative progress, the resistance problem
needs to be handled widely by many actors including the general public. Sweden
stands out as a positive example with favorable public attitudes in an international
comparison. In spite of this, there is a widespread confusion around facts, which
makes the positive attitudes very fragile as they have a weak knowledge base to stand
on. With the media being one of the most important public informants of scientific
and social issues, how these attitude- and knowledge patterns are paralleled by
contents of the news might clarify the reasons behind their appearance. Earlier
studies of antibiotic resistance in the press focuses primarily on specific facts and
advised measures, leaving the scientific reasons for these unexamined. To what
extent media provide answers to questions like: which are the mechanisms behind
various causes for spread?, or why hasn’t a certain action would-be effective been
studied previously?
The intended poster will present a thorough examination of seven major newspapers
in Sweden since the last three years, as to the nature of the communication on
antibiotic resistance. Which aspects are presented to the public and which factual
keys are made available to understand the relevance of these? As bacteria develop
resistance through the mechanisms of natural selection, these are used as part of
the framework to assess the contents in the analyzed material. The research follows
a mixed-method design with quantitative strategies giving a clear and valid view of
the patterns of the content while a complementing qualitative analysis provide more
insight into the nature of the communication as well as visual representations in the
Preliminary results show that a minority of the articles provides possible measures on
an individual level, but directs the problem toward politicians, scientists and health
professionals. Moreover, mechanisms for development and spread, from which riskreduction measures are derived, are deeply underrepresented in the public debate.
The outcome will hopefully provide clues to vital scientific concepts implicitly required
for public understanding and ability to make informed decisions on this emerging
Ulla Bredberg CommHERE project coordinator, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm,
CommHERE is the first communication project to receive funding from the EU within
FP7 Health; 2 millions for three years starting in October 2011. The overall aim of
CommHERE is to improve communication on the outcome of EU funded health
research projects to the media, the general public and other target groups in all of
Europe and to develop a networking organization for a long-term sustainable effect.
The general concept of CommHERE is to act on two parallel levels which are both
developed during the project period.
* On the one hand the project will work to increase actual communication activities on
ongoing research directed towards the media, various stakeholders and the general
public by the production of press releases, virtual texts and images, and outreach
activities. Basic tools and guidelines for this, applicable on a European level, will be
developed, used and evaluated.
* On the other hand – for a long-term sustainable effect – the project participants
will work closely with the PIs and other representatives of new and ongoing research
projects to encourage and motivate them, by giving tools, feed-back and incentives
for continuous communication within and beyond of the scientific community.
The CommHERE consortium comprises 10 partners, all research institutions which
are active in the health research area, all responsible for the coordination of EUfunded health research projects. This strong EU research connection is crucial for the
proposed project plan, since it gives the consortium the possibility to work in close
contact with the actual performers of health research.
All CommHERE activities will initially be made on a local level, within each of the
participant’s own institutions, towards a European audience, but will be successively
spread during the project period nationally and between countries. A network of
communication officers from all parts of Europe will be built to stimulate future
collaboration, experience/knowledge sharing and competence building.
At PCST 2012 we want to present the tools and guidelines developed so far, including
the planned website (open for all EU research projects), share our experiences
and stimulate networking with other communication officers active in research
Alida Britz Manager: Impact communications; Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research CSIR
Today, worldwide, research is asked to generate benefits for people and companies in
a far shorter time span. Research is required to be accountable and effective and the
impact to be evident. In South Africa the urgent call for socially-relevant science that
supports national priorities is set against the enormity of our development challenges.
Clearly, investment in research and development needs to make a difference in the
economy, environment, society and the quality of life of our people. The CSIR’s
mandate is clear in its call for the improvement of the quality of life of the people of
South Africa. Living up to this mandate should be evident: it should be evident in all
the stories told; in all the communications issued.
But the organisation has traditionally performed better in communicating intended
impact at the start of projects - reporting about the new and the now, and not on
the longer-term impact. A critical look showed that the CSIR has poorly documented
and communicated its impact. Benefits from our work were not explicitly categorised
and named; no dedicated websites or publications were compiled to specifically cite
impact and no dedicated collection of our impact success stories was published.
There was also ample room for improvement in how impact has been woven into the
stories that have in fact been told.
The CSIR realised that is has become imperative for the organisation to take a bold
approach in telling the stories of our research/technological innovation; underlining
our contribution to mankind’s understanding and knowledge pool; illustrating the
economic, societal and environmental benefits for South Africans and highlighting
the impact on government policies.
The CSIR started with a conscious effort to improve on its impact communications. It
was made possible with the approval of the organisation’s Strategic Framework for
Impact Assessment in 2010 in which the organisation outlined how it views impact;
how it intends to plan for improved impact; how it would assess impact achieved, and
what principles needed to be heeded in communicating impact.
In a new impact series, the CSIR uses a participatory impact approach, where the
views of participating beneficiaries capture how their lives have changed. Each case
study comprises an article for download; a short video for internet broadcasting and
a longer programme on DVD.
Gultekin Cakmakci Hacettepe University
While the value of popular media in science education has been acknowledged, very
little empirical research and guidance exists for helping teachers to incorporate such
mediums into the science curriculum and effectively use them in their classroom
practice. This study suggests a novel approach, which uses scenes from documentary
films about historical cases of scientific investigations as a context and instructional
tool to improve pre-service science teachers’ (PSTs) conceptions of nature of science
(NOS). The participants were 39 third-year university students in a 4-year pre-service
science teacher-training program in Turkey. The participants received an explicitreflective NOS instruction, and they were introduced to some techniques for using
scenes from documentary films to illustrate and discuss scientific principles, processes
and ideas about science. In addition, the participants were asked to critically evaluate
a documentary film, select scenes from the film to illustrate and discuss ideas about
science and its nature, make a presentation to their peers and afterwards write
a reflective report about their classroom teaching. During these activities, the
instructor explicitly addressed the target aspects of NOS and made PSTs’ thinking
more viable and reflective. A modified version of the Views on Science-TechnologySociety (VOSTS) questionnaire (Dogan and Abd-El-Khalick 2008) was used to assess
PSTs’ ideas about NOS. The results indicated that, compared to their ideas at the
beginning of the course, many PSTs developed informed ideas about NOS throughout
the course. This study contributes to the literature in that it provides examples of
how to use documentary films in science teaching for promoting students’ ideas
about NOS and how to integrate them into the science curriculum. This approach
can be useful to other teachers and science educators with similar goals. Some
possible implications for teacher education and further research are also discussed
in this paper. Nonetheless, further research is needed on the effectiveness of such
courses on teachers’ abilities to use this approach within the science curriculum
while teaching science and its nature.
Rita Caré, Faculdade de Ciéncias Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa,
Portugal and CiB – Centro de Informação de Biotecnologia, Portugal
It seems important for scientists to engage in social media, because they can gain if
they do it at personal and professional levels. So, it could be interesting to study how
a Portuguese science community is using Facebook.
Facebook (FB) is a social networking service on internet that has already achieved
800.000.000. It was ranked as the most used social networking service worldwide.
Millions of users are using FB every day to: keep up with their “friends”; play social
games; share lists of personal/professional interests, photos, images, links and videos;
communicate with each other through messages, comments and a chat; lear more
about the people they meet and to stay updated on new stories and issues. It allows
very interesting ways of networking and communicating through close Groups from
official organizations.
We chose to conduct a survey within ITQB – Instituto de Tecnologia Química e
Biológica (Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology) to understand how its
science community is using Facebook, because it’s one of the biggest and important
research institutes in Portugal. There are more than 400 potential Facebook users
working on different scientific areas.
We are assessing how this science community is using FB through a survey that
answers some of the following questions. Are the investigators using FB? How old
are the users? What science do they investigate? Are they blogging? Are they using
Twitter or other social network media? What Facebook tools are they using (profiles,
“Like pages”, “Group pages”, etc.)? How much time do they spend on FB per day? Are
ITQB users posting at FB and what subjects/themes? Do they discuss professional,
social, personal, politic issues? Do they play FB games? Do they use FB to find jobs?
If they share science issues in their FB, is it because they think that they will have
influence on their “friends”? Do they share their papers or information about their
work? Do they believe their fundraising will increase if using social media? Do they
do it because FB can open doors to collaboration opportunities that would have been
otherwise closed, invitations to talks and international communications? Do they do
it with science communication goals? And many other questions.
Rita Caré, CiB – Centro de Informação de Biotecnologia, Portugal and FCSH-UNL Faculdade de Cincias Sociais e Humanas - Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal,
Pedro Fevereiro, CiB - Centro de Informação de Biotecnologia, Portugal, ITQB-UNL
- Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica - Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
and FCUL-UL Faculdade de Ciéncias da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
We are conducting a study that aims to understand how Facebook can help our
institution, CiB – Centro de Informação de Biotecnologia, Portugal (a nonprofit
organization that communicates biotechnology in Portuguese language), to
disseminate information, news and events about Biotechnology on the Internet.
Facebook – – is a social networking service on internet that has
achieved more than 800.000.000 users since 2004 and it has been ranked as the most
used social networking service. Millions of people use Facebook every day to keep
up with friends, to share photos, links and videos and to stay updated on stories and
events. Users can also create and join “Groups” and “Like” pages (or “Fan” pages),
some of which are maintained by organizations.
So, Facebook seems to be an excellent tool to help scientific institutions to share
information from their own institutional websites and blogs and to improve discussion.
Furthermore, Facebook has the potential to reach non-traditional audiences with
contents about science and technology in an online space where they are not
otherwise looking for.
We registered CiB on Facebook. Then we invited persons and institutions to become
“friend”. After having the “Friendship Page” on Facebook which inform “friends”
about institutional information, CiB create a “Like Page” to share CiB’s news about
Until April 2012, before PCST 2012 opens, we want to achieve two main goals:
1 – To understand if sharing information on Facebook will improve the number of
readers on CiB’s blog - and on CiB’s institutional website . In order to do it we will get data from the statistical tools of CiB’s “Like”
Page on Facebook -çãode-Biotecnologia-Portugal/282095681809451 - and from the statistical tools of CiB’s
blog on Wordpress. After doing it we will compare the data for a six-month period.
2 – To understand if sharing information on Facebook will raise discussion between
visitors on CiBs “Like” Page on Facebook and / or on CiB’s Blog. We will assess the
comment boxes in both tools to achieve these data for a six-month period.
Angela Cassidy Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Imperial
College London, Alice Bell Science Communication Group, Imperial College London,
Hauke Riesch Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, London
Announcing the launch of a research network for scholars interested in the
intersections of science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) with mass
media; participation; engagement; policy; and education. An accessible and inclusive
way of describing this might be “Science in Public”, after Gregory and Miller (1998).
Research in this area cuts across a broad range of disciplinary fields: while some
professional associations address these interests, and conferences such as PCST bring
people together, as yet there are few ongoing points of contact for researchers. As
such, we propose the formation of an informal Science in Public research network,
open to academics and practitioners with an interest in the research field(s). Initially
this will involve an online hub of key ideas, relevant links, further reading, and listings of
interested individuals, alongside co-ordination with the annual UK-based Science and
the Public conference. We invite discussion from conference participants regarding
the national or international scope of the SiP network (or networks), alongside ideas
for further development. In particular, we see SiP as a potential contact point both
for internal academic networking and for engagement with practitioners of “science
in public”: as such we invite input on the most effective ways to do this.
Chia-Hsin Chen Center for Society, Technology, and Medicine, College of Medicine,
National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
As the biotech crop industry is growing fast, society faces new challenges in
policy-making processes because the commercialization of biotech crops involves
considerations for public attitudes, perceptions, and ethical dilemmas about the risk
and safety of biotech products. The commercialization considerations also raised
questions of food security in the face of the growing population in the world. Many
societies face the problem of how to cope adequately with new inventions and
technologies. Many are now in the middle of debates about GM crops and foods.
Therefore, it is important for the public to access information regarding the safe
transfer, handling and use of genetic modified organisms (GMOs). It also requires
consulting the public during the decision-making process and allowing the public
informed about the final decision.
The Taiwanese government initiated a biosafety regulatory framework in 2003 by
establishing the “Biotechnology Interagency Task”. It is an interdepartmental working
group regarding the governance of GM technology. A few years of discussion at
this working group and relevant programs led to the finalization of the Genetic
Modification Technology Act (GM Technology Act) in September 2009; it addresses
policy status of GM technology to be suitable for current social and cultural
circumstances in Taiwan, and provisions in this act should still be set up by responsible
governmental organizations due to issues. This paper attempts to clarify the current
level of public communication and participation systems that are exemplified in draft
biosafety policy frameworks related to GMO issues in Taiwan. It traces the history of
its biosafety policy from 2003 to the present by relying on documentary analysis and
interviewing key stakeholders. By doing so, it suggests how public communication and
participatory systems may produce optimal results regarding GMO issues in Taiwan.
It also discusses some lessons learned from the past few years that can help improve
the Taiwanese public awareness and engagement to meet the fast development of
biotechnology in the long-term considerations.
Rita Costa Abecasis University of Western Australia, Nancy Longnecker University of
Western Australia
Over the past decades, marine protected areas (MPAs) have become popular tools
for marine conservation and management. However most MPAs fail to meet their
goals and are actually “paper parks”. Engaging stakeholders and communities in MPA
design and management has been strongly recommended as a way to improve MPA
success, as it is known to enhance the quality of decision-making, to reduce conflicts
between users and to increase compliance and local support.
This study determined factors that facilitated community and stakeholder
engagement in the creation of MPAs in Corvo Island, Azores. With a small population
of about 400, this small Portuguese island has been a “natural lab” for marine
conservation since the 1990s, including several state-driven tools, community-based
initiatives and scientific conservation projects. In-depth interviews carried out with
local stakeholders, government officers and scientists revealed that community
engagement in Corvo was facilitated by specific traits of the community itself such
as: (1) small population size, which allowed a direct contact approach using minimum
human and financial resources; (2) local attitudes and beliefs, such as high interest in
the island’s affairs and a strong connection to the surrounding natural environment;
and (3) community involvement in local decision-making, which is perceived to be a
legacy of Corvo’s historical needs of self-governance and self-sufficiency that result
from its extreme insularity. The continuous relationships between scientists and the
community throughout the many projects carried out in the Island is another factor
thought to have facilitated community engagement, as scientists are considered to
have influenced community’s perceptions of marine conservation. These relationships
were described as informal and going beyond the professional level, which facilitated
communication in informal settings and trust-building between participants.
Andrea De Bortoli Centro Interuniversitario Agorà Scienza, Alberto Chiari Centro
Interuniversitario Agorà Scienza, Gianni Latini Centro Interuniversitario Agorà Scienza
Science and technology have an important role in modern life. More and more often
people demand to be involved and not just informed about scientific topics and
the general consensus is that (young) researchers are the best carriers towards this
goal. For several years many European countries have been testing new deliberative
democracy instruments, especially through public debates. Active Science foresees
to apply the same methodology to project recipients and objectives.
Active Science is a project of public engagement in science by Agorà Scienza. The aim
is to increase the awareness of secondary school students on topical issues of science
and technology.
It is a master plan of deliberative democracy and scientific citizenship, which uses the
web as the main instrument to inform, diffuse and communicate.
The themes of each edition are collectively identified by a scientific committee. A
panel of experts is then set up for each topic; each expert can and will interact with
students, thus providing a direct link between education and research.
The method adopted by the project stimulates scientific inquiry together with
autonomous and critical thinking. In the first two editions Active Science involved
more than 2000 high school students. Its initial local-scale approach (three Italian
regions: Piemonte, Lombardia and Emilia Romagna) can be an important test towards
a National and possibly European scale approach.
Ildeu de Castro Moreira Institute of Physics - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro,
Katia Mansur Institute of Geosciences - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Fátima
Brito House of Science - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
The impact of the tropical nature, specially in Bahia and in Rio de Janeiro, was very
important for Darwin in his scientific trail on the origin of species. The impact of the
local biodiversity on his mind is clearly expressed in his notebooks and books. On the
other hand, in the voyage of the Beagle, he witnessed slavery and the slave trade first
hand in Brazil and the experience never left him. He was motivated by the great moral
cause of that time: opposition to slavery. His attitudes towards slavery and race were
possibily a significant factor influencing his scientific views. During the international
commemorations of the Darwin Year, we organized in Rio de Janeiro the expedition
“The Darwin Trails” – on Darwin’s footsteps in his trip to the north of the state of
Rio de Janeiro in 1832 – with the proposal of realizing an educational and science
popularization activity. The expedition had an intense participation of students,
teachers, schools, scientists and general people in 12 cities or small towns. In each one
we put commemorative plaques and had several activities: science fairs on evolution
and Darwin, theatre, music, exhibitions on local history, slavery, biodiversity etc. As
a result of this process, schools and local communities are promoting now an annual
Darwin Trails week. In this presentation we will describe the expedition and discuss
how this kind of activity, exploring the journey of a great naturalist, can be used today
for promoting science education and public communication of science.
Sophie Della Mussia Cirad Pôle de protection des plantes - 7 ch de l’IRAT 97410 ST
The web portal for Indian Ocean agriculture and biodiversity:
The islands of the Indian Ocean are home to a unique and remarkable biodiversity.
They have similar environmental conditions and are subject to common threats (e.g.
global changes). Conserving biodiversity is essential to agricultural production, which
is itself needed to feed people. Therefore agricultural production and conservation of
biodiversity must be balanced for the sustainable development of the region.
A web portal was conceived in order to promote this idea. The main targets are
producers, scientists, general public, press and decision-makers. The objectives are
to inform, to share documentation and knowledge, to offer training about the ways
of preserving biodiversity for a sustainable food production.
The Agriculture & Biodiversity Web Portal offers information on the strategies of Indian
Ocean Commission member states, regulations and ongoing activities & laboratory
research in the fields of agriculture and biodiversity. It offers tips for professionals
to improve their daily practices, and educational tools for teachers to educate their
Specialists can become contributor, post information on public forums on the website
* and have a private area for major agriculture and biodiversity projects.
The visitor can also get access to a specific tool to make contact: the Synaptic web
People working in the environment, biodiversity or agriculture can register directly
on this platform, which allows to find collaborators.
Jan Dook The University of Western Australia
Secondary school students who live in regional Western Australia are significantly
restricted in terms of their access to science-focused opportunities. The Travelling
Scientist Program was established in the SPICE program at The University of Western
Australia in 2009 to provide remote and regional secondary school students exposure
to inspiring young scientists who act as positive role models offering encouragement
to explore tertiary study in science and technology.
The actual Travelling Scientists are young doctoral candidates from a range of
scientific disciplines who are invited to participate in the program. Their very visual
presentation focuses on their personal journey in science and only briefly refers to
their actual research.
The Travelling Scientist visit allows secondary students to interact with young scientists
as real people working on real problems and issues. The program opens up study and
career options that the secondary students previously considered out of their reach.
Anecdotal feedback from participating schools has been very positive.
Teacher: The visits made to X by visiting scientists have been very popular and
particularly motivating for Year 8-10 students especially in encouraging girls to think
seriously about science based career futures. There is no other way for us to access
these exciting and positive role models thank you.
Female student: I haven’t thought about going to university and this has sort of
opened up my options. I learned that there are heaps of different topics to study in
science and I didn’t realise there were so many.
It is clear that there are considerable benefits to the schools and secondary students
however the impact on the doctoral students involved in the Travelling Scientists
program has not been considered. There are seemingly obvious benefits such as
being able to develop their personal presentation and public speaking skills however
it is likely that there are personal benefits that are not immediately apparent.
This presentation therefore focuses on the impact of participation in the Travelling
Scientist program on the travelling scientists themselves. What are they personally
gaining from participating in the program? The current travelling scientists (n=5) will
be asked to 1) complete a questionnaire and 2) participate in a focus group. Expected
outcomes include a greater understanding of the role that such an experience can
play in the development of career research scientists.
Rosa Doran, Nuclio/ Gttp
How to prepare teachers to be skilled science communicators? They are, in the
majority of cases, the first contact a student has with science. Preparing educators
for this big responsibility is a never ending mission. The Galileo Teacher Training
Programme (GTTP) via the Discover the Cosmos (an EC FP7 funded project) is aiming
to bring real research into classroom in several countries around Europe.
The consortium is promoting several training venues engaging educators in discussions
related to the introduction of modern science in their regular teaching, the challenges
they meet and helping design the road ahead. We are involving scientists, education
authorities and science communicators in all the venues in order to ensure the
maximum result from this initiative.
GTTP, as a living legacy of IYA2009, is helping build one of the largest teacher
training networks. Since its beginning in 2009 the programme has reached over
8000 educators worldwide. Our vision is to build a very strong and self-sustainable
collaboration between stakeholders of different areas. We are bringing together all
the needed expertise to make learning science an engaging and inspiring experience
for students around the globe.
Carlos Alberto dos Santos IMEA - UNILA, Carla Almeida Ciência Hoje On-line, Thaís
Fernandes Ciência Hoje On-line, Bernardo Esteves Revista Piauí
In this presentation, we will describe the collaborative work of a scientist and a
team of science journalists to communicate scientific concepts behind technological
innovations through a monthly science column – named “From the laboratory to the
factory” – in Ciência Hoje On-line, an electronic magazine published by the Brazilian
Association for the Advancement of Science. (available at The topics addressed are usually
selected from papers published by Nature, Science and other journals, with the texts
presenting new technological devices or discussing concepts likely to be used in
industrial applications.
We will mainly discuss its educational role and the potential of the column to anticipate
tendencies in the fields of physics and keep the readers updated with the most current
debates in the area. For example, in 2010, we discussed the applications of graphene
twice (in February and June) before the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for its discovery. The number of papers on this
subject grew almost geometrically from 2006 to 2009, a tendency which deserved our
attention before the Nobel Committee nomination. On March 27 2009, we published
the text “The long walk of the e-paper”, a subject that had not been mentioned by
Nature and Science for the previous four years. On April 1 2009, Nature published
“Technology: The textbook of the future”. Simply coincidence or feeling fit?
As for its educational potential, it is interesting to note that several texts of the column
discuss related issues, forming consistent conceptual maps. Teachers interested in
discussing magnetism with their students, for instance, will find stories about giant
magnetoelectric and magnetoresistance effects, magnetic nanoparticles for drug
delivery, MRAM memory, nanomedicine, nanopharmacology, spintronic devices
and spin valve. So, basic magnetic concepts are viewed in different scientific and
technological contexts.
Ankuran Dutta K K Handiqui State Open University, Guwahati, Assam, India, Anamika
Ray Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam, India
A section of scholar says that, all media, from a strict interpretation, can be argued
as being community media because it addresses a particular community at the
exclusion of another. But the nature of community media is believed, it is any form of
media that is created and controlled by a particular community, either a geographic
community or a community of identity or interest. The great contribution of these
media is exploring the comments of a local community on a local issue analysed with
their local sentiment. It is also considered that community media may be one of the
best ways for creating scientific awareness among the disadvantageous group of
people particularly in the developing countries like India. Here, we can take a small
example. The north eastern part of India, consisting of seven Indian states which
covers 7.7 percent of total Indian landmass. Only in this small region, 357 recognised
communities or social group live. The national or regional media may be accessible
for those groups. But only community media can reach them, influence them, and
help to participate.
If we consider the development activities in a developing country like India, health
awareness, especially in the grass roots level is one of the neglected areas. Health
awareness is still a difficult task in the developing countries, though governments
allot a huge budget. Tuberculosis is now totally curable disease, but still in India 2
persons every 3 minutes, 1000 people per day die from TB. And every year 1.8 million
of people are affected with TB. The Govt. of India is providing totally free of cost
treatment to all the TB patients through the RNTCP. It cannot be overlooked that lack
of proper awareness among the common people is the key reason for the poor health
status in the country, especially in the case of tuberculosis.
This research paper deals with community radio and its impact on making the common
masses aware of tuberculosis with a hands-on experience. To access the effectiveness
of community media, 16 radio features on TB have been produced and broadcast
through a community radio. A questionnaire has been distributed to a sample of
regular listeners of the community radio before broadcasting the programmes on the
basic knowledge on TB and analysed. After completion of the broadcasting of the radio
feature, the same questionnaire will be distributed to the same sample and it will be
analysed to know the effectiveness of community media in health communication.
Carmen Enrique Profesora universitaria (Universidad de Granada), Jose Manuel
Cabo Profesor universitario (Universidad de Granada), Moussa Bumedian Estudiante
Universidad de Granada
This work is focused on the news collected from the Spanish national mass media. We
attempt to know the information we receive from the mass media, as a source of the
social perception towards the topics linked or related to the natural environment, in
particular, about nuclear power.
Nuclear power is showed as a matter related to the risk perception and its probabilistic
assessment, which is the reason why the social perception is highly sensitive towards
the news about nuclear accidents.
The general purpose of this communication is to analyse the information related
to the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan on March, 11th 2011 and its
consequent nuclear disaster in the Spanish press. This general aim states explicitly in
the following specific aims:
To carry out a quantitative exploration in order to check the information
appeared in the national press and make a temporary analysis that allows us to know
the evolution in the number of news published during the above mentioned period.
To verify the analysis of written press with reports of specialized magazines
identifying the areas of knowledge or dimensions that are debated and identify its
effect in the social perception about the nuclear power.
For the methodology used in the analysis (Díaz, Plaza and Saints, 2002), we have
designed a documentary database in which every register represents a journalistic
text that is considered to be the unit of analysis. The newspapers we have used are:
El País, El Mundo, La Vanguardia and ABC.
Two specialized magazines have been analysed too: the monographic number
of “Ecologista” (n° 69, summer 2011), of the Spanish organization “Ecologistas en
Acción” and “Investigación y Ciencia” (n° 419, August 2011) in relation to the popular
scientific magazines.
The results obtained from the press will be described emphasizing, as variables of
analysis, the quantitative evolution of these articles during a two-month period, the
sources of information and the implied social agents as well as the treated contents.
Likewise, the contents of the articles from the specialized magazines will be described
and will be verified with the press, reflecting on the methodologies used in the
analysis of press.
The results will be debated with the information about social perception concerning
the nuclear power consulted before and after the accident in Fukushima, and in
previous cases.
Carmen Enrique Profesora titular Universidad de Granada, Jose Manuel Cabo
Profesor titular Universidad de Granada, Almudena Marquez Estudiante Universidad
de Granada
In today’s society, scientific and technical knowledge is present in most of the acts and
activities of everyday life. However, the diffusion and the overall level of knowledge
run at a slower rate than production. Science and technology are integral elements of
the culture of individuals and societies and as such his attention.
The studies and surveys on Social Perception of Science and Technology show that the
degree of public interest in this kind of issues is high but not the degree of information
received signal. Scientific and technical issues, their consequences, risks and benefits
are issues on which society wants to be better informed in order to participate.
Science and technology must become more familiar to the public. It is therefore
necessary to strengthen its presence not only in formal but also informal spheres.
This is the reason why the research group on the dissemination of knowledge
established in the Faculty of Education and Humanities of Melilla (Universidad de
Granada) under the research project “Towards a Knowledge Society and Information.
Public Dissemination of Knowledge in the Autonomous City of Melilla” funded by
the Research has been conducted since 2004, not only in favor of the disclosure of
science and technology, but also of knowledge in general, a series of activities under
the title “Dissemination of Knowledge Week”.
This activity, carried out regularly to coincide with the celebration of the European
Week of Science and Technology during the month of November, is intended as a
communication channel between knowledge and society, in particular among
university as a core source of knowledge and the society in which the center is built,
trying to sensitize the population on those aspects of knowledge and in particular
of Science and Technology, which affect their daily lives and increase the scientific
culture of citizens.
In this paper we present this initiative, science and citizenship. Show activities in
each of the Knowledge Dissemination Weeks have been made since 2004, activities
(workshops, exhibitions, conferences, roundtables, radio and television talk shows,
etc.) aimed at all audiences, from schoolchildren in their first stages of education to
adults and the general public, as well as the means to develop them. Their highlight is
on the close collaboration between universities and the media with the understanding
that both should work hand in hand in order to provide the public with reliable and
relevant information.
Diana Escobar Responsible of Science Dissemination Program, Institute for Culture of
Barcelona, Patricia Castellanos Universitat Oberta de Catalunya , M. Jesús del Valle
Science Dissemination Program, Institute for Culture of Barcelona
For five editions, Barcelona has filled with workshops and demonstrations, shows,
itineraries, artistic installations, shows and talks of specialists one of the more
emblematic public spaces in the city. The weekend dedicated to science and
technology constitutes an annual appointment visited by 12.000 persons and an ideal
interface for the contact of citizens with current science.
The Festa, organized by the Institute for Culture of Barcelona, was originated in
2007, when Barcelona celebrated a year devoted to science. On the occasion of that
commemoration, the organization considered to organize a public festival following
a model never made until then in the city and to locate it in one of the more visited
parks. The result is more than 12 hours of free activities which combine experimental
demonstrations with theater shows as well as art and science installations.
This paper presents the keys that characterize a model to bring over current science
to the general public, a proposal that has been consolidated like an initiative different
from other activities of science dissemination organized in Barcelona. With the aim of
going away from a ‘fair model’, the program focuses on activities which use languages
and formats that concede a protagonist roll to scientific knowledge and that takes in
toaccount parameters which are more usual in programming artistic festivals.
The good disposition of researchers and institutions to participate in the festival is
an indicator of the potential of this type of event. For the last edition one counted
with the collaboration of about fifty institutions, research centers and entities which
contributed to offer more than 79 activities and 18 micro-talks.
The central goal of the program is to present science and technology rigorously
without discarding the use of artistic disciplines. The good acceptance of the public is
reflected in the evaluation carried out along the weekend: more than 67% of people
asked appraises very positively that the festival is devoted to science and more than
95% express a good and very good global appraisal of the activities.
Nemesio Espinoza, Doctor in Management. Main
professor in the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima-Peru)
Peru is an underdeveloped country. It has 30 million inhabitants and the quality of
life for most of the Peruvian population is incompatible with the human conditions
which are characteristic of the XXI Century and the Third Millennium. According to
the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), Peru’s highest illiteracy rate is
45.2, it has a household income per capita ranging from U.S. $ 22 per year and life
expectancy is 78.
Peru, however, is a country of great advantages expressed in their natural wealth
and biodiversity. There are still poverty and extreme poverty due to the fact that
Science and Technology are not part of national culture and, consequently, Peru lacks
competitive advantages.
In this context, Public Communication of Science in Peru becomes importantly
strategic, then it is an imperative need for the general population not to remain
oblivious to the great achievements of world science and technology, but on the
contrary, to become a society that produces, interprets and admires them.
Public Communication of Science has acquired great importance in the world. It
is known as Popular Science, Popularization of Science, Scientific Literacy, Science
Journalism, Popular Science, Public Communication of Science and so on. His doctrine
has been developed, among others, by Alcibar, Good, Pinheiro, Calvo, Bastidas,
Reis and Gonçalves, Fayard, etc.; and means, such as science education, scientific
publications, museums, science fairs, conferences, observatories, gardens, science
cafés, cinema, TV, theater, journalism, etc., form a national system.
However, in the case of Peru, the Public Communication of Science is just beginning.
It is true that there are already major initiatives. There is the program for the
Popularization of Science CONCYTEC School Science Fair, the Network of Journalists
and science writers and museums, but it has not established as a national system
yet. Until the Peruvian university, which should be its main driving force, is being
employed. Urgent, therefore, in Peru, is the gradual construction of scientific culture.
Karin Garber Vienna Open Lab, Carmen Wageneder-Schmid dialog-gentechnik
Children are born with an elemental curiosity and an eager to explore the world
around them through inquiry. Infants gather information by questioning, trial and
error, and thus they unknowingly apply some important methods of the scientific
inquiry process quite naturally. Unfortunately, the exploratory mind is declining
during adolescence and on the way to adulthood. In order to keep the natural inquiry
process alive measures are to be implemented at an early age.
To engage infants in the investigative nature of science we have successfully
developed an inquiry-based science curriculum for kindergarten, providing a way to
learn science concepts and to acquire problem solving skills. In collaboration with
scientists and educators ten units, comprising different biological phenomena, have
been designed. Our presentation will give an overview of the curriculum content, the
implementation process, and the results of the concurrent evaluation.
The presented work is part of the project “Wer forscht mit”, supported by Generation
Innovation and the Austrian federal ministries bmvit, bm:wf and bm:wfj.
Antonieta Garcia Gemini Observatory
Picture this: The local army headquarters offers their facility for one hundred children
to launch their recently built rockets. Or this: your science staff travelling into remote
fisher towns to talk to families and teach them about the effect of the moon over
the tides, or going into the country side and replying to people’s questions about the
2012 myths. Well, this is what Viaje al Universo is all about.
Gemini Observatory in Chile has merged their astronomers and science staff along
with the community and has tied efforts with the local municipality, universities
and the board of tourism in order to impact on families by bringing information
that is scientific, updated and fun. All of these elements are combined to create an
educationally focused, event/fun-filled week during the annual Viaje al Universo
which is an adaptation from the Journey Through the Universe program that has been
successfully done in Hilo, Hawaii Gemini North’s outreach office for the last 5 years.
Viaje al Universo program is a flagship of the Gemini South public education/outreach
initiative involving a broad cross-section of the local Chilean astronomical community,
the public, the educators, businesses, local government officials and thousands of
local students.
The program includes science staff talks, portable planetarium shows, rocket launching
workshops, story telling in the local libraries, and Stargazing parties, all activities free
of charge.
Due to the successful history of Viaje del Universo, the program is expected to
continue and grow in new and innovative directions that will keep the program fresh
and relevant to the future.
Alexander Gerber innocomm Research Centre, Berlin / Germany
A comprehensive survey on science communication in German-speaking countries
(see was conducted between the Sept. 2009 and Oct. 2011
among 300 science journalists and PR managers, scientists and communication
researchers, leading into an adjacent two-stage Delphi study with 30 renowned
experts, researchers and practitioners who were find answers to the challenges
expressed by the community. The findings which were been published as a book
a few days ago show trends in decreasing salaries, revenues and media coverage
on the one hand, and increasing PR resources and direct online communication by
scientists on the other. The main trends (which mostly address the issues of “quality”
and “evaluation” in the PCST call for proposals) identified and investigated within the
study are:
(a) the influences of social media on science PR, science journalism and scientific
(b) promising ways towards a “scientific citizenship” through a transparent open and
citizen science with the opportunity for new “cultures of communication”,
(c) the fundamental changes both in self-perception as well as qualification
requirements of science communicators in their new roles as “mediators”, and
(d) the obstacles of a change-resistant scientific system which hardly incentivises “real”
outreach at all, leading to challenges such as measuring or norming communication
By investigating these trends the study could answer several of the challenges which
were beforehand expressed by the community and analysed empirically, e.g.:
Without a single exception every German popular science publication has lost
between 20 and 40 per cent in sold circulation for the last 10 years.
80 per cent of the respondents saw a major deficit in science and innovation
being reduced to research results, technologies and product features, whereas the
process and mechanisms of innovation and scientific achievement remained unclear.
This “science in the making” seems to be the hardest to be conveyed by the media,
even though scientists and science PR experts regard this aspect as the most important
in inspiring young people to go for a career path in research and development.
I would be honoured to have the opportunity to present the final results of our Trend
Study in Florence.
NB: One of our researchers, Dino Trescher, gave a short first mid-term introduction to
the study at 2010 PCST conference in Delhi which apparently was quite well received.
Tessa Gjødesen Ph.D. and unit leader at the communication centre Link.SDU, for
more details
Science Communication in Denmark
Since 2003 Denmark has had science communication written into university
legislation, whereby universities must: “... exchange knowledge and skills with the
society that surrounds them and encourage employees to take part in public debate”.
Furthermore, one of the purposes of the legislation is that, “Results of university
research and degree courses should contribute to promoting future growth, welfare
and development in society”. Now that the science communication has been
formalised and carries the same weight as research and teaching, Danish universities
are in the process of professionalising science communication.
Centre Link.SDU
In 2007 the centre Link.SDU was established at the Department of Marketing &
Management at the University of Southern Denmark. The aim was not just to
give the man on the street a better understanding of research results, but also to
increase awareness among businesses so that in the longer term they might enter
into partnerships with resources of time or money. In January 2011 the centre was
transferred to the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, where it is responsible for
science communication for 235 researchers spread across five campuses in Denmark.
Link.SDU is a unique centre, which both develops new methods for science
communication and creates distribution strategies in order to reach its target
group. There is considerable focus on branding strategies, consumer behaviours and
unfettered creativity to create new initiatives for science communication.
In 2009 the centre was given funding by the Ministry of Science and the University of
Southern Denmark to develop an understanding of international universities in USA,
England, Germany and France. The results of this project can be seen here:
Contribution to the conference
Link.SDU would like to contribute by presenting the most significant results of
the project and by sharing its knowledge of methods and strategies for science
communication. The centre is particularly interested in the re-cycling of research
results in a variety of contexts.
Ana Maria Santos Gouw University of São Paulo, Helenadja Pereira University of São
Paulo, Maria Prado University of São Paulo, Nelio Bizzo University of São Paulo
This paper presents preliminary results of the implementation of the international
project “The Relevance of Science Education” (ROSE) on a nation-wide scale in
Brazil. The project seeks to know the youngsters’ interest in science, technology
and biological evolution. The work, funded by the Brazilian Federal Research
Council (CNPq), seeks to deepen and consolidate the implementation held in
2007 in the form of a pre-test to 600 Brazilian students. The national application
involved around 100 schools all over Brazil, and the survey was designed with
statistical sampling following PISA-OECD database, amounting to a total of around
3,000 questionnaires fulfilled. All sections of the international questionnaire
were applied and, in addition, we asked for students’ opinions about biological
evolution. In this paper we discuss three main focuses, showing how Brazilian
students perceive science & technology, environmental issues and evolution.
Valentina Grasso CNR Ibimet - Consorzio LaMMA, Federica Zabini CNR Ibimet Consorzio LaMMA, Alfonso Crisci CNR Ibimet, Valerio Capecchi CNR Ibimet - Consorzio
LaMMA, Claudio Tei CNR Ibimet - Consorzio LaMMA
Weather conditions are an important factor that influences everyday life and
decision making in specialized fields like agriculture, industry, transportation, water
management etc. Often decisions are taken under uncertain information due to the
probabilistic nature of weather forecasting which is inherently uncertain. This makes
the communication task very challenging for forecasters attempting to communicate
the uncertainties surrounding the predicted event. This is particularly true for
precipitation forecasts, since precipitation is perceived by general public as the most
important weather component influencing decisions. In many countries precipitation
forecasts are conveyed through probabilistic information while in others, like Italy,
through linguistic expressions. In both cases lay people should interpret uncertainty
to make decisions.
This work examine two years of current day weather bulletins for Tuscany Region
(n: 772 issues, from July 2009 to August 2011), provided by the forecasters of the
official meteorological agency (LaMMA), in order to identify the textual and visual
elements expressing uncertainty within the bulletin. The analysis is focused on the
specific subset (n: 484) of forecast of precipitation events. To quantify uncertainty
two ranking score indexes were proposed for the visual and textual component
respectively. The visual uncertainty was measured by evaluating only the icons
pertaining precipitation events and assigning to each one a definite descending
score, starting from the more complex and ambiguous. Likewise, textual uncertainty
was calculated by assigning a ranking score to terms (using a selected Italian subset
of words) expressing probability (like “probable” or “possible”) and ambiguous
terms referred to type, amount, time and spatial prediction of precipitation events.
Preliminary results show that it is suitable to build a statistically consistent framework
to evaluate uncertainty in weather bulletins. Indeed textual uncertainty have shown
association with variables as: the season, less uncertainty in winter and higher in
spring; the forecaster’s experience, less experienced expressing more uncertainty;
the visual complexity and icons heterogeneity of the weather map; the visual icons
score, high occurrence of composite icons calling for more uncertain terms. Finally a
strong connection emerges between textual metrics parameters of bulletin statement
and the value of textual uncertainty measured by the defined indexes.
Veronica Guerrero-Mothelet Free-lance Science Writer. Staff writer for the General
Direction of Science Popularization, Universidad Autonoma de la Ciudad de Mexico.
Consultant and Writer of Scientific Content for TV Channel Once, Instituto Politecnico
When knowledge, arisen from science, is marketed like a product through mass
media (such as newspapers, non specialized / variety magazines, radio and TV news),
the emphasis is often put on the promotion of its practical usefulness. While this may
be the case in many instances, I believe it is a mistake to show the scientific process,
and its outcomes, just (or mainly) from this pragmatic point of view, emerged from
the assumption that only in this way the public will be interested in that information.
Such approach undermines, in the first place, the relevance of basic research, whose
usefulness cannot be always directly appreciated.
Based on the idea that the purpose of science popularization, more than loading
peoples heads with a bunch of data, is to open an opportunity window for their
curiosity and their wish for more learning, I will contend that a greater attention
should be paid to the aesthetics of science communication; that there should be a
higher effort to bring attractiveness on it, highlighting at the same time the intrinsic
beauty of the subjects and contents of science itself (and even those of technology).
Accordingly, and with arguments and third-party evidences taken from a new branch of
neurosciences (i.e., Neuroaesthetics), I will introduce the hypothesis that, in so doing,
the message could be got in a more natural and immediate fashion, with the direct
effect of better capturing the people interest. Likewise, another consequence could
be that, for the aforesaid reason, a broader use of aesthetics in the popularization
of science – appealing to beauty, but also to humor or to some kind of wonderment
– could become a bridging language to overcome some divergences or disparities in
the understanding of science among different groups of society.
Therefore, without a detraction from the guidelines that should govern science
communication – adherence to facts, confirmation of the legitimacy and credibility of
sources, presentation of the skeptical claims, questionings or objections from other
members of the scientific community – and with the aim to emphasize science as a
process, it is also advisable to take care of the shape, stressing the value of science
also through the intrinsic beauty of its events, phenomena and process. In a word, I
would like to establish that besides the importance of communicating that science is
useful, it is also pivotal to show (and even make feel) that it is plenty of beauty.
Li He China research institute for science popularization, Beijing
In order to understand the situation of science communication and popularization
within the enterprises, in May 2010, we launched an investigative survey conducted
in Sichuan, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Suzhou, and all types of 507 enterprises
concerning scientific communication and popularization. The aspects of the
enterprises investigated included business people, finance, equipment, facilities and
activities along with other aspects of the survey that were carried out. In the face of
a changing social and economic environment that the enterprises have to deal with,
along with product upgrading, there is the need to change the business model of
science communication and popularization within the enterprise and work with the
commitment to improve and strengthen the enterprise.
This paper analyzed the data obtained from the questionnaire and evaluated the
relevant information and conclusions reached and put forth the proposal as to how
to improve science communication and popularization in the enterprises.
Chao-Ping Hong Dublin City University, David Langley TNO: Nederlandse Organisatie
voor toegepast-natuurwetenschappelijk onderzoek, Caroline Wehrmann
Delft University of Technology, Dept. of Applied Sciences, Science Education &
The emerging media- social media- creates new ways of communication. One of the
examples is the rise of online social movements and campaigns regarding energy
issues, which attract lots of attention and online participation. This results in a new
phenomenon called “online slacktivism”, which refers to the phenomenon where a
large population participates via the internet.
However, it is not clear which factors in social media communication strategies
contribute to “online slacktivism” yet. To understand how social media communication
factors contribute to the participation of “online slacktivists” in energy campaigns,
this research is carried out with a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative
methodologies to investigate and analyze the relationships between social media
communication factors and the participation of “online slacktivist” in energy
Giulia Iafrate INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, Massimo Ramella INAF Astronomical Observatory of Trieste
We present the joining of two projects (Stars go to school - SVAS and Esploracosmo
- EC) of INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste in a modern tool for education
and outreach. Both projects aim to improve teaching of astronomy in schools, thanks
to astronomical observations combined with the explanation of the fundamental
physical laws of the Universe.
SVAS allows students and teachers to perform real time observations from school,
managing our remote robotic telescopes under the supervision of an astronomer
in video call from the dome. Students can perform a real observation session and,
thanks to the possibility to interact in real time, they become the protagonists of all
the steps of the observations.
Esploracosmo is the interactive didactic laboratory set up in our institute, it can host 25
students and is equipped with PCs connected to a specific network that allows many
applications. Esploracosmo is tightly connected with the outreach and educational
section of the European Virtual Observatory - VO, giving access to the archives of the
major telescopes in the world. In Esploracosmo we combine real (remote) and virtual
observing, work with images from SVAS telescopes, tools and data from the VO and
images from our local archives. Students can not only take images by themselves but,
most importantly, they can analyze data by using VO tools.
The main targets of SVAS and Esploracosmo are middle and high school students
up to University. Our projects aim to diffuse astrophysicist’s knowledge to students,
through activities as similar as possible to the real scientific research, with the
corollary of “pleasure of discovery”. Working with SVAS and Esploracosmo students
can acquire raw data by familiarizing with astronomical instruments, process the
data learning data reduction techniques and then analyze them by using VO tools.
Moreover, making use of dedicated software, the observations are combined with
the explanation of the fundamental physical laws of the Universe (e.g. gravitation).
During the past school year more than 600 students (ages 13-18), in addition to the
students of the master degree in astrophysics and some amateurs astronomers,
participated in our activities.
Many remote educational telescopes are now available around the world, we think
remote observing and VO is the winning combination for astronomy education.
Teacher and student feedbacks confirm our idea.
Gensei Ishimura CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, Yukari Furuta CoSTEP, Hokkaido
University, Eisuke Hayaoka CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, Yumi Nagahama CoSTEP,
Hokkaido University, Schuko Ohtsu CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, Ken Saito CoSTEP,
Hokkaido University, Shigeo Sugiyama CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, Hiroaki Takemoto
CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, Mari Takizawa CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, Yasushi
Watanabe Hokkaido University
The authors work at CoSTEP, Hokkaido University, which is the educational organization
to nurture science communicators.
CoSTEP provides 3 different yearly learning courses, which are “Comprehensive”,
“Selective A”, and “Selective B”. “Selective courses” are composed of 27 e-learning
lectures and an intensive workshop. “Selective Course A” weighs on designing faceto-face communication experience. “Selective Course B” weighs on scientific writing.
In this paper, we focus on the workshop of the “Course A”, which was a 3-day intensive
one where participants made short-time science show programs, held from 8th to
10th of August, 2011. This year, there were 20 participants, which were divided into
4 groups. There were 4 science show programs in 20 minutes for each.
The authors designed the workshop based on the concept of the “Cycle among
Expression, Sharing, and Reflection”.
Lectures about general guidance, planning, program designing, writing press release,
designing flyer, making manual, and facilitation were given. Besides, we made
participants do mutual interviews to train facilitation skill and to promote interaction
among them. The rest of the time was used to discuss the planning of the program,
preparation, and rehearsal for each group.
We introduced several tools to realize the “Cycle among Expression, Sharing, and
1) Each participant was made decide his/her own learning goal at the beginning.
2) Exhibit all intermediate outputs (for example, learning goal worksheets or notes of
mutual interviews)
3) Participants reflected their own activities at the end of each day and wrote down
their findings and shared with each other.
4) Real time documentation: Our staff took photos of participant’s various activities
during the workshop and put it on the wall along “timeline” with short comments.
5) They evaluated their achievement by themselves at the end of the workshop.
We used some online tool for participants to share their learning goals and presentation
files for their self introduction, let them put comments on others’ presentation, and
let them share various outcomes of the workshop.
After the workshop finished, participants answered the questionnaire to evaluate the
whole workshop, the necessity and satisfaction level of each learning elements. The
results were good in general. However the program seemed to have been slightly
“too much intensive” to entirely experience the “Cycle”.
Jin-A Jeong Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), Gey-Hwi Lee Korea Institute of
Nuclear Safety (KINS)
Around 14:46 on March 11 (Friday) of the year 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake
struck off the northeastern coast of the Tohoku District of Japan. As a result, the
following 11 out of 14 nuclear power plant units located near the epicenter
automatically tripped.
The people and mass media of Korea, the closest country to Japan, showed a great
interest in the accident of the Japanese nuclear power plants. In order to respond to
the explosive interest of the public and mass media, KINS (Korea Institute of Nuclear
Safety) opened a special webpage dedicated to the Japanese nuclear accident within
the KINS homepage on March 12. Through this webpage, reliable information about
the evolving events was promptly presented as accurately as possible. Situation
telephones to respond to inquiries of the public were also set up with 5 KINS staffers
to respond to the questions from the public. KINS are also trying to actively provide
information by establishing a team to respond to the press, distributing the press
release, holding press conferences, giving interviews, helping to resolve inquiries and
collect news, etc.
The people showed the greatest interest in domestic environmental dose rates in
connection with the Japan’s nuclear accident. In view of such high interest, KINS
exerted the utmost efforts to ease the public and keep them from panicking by posting
the results of real-time environmental radiation measurement results in the main
domestic portal sites (i.e., Naver, Daum, and Nate) that the people most frequently
Spokespersons and experts of the Government, KINS and other relevant organizations
endeavored to present correct information to the public through press interviews, a
contribution of a number of articles to newspapers, and so on.
As the events at the Japanese nuclear power plant unfolded, the situation team
responded to interview requests, inquiries, requests to cover news from television
news broadcasts, newspapers, news magazines, local media, and so on. The interest
of the press and public regarding the Japanese nuclear accident changed over time,
and therefore, a timely press response was necessary in view of the evolving interest.
A great deal of experience and lessons were obtained in connection with the Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear accident, especially from a perspective of public communication.
Hepeng Jia China Science Media Centre, Beijing, China, Jun Yan Journalism and
Information Communication School, Huazhong University of Science and Technology,
Wuhan, China, Yang Mo Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
Beijing, China
On 23 July, two high-speed trains crashed in suburban Wenzhou, causing 40
deaths and igniting nationwide criticism on the Great Leap Forward of the Chinese
Ministry of Rail (MOR) on high-speed trains (HGT). Is this accident eroding Chinese
people’s confidence in the adoption of high technologies? How does the flooding
of information in Weibo (Chinese version of Twitter) change people’s conception of
high-tech utilities widely applied in life?
So far there have been few studies analysing science communication processes in social
media like twitters both in China and in international community. Although there are
surveys testing people’s attitude on high-tech, these surveys are not linked to some
highly-impacting events like the HGT crash. The situation cannot meet demands from
the rapid development of social media – China’s Weibo users alone have surpassed
200 million – as well as the fact that social media, particularly twitter, tend to be a
perfect database for learning about people’s real sentiments because tweets are very
short – a maximum of 140 characters – so users have to express their opinions and
beliefs about a particular subject very concisely and often spontaneously.
Based on this situation, we design a novel research method to investigate people’s
attitude on high-tech in the Weibo world when HGT accident forms a strong impact.
In this study, we will select all tweets under themes related to the HGT accident and
analyse the contents of tweets among them which are retweeted for more than 20
times – retweeting more than this number will be considered as popular tweets. Then
we will identify whether these popular tweets show positive, negative, or irrelevant
attitudes on both HGT and high-tech.
We will record the percentage of each attitude towards high-tech and compare
this with the previous national surveys based on random questionnaires to show
whether the HGT accident has an impact on people’s attitude on high technologies.
Although the comparison takes place between different groups of people, we deem
it legitimate because both the previous surveys and the analysed popular tweets
represent general public sentiments about high-tech.
Then, we will make content analysis to show the factors causing people’s attitude
towards high technologies in this contexts, and demonstrate whether the anti-HGT
attitude is linked to the inclination to question high technologies in general.
Ikuko Kase Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Nozomi
Mizushima Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Osamu
Sakura Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo
After the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant, government agencies
and academic institutions in Japan provided much scientific information
Seven months have passed since the incident, and large parts of the scientific
community believe that they have failed to communicate with society. For example,
White Paper on Science and Technology (MEXT, July 21 2011 in Japanese) states that
scientists failed to deliver information and lost the public’s trust.
Under these circumstances, the scientific community currently tends to consider
that they should develop “Coherent View” among scientists in emergency situations
(Science Council of Japan, October 5 2011). This trend has been observed since the
incident. In the Faculty of engineering, University of Tokyo, which plays a central role
in nuclear engineering in Japan, scientists are forbidden to announce their individual
views to the public; and Meteorological Society of Japan asked members to refrain
from releasing their own estimations of the impact of radioactive materials diffusing
into the atmosphere (both in March 2011).
On the other hand, voluntary science communication by individual scientists has
become much more common after the incident. Since some of these activities have
a great effect on the public in decision-making, scientists have gained a great deal of
In this research, we show that individual scientists have played a major role in
science communication to the public in Japan after the Fukushima Nuclear Incident.
Through examples, we examine differences between academic institutional activities
and individual activities by scientists in communicating information about food and
drinking water contaminated with radioactive iodine and cesium, the location of hot
spots (locally contaminated areas) and decision whether residents in Tokyo (more
than 200 km far from Fukushima) should evacuate or not.
Voluntary science communication by individual scientists is faster and more concrete
than the institutional science communication. Many scientists are so interactive that
the public can find any answers that meet their diverse needs. Although some answers
are scientifically incorrect, scientists who succeeded in communication gained great
strength. This is what academic institutions haven’t been able to achieve since the
We discuss the potential of voluntary science communication which individual
scientists can do especially in such an emergency as this.
Eric Kennedy Candidate for Bachelor of Knowledge Integration, Centre for Knowledge
Integration, University of Waterloo
Historically, interactions between scientists and aboriginal groups in Canada have
been marked by varying degrees of success when attempting to develop both
relationships and shared knowledge. Establishing and maintaining these strong
partnerships, however, is essential in meeting the challenges posed by long-term,
complex problems facing Canadian (and global) communities. This paper considers
several contemporary case studies in which outside scientists have endeavoured to
work with indigenous populations on research and adaptation projects. By applying
concepts from the field of social epistemology, including research on trust, expertise,
and informal collaboration, the varied levels of success experienced during these
partnerships can be investigated. I argue that such an epistemological analysis can
help in developing practical ways to both improve the communication essential to
the success of similar scientific endeavours and ensure ethically responsible research
partnerships. Not only can considering these epistemological perspectives increase
the quality of the scientific practice and product, but this applied investigation can
also offer valuable critiques of the methods and assumptions present in traditional
epistemological analyses.
Grace Kimble Institute of Education, London
This poster presents PhD research aiming to assess the impact on primary pupils
of 3 different methods of learning about the science of the natural world; habitat
exploration, natural history collection handling and live animal experiences.
It draws on the fields of research in science communication and education in
museums, zoos, aquaria and natural environment sites.
The question arose after collecting data from 40 organisations who offered
education events to support the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010. Educators
recommended greater access to real experiences for pupils, citing specimens,
outdoor exploration, and living things as authentic, memorable and exciting learning
Historically, natural history collection handling was combined with habitat exploration
to develop meaningful understanding in a local context. Currently, there are examples
where live animal shows are used to enhance natural history collection and natural
environment visits.
This research aims to compare the impact on learners of these three ways of learning
about the natural world, and to make informed recommendations about whether
there is a benefit to combining methods of learning about natural history.
This research will have implications for partnership between organisations involved
in natural science communication.
Andrea Kiraly Eötvös University, Budapest
In 2011 on the twelfth of September a minor industrial accident happened in a French
nuclear waste disposal facility. Barely half a year after the tragedy in Fukushima, the
event understandably evoked a considerable attention. The first message was only
a few sentences long, it announced the accident, but did not reveal any details on
the circumstances, nevertheless it drew attention to the possible dangers. This short
announcement was adopted from the French media by the press worldwide including
the Hungarian news portals. However, while on the French web (and following it, all
over the world) a more detailed announcement was made soon after, along with the
authorities’ reassuring announcement on the lack of radiation danger and radioactive
leak, the Hungarian news portals still presented only the first, disconcerting news
for hours. When more detailed information became available, it was far from
satisfactory. The articles that appeared on the various news portals were teeming
with elementary translation faults, misuses of technical terms like mixing up the
concepts of “nuclear reactor”, “nuclear power plant”, “nuclear facility”, the merging
of chemical and nuclear explosions, uncalled-for provocations of the public opinion
and shady political indications. The next day the news were updated, augmented
with the more or less accurate translations of publications from the press worldwide,
but the earlier, mistranslated, poorly worded or otherwise misguiding parts remained
in the texts. After the further update on the contents of the portals, the entire
communicational fiasco could be reconstructed with a bit of “archaeological” work,
the analysis of previous news versions, titles and links. Since Hungary is in the path of
the winds coming from the direction of France, a serious panic could have followed
the fake news about the released radioactive cloud. This case keenly highlights the
questions regarding the professional skills and responsibility of those working in the
field of public information.
Alexandra Klimek NTNU, Department of interdisciplinary studies of culture/ CenSES
Who is communicating carbon capture, transport and storage (CCS) in Norway? This
article is an analysis of the Norwegian newspaper landscape regarding the medialization
of carbon capture, transport and storage. Mass communication is essential to achieve
broad publicity and familiarity, but is CCS fairly communicated? I try to examine how
visible the general public is in the debate surrounding CCS and what impression the
general public gets by reading articles about the technology. Is the newspaper debate
only a political debate about candidates of opposing parties or high cost implications?
Is it just a technical debate about feasibility and experimental plants? Or does the
debate maybe also initiate a public dialogue on CCS technologies in order to engage
the public and key stakeholders? Is public engagement acknowledged as a requisite
for gaining public acceptance and promoting the successful development of the
technology? Is there a need for socializing science or scientising society?
The results shall help to improve the effectiveness of policy measures as well as
the choice of targets for policy initiatives. Ironically, the historical absence of fossilbased power in Norway makes CCS look in some ways misplaced. Nevertheless
CCS has a unique role in Norway and was right from the beginning a policy tool.
The Norwegian government, with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the front line,
promotes carbon capture as a highly promising option for CO2 emission reduction.
Demonstration plants are one important step in this development, like Mongstad.
But Mongstad, as a symbol for CO2 free power plant is affected by postponement and
is being a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money. There is a significant gap between CCS
policies, CCS feasibility and CCS in its meaning for the general public. To bridge the
gap between all participants I will introduce the concept of “socialization of scientific
and technological research”.
Kazuki Koketsu Earthquake Research Institute, the University of Tokyo, Satoko Oki
Earthquake Research Institute, the University of Tokyo, Hiroo Kanamori Seismological
Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
The Tohoku earthquake of 11 March 2011 (UTC) devastated huge regions, causing the
Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster (Cabinet of Japan, 2011) together with large
aftershocks and triggered earthquakes. This disaster resulted in 16,019 fatalities,
3,805 missing, 6,121 injured, and 118,621 house collapses as of 11 October 2011
(Fire and Disaster Management Agency of Japan, 2011). Since more than 90% of the
fatalities were from drowning (Kyodo News, 2011), and the number of injured people
was relatively small, the disaster is featured by severe tsunami damage rather than
moderate ground motion damage.
The national seismic hazard assessment program, initiated by the Japanese
government after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, was unable to foresee this earthquake.
Geller (2011) indicated that since 1979, earthquakes that caused 10 or more fatalities
in Japan, including the Tohoku earthquake, have actually occurred in places assigned
a relatively low probability by the national seismic hazard assessment. He also
declared “this discrepancy strongly suggests that the hazard map and the methods
used to produce it are flawed”. However, we think the discrepancy does not imply a
flaw of the method or seismology that the method is based on, but a limitation of
“Earthquake” is a complex system, and it is impossible to perform a real-scale
experiment for this phenomenon. The frequency of its occurrence is extremely low, so
that data for this phenomenon are very limited. Therefore, future earthquakes, which
were foreseen for the hazard assessment by using the limited data and a probabilistic
method, include great ambiguity. It is not surprising that damaging earthquakes in the
last thirty years occurred in low probability regions. In other words, the method and
seismology are not flawed but the results include large limitations. A real problem is
that the Japanese government has not clearly stated these limitations of the seismic
hazard assessment to the public. Such risk of communication is a kind of negative
campaign on the usefulness of hazard assessment, but we think it is indispensable for
science communication related to be to natural disaster.
Yuh-Yuh Li National Sun Yat-Sen University, Tai-chu Huang National Sun Yat-sen
University, Paichi Pat Shein National Sun Yat-sen University
Public interest in the issues of science and technology (S&T) reveal public identity of
S&T in Taiwan. The study of public interest in S&T is important because it is the source
of the public engaged in learning S&T. The purpose of this paper is aimed at testing
and constructing an explanatory model by using the science-culture perspective of
S&T. It is assumed that social contextual factors which relate to the formation of self
identity determined people’s interest in S&T. Factors associated with a great diversity
of interests are examined. These factors included social structural characteristics (i.e.
education, age, and income), mass media’s impact (i.e. newspaper, web-news, TV
news, and science magazine), religious factors, pseudoscience beliefs, and science
knowledge. A national data was collected in Taiwan in 2008 with a sample size of
2024. Multiple regression analysis was employed. One of the significant findings is
that a popular local custom of belief has a negative impact on public interest in S&T.
It was also found that science knowledge related positively to public interest in S&T.
The applications of science communication are discussed in this paper.
Bing Liu Tsinghua University, Hongmei Bao Tsinghua University
Taking the case of Khii which is an important concept in Mongolian Medicine, the
public understanding of Khii has been investigated systematically, comparison of the
differences in the understanding of Khii between theory of Mongolian medicine and
public understanding was drawn, and the present situation of Mongolian public culture
of medicine was presented from this special perspective. Based on the investigation,
further thinking was suggested about the theoretical and practical problems in the
public understanding of science and science communication.
Nancy Longnecker The University of Western Australia
Evaluating impact of participation in Citizen Science programs involves asking the
right questions such as: Which public(s) contribute to knowledge production? What
motivates individuals to participate? What benefits do individuals perceive and what
constrains their participation? Can involvement of teachers and students increase
their understanding of key concepts? Can involvement influence their attitudes?
Does taking part in original environmental research increase sustainable behaviour?
Can use of digital media increase participation of a younger demographic? Can
participation of employees feed back in positive ways to supporting organisations?
Does participation of public(s) change the direction of research?
Case-study programs will be considered; these aim to contribute to original
environmental or astronomical research: ClimateWatch, PlantWatch, TeachWild
and SkyNet. In evaluating impacts, what are the best questions to ask and what
methodologies are useful in addressing them?
These programs involve participants contributing original observations in order to
develop large data sets. ClimateWatch is a young Australian Earthwatch program while
PlantWatch is an established Canadian program; individuals contribute observations
of flowering time of plants and/ or animal behaviour. TeachWild is a new Earthwatch
program that will involve monitoring marine debris around the vast Australian
coast and impacts of debris on wildlife. SkyNet is a global, online program in which
participants contribute computer power and/ or make astronomical observations.
Citizen Science programs have many potential benefits, including involvement of
public in original science.
Examination of changing attitudes about science and environment or increasing
scientific literacy are unlikely to be fruitful means of determining success of programs
like PlantWatch with a large proportion of experienced and older volunteers.
However there is still value of participation in Citizen Science by people with much to
contribute, especially as most Baby Boomers reach retirement and have time, energy
and expertise to contribute back to society.
Participants in TeachWild, ClimateWatch and SkyNet include students and teachers.
These programs may be more likely to contribute to changing attitudes and improved
Measures of success need to be carefully thought through, with different measures
applied to programs that attract different demographics.
Gianluca Masi The Virtual Telescope Project, Gisella Luccone The Virtual Telescope
In the era of global communication, people are left with the impression that every
community can be easily reached when sharing science and knowledge in general,
especially thanks to technologies and the Internet.
The real situation is far from the ideal. Economical, logistical and social issues
can make hard or impossible for many communities to access the traditional and
modern channels commonly used to convey science communication. Also, often
disadvantaged communities cannot directly enjoy scientific experiments and/or
practical experiences because they don’t have the resources needed.
The Virtual Telescope started its activities in 2006, making a number of robotic, easy
to use telescopes available through the Internet: it’s possible to use real telescopes,
moving and controlling them in real time via the Internet. While other online
telescopes are available, the Virtual Telescope team includes astronomers, science
communicators and other figures with specific skills to enrich both the contents and
the formats used to reach the public. These choices make the Virtual Telescope a
unique case on the international stage. The idea is to offer something new to the
general audience, not only to astronomers.
We have also created our webTV, making public online events when something
special happens in the sky: astronomical images are shared on the web in real time,
with live commentary from our staff.
More recently, the Virtual Telescope has started an intense social project, including
several activities, with the explicit goal to bring the wonders and suggestions of space
and time (both from a scientific and philosophical point of view) to hospitals, prisons
and growing Countries. The real-time use of the telescope is part of the experience,
otherwise other experiences are proposed.
This recent project poses a special attention to the human factor, believing that
knowledge is an enriching element, always improving the consciousness and quality
of life. Astrophysics, philosophy, cosmology, art and literature are properly mixed
together (of course considering the audience background), with a resulting format
which is showing an amazing success.
In this talk we report about our experience, philosophy and critical points we’ve met,
especially at the Rebibbia prison, the biggest penitentiary institute in Italy.
Chiara Mauro Department of Education University of Padova - Italy
Science museum is an institution open to the public to promote culture and heritage,
and to develop citizen’s science skills.
Therefore, science museum offers activities for different categories of publics,
included children, who represent an high percentage of the visitors. It contributes
to develop science literacy in children, by using different approaches to meet their
styles of learning and to answer their educational needs and expectations.
My paper presents the research we carried out in the Natural History and Archaeology
Museum of Montebelluna TV, Italy. More specifically, we want to present to you how
we assessed background information about children perceptions, expectations and
interests regarding science museum. This front-end evaluation activity was functional
for the Institution to best answer children’s educational needs in order to design a new
museum area, and it also helped the Museum to plan new science communication
strategies that might be implemented in the new area.
Having surveyed several International Charts about childhood, we decided it was
important to listen to the children’s voices on applying dynamic and interactive
techniques from the sector of education, and to create educational settings where
children could discuss together and develop their civic mind.
In consideration of the above, we asked to a group of children (six to eleven years old)
to participate in some forums, where they should express their own ideas about the
design of the new museum area.
“What’s the best on visiting science museums?
What’s the less attracting on visiting science museums?
Who would you like to bring with you to visit a science museum? Why he/she/ they?
How would you like to design a new science museum?”
Starting from those and other questions, young visitors provided us with useful
information about their perceptions and preferences. Furthermore, they gained
a good educational experience where they reflected upon what they do in the
museum; they thought and expressed their feeling and options; they lived a happy
and productive time together; they had a good occasion to cooperate and discuss
within a group on building a joint project.
The research about this topic raised the staff and trustees’ awareness regarding their
visitors and potential visitors, on considering the point of view of the audience. It was
also a good practice for children to develop their self-knowledge and to trial a social
participation experience.
Fabio Meliciani University of Lugano, Michela Carli University of Lugano, Giovanni
Pellegri University of Lugano
Children’s imaginaries usually reflect and take to extremes what adults think and say.
When it comes to the world of science, these imaginaries are often distorted. At
the same time, pre-school and primary school teachers have difficulties in talking to
their children about science. The awareness of this lead, in 2005, to the foundation
of L’ideatorio, a small science center that was created in the Italian Switzerland with
the collaboration of the Istituto Scolastico of Lugano. L’ideatorio was created with the
aim to help children discover science in an enjoyable and involving way, to re-attune
their imaginaries and to offer teachers an opportunity to experience science-related
paths and activities with their classes. Some studies on the perception of science,
carried out with our visiting teachers and pupils, encouraged us to widen our range
of initiatives. If the goal was to rebuild the child’s imaginary, and if this imaginary
is shaped through interaction with adults, experiences with friends, school, family
and mass media, then it appeared necessary to promote activities on a variety of
directions. For this reason, after the initial experiences with children, L’ideatorio
enriched its range of proposals, with the aim to foster a critical but more realistic
perception of the world of science on different kinds of audiences. In particular, it
was decided to involve citizens through festivals, exhibitions, participative projects
and scientific holidays, while collaborating with the mass media, which have always
given a powerful contribution to the building of imaginaries. For a few years,
L’ideatorio has been collaborating with the Radio televisione Svizzera Italiana (RSI) in
the creation of programs about science. Networking and collaboration with cantonal
and national realities has given a great contribution, and so did the collaboration
of a team of science communicators belonging to different scientific fields: from
biology to philosophy, from sociology to economy and computer science. Nowadays,
the project had widened further and has become part of the University of Lugano
(USI), representing an important link between society and the scientific world. At the
same time it maintains its peculiarities: the strong relation to school and a particular
attention to children.
Nozomi Mizushima Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, Univ. of Tokyo,
Japan, Ikuko Kase Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Japan,
Osamu Sakura Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, Univ. of Tokyo, Japan
Many of Japanese scholars might be surprised when they read Wynne (1992) after
Fukushima nuclear incident. The situation of Japan is incredibly similar to Lake District
of Cumbria, Northern England about the reaction of scientific authorities and publics
to the consequence of radioactive contamination, which was induced by explosion
of Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986: repeating statement that radioactive fall-out
was not affecting our lives, failed prediction by authoritative scientists, responses
from scientific communities without reflexivity, patriarchal behaviors of Japanese
government, and now, credibility and trustworthiness of scientists were increasingly
diminishing. We can say that the situation which Wynne wrote about has been
replayed in Japan after twenty-five year. In this presentation, we draw the public
reception of scientific knowledge from a case study of Japanese mothers’ responses
to the scientific advices about radioactive contamination as a Japanese version of
“Cumbrian sheep farmers”.
Maria Inês Nogueira, Silvia Honda Takada, Wilma Allemandi, Paula Hitomi Ito,
Barbara Milan Martins and Vitor Yonamine Lee. Institute of Biomedical Sciences,
Institute of Psicology and Estação Ciência-PRCEU-USP of Universidade de São Paulo.
The structural and behavioral effects of neonatal anoxia are part of a study in our
lab, which involves students and collaborators of different labs and institutions.
Neonatal anoxia is a worldwide clinical problem that causes encephalic alterations in
human neonates leading to serious and lasting consequences in the body and brain.
Therefore, finding a suitable animal model of anoxia was our goal in order to address
this multidisciplinary study under controlled conditions and search for interrelations
between particularities of the ensuing sequelae and morph-functional changes. So,
we adapted from literature a model of neonatal anoxia in rats, which comprises a
semi-hermetic system suitable for complete oxygen deprivation. The efficiency of the
model was confirmed by clinical, physiological and histological procedures (Takada et
al., 2011). We could confirm that neurons and glial cells were activated in respiratory
control areas and we observed significant differences in the hippocampus of control
and anoxia groups. The model proved suitable for our purposes.
Differential effects were observed in glial cells of the hippocampus according to
the maturational stage of the region at birth. Also, neuron activation, cell death
and neurogenesis were studied in hippocampus. Interestingly, an increased cell
proliferation was observed after 60 days of the neonatal anoxia stimulus. Behavioral
changes were observed in spatial reference memory, working memory, sensory
disturbance, anxiety and acquisition of conditioned fear of sound and context.
However, with more days of tests, the anoxic animals could achieve performance
which was close to that of the normal group. These results, in spite of the need to
be more explored, have already revealed that anoxic condition is harmful to brain
areas related to these behaviors, but also confirm the power of neuroplasticity since
prompt and right diagnostic might provide suitable therapy that can minimize the
promoted effects.
Therefore communicating these data to the physicians, nurses, physiotherapists,
pregnant women and general public, is very important in order to avoid or minimize
conditions that may lead to anoxic condition. Science communication activities
of these data have been provided such as lectures, mini-courses and interactive
exhibitions to communicate the scientific findings. We observed that the attendees
of the proposed activities enjoyed knowing the causes, principles and mechanisms
of those effects in motility, behavior and cognition as well as the identification of
possible preventive and therapeutic approaches to the theme.
Maria Inês Nogueira Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Psicology and
Estação Ciência-PRCEU-USP of Universidade de São Paulo; Manoj Kumar Patayiria,
National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) and Ministry of
Science & Technology, Govt. of India
The University of São Paulo and some Research and Educational Institutions from
India aiming to discuss, construct, and consolidate an academic network in the fields
of science, technology and communication between both nations, for the general
comprehension of the society (Sc-T-C & S) planned a symposium and workshop
in October, 17-21, 2011, in São Paulo, Brazil. Although the Forum “Declaration of
Brasilia”, held in 2003, is still in progress as well as other initiatives, the University of
São Paulo is very much interested in establishing an official agreement to promote
a bilateral interchange of academic research projects, staff and students in various
fields of knowledge. Therefore, considering that the main themes that bring both
countries together are geophysical, economical, and ethnic diversities, which present
a mutual challenge in need of solutions, cooperative educational, political and
economic politics and strategies, efforts and grants, from the USP, FAPESP and from
India’s side, were invested. Eleven Indian delegates of different India’s institutions
came to congregate with professionals from Brazil.
Relevant and updated themes on science, technology, communication, culture and
society of common interest to both countries were discussed. An exhibition of (ScT-C & S) in cartoons was performed along with cultural shows. The activities were
included in the National Week of Science and Technology of Brazil. A book titled
“Sharing Science” was published with papers/ articles on the theme by professionals
of both nations. Coverage of the University Media contributed to the success of the
event which was also simultaneously transmitted and recorded through the internet.
A graduated program at master and doctoral level is being elaborated, besides opened
opportunities of partnerships among the attendees.
In conclusion, we consider the occasion of reflection very important and the model
that emerged out of the program can be useful for similar or other innovative
cooperation initiatives to be taken in future in the area of PCST across the world.
Grants: FAPESP- Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo
Universidade de São Paulo, General Consulate of India in São Paulo
National Council for Science and Technology Communication
Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India
Cristina Stefania Olariu Department of Physics, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi,
Romania, Dorin Popa Department of Journalism and Communication Science, Faculty
of Letters, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania
In recent years, the scientific information presented in media worldwide has increased
as science has played an increasingly important and visible roll in society. Our study
proposes to research how the science achievement has been communicated in
Romania during a long time period, how the scientific reality has been presented to
the public. I chose to study and evaluate the “Magazine” paper – an Independent
Weekly Cultural Science Paper, which has appeared without interruption on the
Romanian media market since 1957 and addressed all intellectual and all age’s
people categories. Appearance continuity, unspecialist public addressability, themes
diversity, Science permanent section recommends this Magazine as a generous and
continuous channel of science and culture communication. The study was done by
searching all the numbers from 1958, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990,
1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 years of the “Magazine” archives from “Mihai Eminescu” Iasi
Central University Library. My study has a primary focus on the science and culture
communication items, estimating the occupancy ratio of this kind of articles from
total publishing space of the magazine paper.
Related to cultural news, I considered culture communications texts that address in
one way or another cultural life in Romania or diverse countries.
We did not choose for our study a specific periodical that presented specialized or
strict scientific topics, with a less numerous target audience formed from experts. We
preferred to analyze an independent cultural and scientific magazine dedicated to an
unspecialist public, heterogeneous.
Also, by extrapolating, we believe that such publication presents a stake of type Long
Life Learning because mass media are often the only source for reading scientific
information for people coming from educational structures.
Acknowledgement: The financial support from the Grant POSDRU/89/1.5/S/ 63663
is highly acknowledged.
Sebastian Olényi Delft University of Technology; BE Basic, Robin L. Pierce Delft
University of Technology, Patricia Osseweijer Delft University of Technology
Sustainability is a strong boundary object especially for stakeholders involved in
food and biomass production. The concept is widened from a normative context
and definition with usage e.g. in the policy area after the Brundtland report to more
operationalized definitions by certification schemes and industry adapting it in
quantitative approaches e.g. for labelling applications.
The research project evaluates different concepts and priorities for sustainability
criteria within industry, certification schemes, countries and consumers for sustainable
food and biomass products. With a transdisciplinary approach and qualitative and
quantitative research, one of its results shall be a visualization of those sustainability
criteria and priorities of different stakeholders beyond borders with academic
partners in Brazil and Malaysia.
The visualization is developed by using the free and open source graphic library
Protovis and is based on the work of Jan Willem Tulp for the World Economic Forum.
The poster shall show first results of the quantitative and qualitative studies.
biotechnology/research/research-groups/biotechnology-and-society/researchprojects/olenyi/, the work of Jan Willem Tulp
Natsuko Otsu Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The University
of Tokyo, Osamu Sakura Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University
of Tokyo
The purpose of this study is to reveal how scientific discourses are interpreted in nonscientific community through the analysis of magazine articles on “the brain science
boom” in Japan.
It is important in science communication to reveal how non-scientific community
interprets science depending on the type of context. “Science boom” represents the
daily life situations through which people associate with science. Neuroscience boom,
which is the brain science boom, is considered an example of the science boom. This
boom has been criticized by scientists as being a trend of pseudoscience. However,
interpretations and contexts of this boom in non-scientific community have not been
This study surveys the diversity of discourses on the brain science boom in Japan. We
assume magazine articles to be representatives of the interpretations of this boom
in non-scientific community. Discourses in magazines are investigated on the basis of
whether interpretations of the brain science boom have various patterns depending
on the class of readers. To reveal the diversity of discourses, we considered two types
of discourses. The first type includes the discourses constituting the brain science
boom such as neuroscientific puzzles or exercises and neuroscientific explanations of
personal psychology or social phenomena. The second type includes metadiscourses
such as introduction of the brain science boom. Then, we analyzed these discourses
by considering the following factors: (1) presumption about the nature of the brain,
(2) presumption about the practice of neuroscience, (3) the type of actions and things
that are related to the brain and neuroscience, (4) their purposes, and (5) the narrator
and audience of the discourse.
It is shown that the brain and neuroscience are related to more various things and
actions than those supposed by scientists. Moreover, the contexts of the discourses
have various patterns such as education, romance, economic success, or health
promotion. These results suggest that the brain science boom occurs corresponding
to various contexts, and the field of the boom sprawls wider than that assumed
by scientists. This sprawling may lead to a gap between scientists’ criticisms and
people’s perception of the brain science boom. It is necessary to pay attention to this
possibility when discussing the brain science boom or scientific discourses in nonscientific community.
Nico Pitrelli Sissa - International School for Advanced Studies – Trieste – Italy
The Internet creates new challenges for science journalism, as in other areas of
information. Up to a few years ago, the interaction between sources, mediators
and public followed a linear path: the production of an event, its journalistic report
and finally its communication to an audience. Now, in the digital world, those three
different moments often coexist in a circular framework, where the roles of event
producers, intermediaries and audiences are no longer strictly defined.
On the one hand, for example, through digital and networking technologies, citizens,
patients, consumers exchange and share information about science. On the other
hand, scientists use the web to reach different audiences in a direct way. In both
cases, scientific journalists do not appear as essential. Hence, they suffer from an
identity crisis taking place also in the growing complexity of science-society relations.
In my speech, I will show that one of the key answers to the issues of information
professionals in a digital world is training. For scientific journalism to remain one of
the most significant methods in the definition of the public dimension of science, it
is necessary to conceive teaching activities able to create new technical, cultural and
relational skills.
This is the reason why we have founded, starting from 2011, the Master’s Degree in
Digital Science Journalism at SISSA in Trieste, a pioneering one-year course in Italy.
In my talk, I will present the structure, the courses, the goals and the logic behind the
Master’s Degree. We have had to face many challenges to devise a curriculum to be
really effective. The crucial points regard both practical and theoretical aspects. In my
speech, I will describe how we found a solution to them.
Victor Quintino Department of Biology and CESAM, Ana Maria Rodrigues Department
of Biology and CESAM
“Can you tell me what this is?” intends to draw attention upon marine Invertebrates
through photography. If the world of terrestrial Invertebrates is far from us, arguably
that of marine Invertebrates is even further away. Many of such species are totally
unknown to people or even to biodiversity students and yet, the colors, the patterns
and the shear beauty of these animals make it often difficult to hide expressions of
astonishment. We hope that this presentation may stimulate the curiosity and self
willingness to know more about such animals. With knowledge comes understanding,
caring and respecting and this is the key to develop a willingness to protect.
Claire Rocks Cheltenham Science Festival, Aarathi Prasad British Council, Lyubov
Kostova British Council
In 2007, the Cheltenham Festival’s FameLab competition went International. It was
adopted by the British Council as a flagship public engagement project, to discover
and develop early career scientists with a skill in communicating science.
Today FameLab takes place in 21 countries. In 2012, Italy, South Africa and the USA
– in partnership with NASA – are set to join. Globally, more than 3,600 competitors
have taken part in FameLab International.
Between nations, public engagement with science reflects many cultural and political
factors. But it also acts as a neutral platform, where people come together with a
common aim. In the Final, competitors from countries with sometimes conflicting
political or religious views share a stage, supporting each other in an exciting multicultural celebration of science.
Internationally, FameLab responds to different needs. South AfricaҒs participation
has been an effort to provide African scientists as role models to inspire the younger
generation – especially girls – who feel that a career in science is closed to them.
This session introduces talented FameLab alumni who will show their skills and tell
their remarkable stories, including:
Science communication in political turmoil: Science has the potential to offer a
neutral, non-political platform for public engagement. Mahmoud Abu-khedr (3rd
prize, FameLab 2011), an engineer from the University of Alexandria gripped his
audience by blending science with the Arab Spring protests, using the properties of a
gyroscope as a metaphor for the revolution in Egypt.
Increasingly, international collaborations are key to solving global issues. Tom
Whyntie (1st prize, FameLab UK 2009) works with CERN – an international research
centre staffed by scientists from all over the world. Mirko Djordjevic, Serbia and
International winner 2009 said, “Famelab is a message: Global science – no scientists
working in isolation”. Over the years, the FameLab network has set up international
events with the help of the British Council, like a public debate on nuclear energy
between Bulgarian and Greek scientists.
Overcoming stereotypes: Against all clichés and prejudices of gender and religious
biases, Libya’s winner in 2010 was a female biologist.
Unprecedented media attention: massive TV coverage in Turkey, lifestyle magazine
interviews in Croatia and Serbia, increased editorial commitment in Bulgaria, where
new TV shows have been started or hosted by FameLabbers.
Ana Maria Rodrigues Departamento de Biologia e CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro,
3810-193 Aveiro, Victor Quintino Departamento de Biologia e CESAM, Universidade
de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro
“Perspectives: a Nature Atelier” is part of a wider project “NARTURAL: Nature and
Art”. NARTURAL aimed at promoting the understanding of science through aesthetic
and ludic activities, while stimulating the exploitation of a range of techniques and
artistic construction materials, inspired by the natural world and supported by
scientific knowledge. The project included several themes in physics, mathematics
and biology. Under the biology domain, the activities were grouped in three main
themes, made available in a website and in CD-ROM format:
Natural Forms: an illustrated reflexion on the influence of biology upon
ceramic creations and an appraisal on the biodiversity associated with cooking;
Shapes, Colours and Functions: a photographic gallery with images of the
natural world encouraging a personal discovery associated with amazing shapes,
their colours and functions;
Utopia: atelier areas that allow the user to create their own “Art work” using
resource libraries; in Utopia, the user can create and save postcards using a range
of background landscapes populated with images from resource libraries including
fishes, butterflies, flowers, fruits, seashells, and many others; a puzzle section based
on natural motives is also available in Utopia.
Ana Maria Rodrigues Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810193 Aveiro, Portugal, Clarisse Ferreira Department of Biology and CESAM, University
of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
The success of initiatives aiming to promote and protect biodiversity depends to a
large extent on the engagement of citizens to biological issues and their participation
in environment decision-making and management.
The Puppet Shadow Theatre is an ancient and widespread form of performance,
directed both to children and adult audiences that can be adapted to tell all sort of
stories. It includes three main elements, the screen (the puppet stage), a light source
behind the screen and the puppets. The light creates sharp shadows on the screen,
bringing to life the silhouettes of the puppets.
Our main aim is to use the puppet shadow theatre as a science communication
tool to promote the public awareness of biodiversity, relationships between species
and their needs for protection. To fulfill these objectives a story was created and
adapted to a range of public: “Diopatra, the lady of the rings”. Diopatra is a marine
worm, abundant in lagoons and estuaries. The puppets represent humans, birds and
invertebrates, adults and larvae. To evaluate the impact of this initiative, queries will
be created and their results analyzed by using appropriate statistical methods.
Elisabet Rodríguez-González Fundacio Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA),
The Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), UAB-IRTA is a public foundation
located in Barcelona (Spain) for the research and technological development, studies
and education in the sphere of animal health. Beyond these purposes, another
mission of the CReSA is the promotion of the social spreading of the scientific and
technological culture, as a tool of competitiveness and improvement of the life quality
of citizens. Therefore, activities designed in a form accessible to non-specialized
persons are planned for making science available to society.
Upper Secondary Education is the last phase of Secondary Education which is voluntary
(16-18-years-old). The last PISA reports point out a recession in sciences level of the
Secondary Education students in Spain. Therefore, this segment is one of the targets
for the Communication Unit of the CReSA. The basic objectives of our communication
activities are: motivating their interests towards the research, consolidating the public
image of the research as an activity that generates development and life quality,
orientating the students interested in scientific careers, increasing their scientific
vocations and guaranteeing the future competitiveness.
More than 1,500 young students visited our research facilities from 2007 to 2010;
around 2,000 reproductions of our science clips were watched during a 5-months
period; more than 500 people got subscribed to our journal of science divulgation in
one month; an educative website was addressed to the non-specialized public. These
data are some of the results achieved by the communication actions of the CReSA
during the last 5 years.
Francesc Rodríguez York University, Canada
At the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies, facilities conducting
research on behalf of underprivileged communities emerged in Europe and the United
States. Usually, these facilities have been called science shops referring to the term
employed in the Netherlands. Today, this model of interaction between educational
and scientific institutions and citizens has spread across several countries. As a
consequence, science shops offer a large variety of institutional formats in different
local contexts.
My research sheds light on the degrees of public engagement in science shops,
or in other words, the way that citizens and members of the scientific community
are related in these facilities. In order to achieve this, I have adapted an existing
framework for discriminating among different models of science communication to
the particular characteristics of science shops. A questionnaire with this framework
was sent to more than one hundred science shops around the world.
The results indicate that in most of the cases science shops do not only conduct
research on behalf of citizens, but also involve them in several participatory processes
related to science. This shows that the standard account of science shops as a
consultative process free of charge on behalf of social groups describes only a part of
their operations and that these facilities implement the best recommended practices
in science communication in terms of engagement.
A. Rueda-Rodríguez Complexity, Science and Society Network, National Council of
Science and Technology, Government of Mexico, C. Rosen-Ferlinil Complexity, Science
and Society Network, National Council of Science and Technology, Government of
Mexico, J. Taguena-Pargal Mexican Society of Science and Technology Communication
(SOMEDICYT), J. Cruz-Mena Science Journalism Office, National Autonomous
University of Mexico (UNAM).
Although science communication activities have been carried out in Mexico for
decades, this has not been documented in a systematic and updated manner yet.
Hence, this work proposes a methodology that aims at identifying which Mexican
organizations work in the science communication field (whether in practice, research
or education).
However in this paper we present the first stage, which focuses on a methodology
aimed at finding the mass media that is publishing or broadcasting science content
on a regular basis in Mexico City. By looking into a media directory and different
directories that scientific institutions use to contact journalists, we came up with a list
of 71 potential candidates. Two follow-up questionnaires were done to confirm the
media or eliminate them from the final map. In this way, we also got information on
how they communicate science.
We obtained answers from 45 media organizations (newspapers, radio, television
and magazines), which gave us the first approach to their science communication
practice in terms of frequency, priority, sources, news-making process, professional
profiles and remuneration.
For instance, 69% of the media said they don’t have a science department; 16%
assured their reporters don’t receive any remuneration for their work; 31% said that
they produce less than 40% of their science content; and 40% responded they don’t
have a specific frequency to publish or broadcast science issues.
These preliminary results suggest that the method can be applied by using few
resources and in a short period of time to effectively detect those organisations that
communicate science. However, in order to have a final national map, replication and
improvement of this methodology are needed throughout the entire country.
Lorella Salce Press Office, I.F.O.- Ist. Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena e Ist. Dermatologico
San Gallicano, Rome, Italy, Daria Limatola Press Office, I.F.O.- Ist. Nazionale Tumori
Regina Elena e Ist. Dermatologico San Gallicano, Rome, Italy, Simona Barbato Press
Office, I.F.O.- Ist. Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena e Ist. Dermatologico San Gallicano,
Rome, Italy, Marta Maschio Centre for Tumor Epilepsy, Ist. Nazionale Tumori Regina
Elena, Rome, Italy, Daniela Renna Press Office, I.F.O.- Ist. Nazionale Tumori Regina
Elena e Ist. Dermatologico San Gallicano, Rome, Italy, Adriana La Porta Press Office,
I.F.O.- Ist. Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena e Ist. Dermatologico San Gallicano, Rome,
The National Institute of Cancer “Regina Elena”, like other Irccs (Italian Research
Hospitals), has the institutional imperative to develop protocols of excellence in
its areas of expertise: basic and translational research, new therapies, patient
management etc. As a consequence, the communication concerning the activities
undertaken and the results obtained must respect high ethical and qualitative
standards considering the potential impact that the news can have. The Institute’s
Press Office wants to present the activities undertaken by the Center for Brain TumorRelated Epilepsy (CET),as an example of these procedures.
The Press Office, in close collaboration with the Center’s personnel, has set up a
series of actions for the diffusion (360) of the Center’s clinical and research activity
and results, to different targets: the scientific community, trainees, patients, and the
public. All actions respect in full the Institute’s mission of excellence in fighting cancer.
Communication actions were directed first to medical doctors and researchers, for
whom training courses, seminars and meetings were organized, the most important
being the International Symposium held in Venice last July. The CET, formally
established by Regina Elena in 2005, was the first center of its kind in Europe and
is still the only one in Italy. Its reputation has grown so much that recently two
important universities, in Italy and U.S.A., have signed collaboration agreements for
the research, training and development of new therapeutic protocols.
To provide information to patients and the public, the Press Office maintains high
media interest in the topic of brain tumor-related epilepsy, through the periodical
generation of news items, press releases, and editorials. Furthermore it promotes
informational events for the general public, in coordination with LICE (Italian
League Against Epilepsy) who formally recognized the CET, and with other volunteer
associations, that in Italy have a key role in diffusing knowledge about medicine.
These activities finally merged in 2010, with the creation of a video presentation of the
Center, distributed by various media, and a dedicated website: a true internet portal
designed to highlight the state of the art of knowledge regarding this pathology. This
site allows direct interaction with patients – over 100 emails received within this year
– and specialists, who can benefit from a “reserved area” used to share information
with colleagues.
Stefano Sandrelli INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Stefania Varano INAF Istituto di Radioastronomia di Bologna, Mauro Dolci INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico
di Teramo, Giuseppe Cutispoto INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Angela
Misiano Società Astronomica Italiana
The International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO) is an annual astronomy scientificeducating event, born in 1996. It relies basically on an intellectual competition
between students aged between 14 and 17 coming from different countries.
The Italian Astronomy Olympiad, whose winners are entitled to attend the IAO, has
been organized since 2007 by INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) and SAI (Società
Astronomica Italiana). It is becoming more and more visible and widely spread over
the Italian scenario: more than 500 Italian students participated to the 2011 edition,
with 13 INAF institutes involved in their organization.
Unfortunately, it is still hard for the Italian Olympiad Organization to involve school
teachers, since astronomy is only marginally accounted for in the scholastic programs.
This critical point, however, turns out to be a good opportunity for students, teachers
and astronomers. Indeed, they can develop together a new method of learning and
experiencing astronomical concepts and issues.
To this purpose, the Committee has been developing in the last years a non-traditional
mediatic, highly interactive approach to turn on the interest of teen-aging students
for astronomy.
We give here an overview of the Italian Astronomy Olympiad project and its current
status, with particular reference to this non conventional mediatic approach.
Saima Siddiqui Department of Earth System Sciences, University of Modena and
Reggio Emilia, Italy, Naeema Siddiqui Instiute of Social and Cultural Studies, University
of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, Uzma Bano Beacon house school systems, Lahore,
Pakistan., Ayesha Khalid Department of Economics, Forman Christian College (A
charted University) Lahore Pakistan, Muhammad Hamza Sajjad Butt Department of
Economics, Forman Christian College (A charted University) Lahore Pakistan, Syed
Amer Mahmood Remote Sensing Group, Institute of Geology, Freiberg University of
Mining and Technology Germany.
Public communication of science and technology is generating knowledge and a rapid
awareness in a variety of areas including rural, agro-based and related disciplines.
Quick scientific and technical packages are developed for dissemination to the
pertinent clientele mostly located in countryside areas. At times, this knowledge
was transferred to rural communities by an all-time well-known method of ‘face to
face communication’ via a large team with hundreds of field workers and additional
mediators. The alarming people bomb has made it impracticable to reach a certain
target group or individual farmer families on regular intervals to modernize them
on most recent developments on a regular basis. With the advent of the concept
of science communication particularly through the electronic and news print media,
cable TV and particularly through the Internet which has emerged rapidly over a
short span of time. This is the most powerful and effective medium of communication
that human history has ever witnessed so far. This medium has provided web based
systems, services and solutions to many of the communication-oriented activities in
the sharing of scientific research knowledge which could have only been dreamed
about, a few year ago. In Pakistan, agriculture was and still remains a mainstay of
the economy not only for the rural sector in particular but also for Pakistan itself in
general. The adoption of science communication is becoming a significant successful
factor for protecting the economic and social viability of the agricultural sector.
Agriculture being the ancient professions on the planet earth and has been a way
of life for millions of people since the time unknown. Agro-based community in
Pakistan has been practicing agriculture on the basis of information provided by their
intimates and added up with various new concepts over the time. This research is
based on a survey in some selected model villages near Pakpatan, well known for
its cash crop yield. The results of this survey indicate that the idea of public science
communication has modernized the local rural community in terms of most recent
awareness regarding the agricultural practices to increase their agro-yield manifolds.
They can now handle their crops now against deadly disease and their long term
protection. This awareness has brought a kind of prosperity in their day-to-day life
and also they dedicate this prosperity to the revolutionary advent of science and
technology communication and its access to common man.
Adrijana Šuljok Institute for Social Research in Zagreb
Growing media attention toward scientific topics and increasing presence of science
in the media (medialization of science) has been identified by several researchers.
Some scholars argue that increased media presence is primarily characteristic of
specific scientific fields, such as biomedical and biotechnological sciences (noticed
by Bader, 1990; Bauer, 1998; Bucchi and Mazzolini, 2003). Also, researchers suggest
that the social sciences and humanities are perceived as less scientific and have a
lower epistemological and scientific status, both in the media and the public (Cassidy,
2008). But so far studies did not yield unambiguous conclusion about the (under)
representation of certain disciplines in the media coverage of science.
In other words, studies indicate that the media coverage of different scientific fields
may considerably vary in quantity and quality. Differences can be explained by
theories of public sphere and mass media – media selection – or by epistemological
cultures – some scientific fields are more autonomous, while the others are more
intertwined with social sphere and therefore more publicly discussed.
Motivated by these theses, the main goal of my research is twofold. First, to answer
whether differences in amount of media coverage of different scientific disciplines
exist and whether they have changed significantly over time. And second, to determine
whether there are qualitative differences in media coverage of scientific disciplines
(with an emphasis on social sciences and humanities).
The study will be based on content analysis of science related articles that appeared
in a sample of the most read Croatian daily newspapers in two periods: late socialist
period (between 1986 and 1988) and (post)transitional period (between 2006 and
Mico Tatalovic Deputy news editor at SciDev.Net; board of directors for the Association
of British Science Writers; freelancer for a range of Croatian outlets
I will reflect on the experience of editing news stories in developing country journalists
and try to identify the key challenges such journalists face and how to address them.
Among the repeating issues that can easily be improved there are: citing sources of
information; copying press releases and other materials; failing to get a comment
from the primary source of the information; and failing to get an external comment.
I will also look into cases where the journalist gets an external comment which is not
directly relevant to the story; or when they get several comments that are all saying
the same thing or are all too general about the wider topic, rather than the news at
These are all issues that I come across repeatedly as a news editor and can easily
be fixed by following certain tips and understanding the reason why quality science
journalism follows certain rules, such as not relying on press releases and requiring
an external comment.
I will use real examples of news stories from developing country journalists and
from Croatian newspapers. The outcome should be a better understanding of how
to shape and write a better quality science news stories, but also a statement on
what we consider to be quality in science news writing inviting comments on why we
follow certain rules the way we do and whether there are different ways of writing
objective science news.
Emiko Tayanagi Future University Hakodate
This is an action research, namely research in action, which aims to enable
undergraduate students to cultivate their own ethical mind through an undergraduate
education practice of engineering ethics. In recent years almost all of the science
and engineering colleges have introduced a subject of engineering ethics education
in Japan. However their syllabus planning tends to lack consistency of educational
purpose and to be a mixture of wide range of issues: law and ethics, product liability,
compliance and disclosure, whistle blowing, peer pressure, risk communication,
etc., in an omnibus style of lectures or workshops. This tendency makes it difficult
to teach essential qualities of “ethical mind” that students should cultivate. This
kind of problem is generally appeared in engineering ethics education, reported not
only in Japan. It is no doubt that the current science and technology driven society
requires professional engineers to engage in public communication of science and
technology. In order to apply science and technology to products and services with
much transparent way, professional engineers ought to cultivate their ethical mind
for science and technology communication with society as well as within their
organization. Therefore much efficient way of engineering ethics education should
be needed to turn such a transparency into reality.
This study aims to seek a new approach of educational method to enable students
to cultivate ethical mind constructing their own social attitudes through strategically
designed course program including persuasive essay writing. On the assumption
that the social psychology theories of “role-taking” and “attitude change” derive
effective basis to practice such education programs, the study develops a theoretical
framework for education, a syllabus of the class and a series of short essay questions
to exercise cognitive abilities concerned with ethical practices. Findings from
qualitative data analysis of descriptive texts by students show that this framework
succeeds in providing effective training opportunities, in which students try to learn
how to construct social attitude for ethical decision making within difficult and
complex situation overcoming conflict between opposing factors such as individual
and organizational value. As a result theoretical and practical contribution of the
educational framework to entire field of science communication should be discussed.
Paolo Tozzi INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste
A major goal in the communication of science is to convey the added value of being
involved in the quest for knowledge in contemporary society. A first and imperative
step is to investigate the perception of the role of knowledge-workers from within
the scientific institutions. We start from noticing a diffuse disenchantment among
workers in scientific institutes concerning the mission of their institute. We think that
it is necessary to propose events which can involve the entire personnel to foster the
importance of being a knowledge worker. We propose a specific format for a series
of seminars which do not fit into the regular scientific program nor into a public-talk
series. These seminars should be given by professionals on interdisciplinary topics
which involve both the scientific and the non-scientific personnel, and are tightly
related to the working environment. The goal is to show that working in a scientific
environment gives access to a wide pool of knowledge, which can significantly enrich
our personal and professional life. We report the successful experience of two seasons
of seminars at the Observatory of Trieste, presenting the results of a questionnaire
conducted among the personnel of the Observatory. On a more general ground, we
conclude that in contemporary society, communication of science must rely on a
direct involvement of the public: making the knowledge-workers fully aware of their
role is a first, necessary step.
Brinder Kumar Tyagi Vigyan Prasar, Govt. of India
The declaration of 2009 by UNO as International Year of Astronomy provided a great
impetus to the science popularisation activities in India, specifically for creating
awareness about astronomy in general public and scientific literacy among the children.
Coincidently the year 2009 also witnessed the occurrence of Total Solar Eclipse on
June 15, 2009 and the belt of totality also passes through Indian territory, covering
some of the northern and central States of India which are populated very thickly.
The occasion was utilized by Vigyan Prasar (VP) to develop a more focused package
of outreach activities on astronomy by building a nationwide campaign involving
children, science clubs, schools and common people to witness the eclipses safely and
removal of myth and superstitions associated with them. As part of outreach activities,
VP, a National Institute of Science and Technology Communications, developed and
produced a series of informative booklets, books, radio and television programmes,
CD-ROMs and organised a number of training programmes to train resource persons
to take up field based activities by involving general public and children. Two activity
based camps were also organized for the members of Science Clubs with the aim
of providing the basics of Astronomy through a series of hands-on-activities, taking
up short term observational project by developing low cost/no-cost equipments and
observing solar eclipse safely. Again the yearlong campaign was finally culminated
in the form of again a National Camp to Observe Annular Solar Eclipse (January 15,
2010) which was organised at Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu (India).
This paper highlights the institutional efforts of VP in popularising astronomy during
the IYC 2009 and to what extent the efforts were successful in enhancing the scientific
literacy on astronomy among the members of science clubs.
Marika Uchida University of Tokyo, Osamu Sakura University of Tokyo
This study introduces science communication activities for the public which use the
method of “blending science”. This is a way of combining science with non-scientific
activities, such as cooking, the Greek Myths, animation, to attract people being
less interested in science. Being interested in these areas of non-science, they are
expected to also concern with scientific activities and to acquire some scientific
knowledge automatically.
The importance of science communication had been widely recognized in Japan since
the 2000s and the number of science communication activities increased. However,
we have not succeeded to involve the people widely from the general public yet.
Science communication in Japan has still been limited within people having high
awareness and literacy of science.
However, there are people who are unknowingly interested in science. If the
approaches of science communication to these kinds of people are successful, public
awareness and literacy of science can be improved.
Thus, we propose the method of “blending science”, i.e., a combination of science
and non-science aimed at designing science communication activities for people who
are not generally interested in science. Although natural science is an independent
discipline, it is also applied to other fields such as mythology and cultures. Therefore,
it is possible to design activities by combining science and non-science. These
approaches of “blending science” with other cultures or fields are effective to attract
people who are not considerably interested in science.
Here, we introduce an example of “Science in Home Life”, which is a weekly article
combining cooking or cleaning and science in a newspaper; The Tokyo Shimbun.
These articles have not appeared on the scientific page, but on the lifestyle page.
From the analysis of responses on the Internet, it is recognized that people are likely
to follow immediately to the useful contents in daily life. However, usefulness is not
the only characteristic of science. If only this characteristic is emphasized, people
will misunderstand science as a tool for judging usefulness of things. Therefore, it is
necessary to communicate about other characteristics such as scientific processes and
the way of thinking about science. We will accordingly discuss about more effective
models of science communication activities for the general public.
Francis Van Loon University of Antwerp - Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Piet
De Vroede University of Antwerp - Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Since the academic year 2009-2010, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the
University of Antwerp, Belgium, implemented a new communication policy.
The “old” communication policy was in fact the absence of a policy at all, all involved
levels & persons acted independently in a sort of organic chaos.
To make an end to this charming but ineffective way of communicating with the
outside world, a staff member was appointed as single point of contact responsible
for all internal & external communication.
Several goals were set, matched with different tools/communication channels. It is
our responsibility to share our expertise in a comprehensible way with the general
public. Also, communicating our expertise proved to be quite a successful tool in
recruiting new students. A third goal was to strengthen our ties with our various
and widely diverse external relations (academic and non-academic). Lastly, more
exposure within our own university was welcome.
Apart from the implementation of various new initiatives (a series of lectures with
high-profile international academics, a brand new newsletter, the use of social media),
the new policy also brought some structural changes to all levels involved (bachelor,
master, PhD students, academic staff, administration). It even brought changes to
the curriculum at bachelor and master level. Our educational programmes are aimed
at delivering young researchers upon graduation, but in “real” life our students are
supposed to act professionally as evidence-based decision makers in a diverse range
of sectors. Therefore, we now incorporate communication and media training courses
throughout all programmes:
3rd year bachelor students have to publicly defend their research project in
the presence of local and regional press (print + television)
Master students have to write their own press release on their thesis; of the
papers that are both “sexy” and high-scoring, the press release is distributed within
PhD students are encouraged to act as experts in national media based on
their field of expertise
Our goal is to elaborate further on the practice and results (a dramatic increase in
media coverage, especially on the local/regional level) of communicating the social
sciences during the PCST 2012.
Monae Verbeke University of Warwick
Evaluation of informal science education in designed environments, such as at a
zoo, aquarium or museum, includes the study of visitor knowledge, attitudes, and
behaviors. A part of zoo education focuses on conservation education. The question
that arises from informal education in these spaces is whether the conservation
education in these spaces is making an impact on the knowledge, attitudes, and
behaviors of the visitors in their currant format or if changes need to be made to
exhibits for improved impact.
This study, at Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL, an AZA-accredited facility, collected data at
the four most modern exhibits (Elephant, Giraffe, Australia, and Gibbon) to address
these topics. Two methods were used: tracking and observing visitor behavior and
a post-visit survey. Variables in the observational study included dwell time in an
exhibit, number of visitors reading signs, and the number of visitors interacting
with interpretives. The survey documented reasons for visiting the zoo, previous
experience at a zoo, familiarity with conservation terms, opinions about Society’s role
in seven important conservation issues, and reported the favorite exhibit at the zoo.
Visitors reported reading at least one sign significantly more often than they were
observed reading a sign. Therefore, using self-report data is misleading for visitor
research. As exhibit walkway length can affect the visitor’s dwell time, dividing the
time spent in an exhibit by the walkway length created the adjusted dwell time.
Adjusted dwell spent was not dependent on the number of signs in the exhibit;
however adjusted dwell time was significantly longer when more interactives were
present. Although respondents generally reported conservation issues were important
worldwide, they often reported they were not important locally or relevant in their
own lives. Visitors were also often misinformed on essential key conservation topics.
This study is an example of how museums may better target visitors to make a more
substantial impact. Although, the project needs to be expanded further it provides
the basis of how to communicate our conservation goals to better sustain our
educational programs. Recommendations to improve informal science education for
Niabi Zoo and generally for all zoos include a substantial change to format in which
essential messages are delivered to all visitors.

Posters - Observa