Science communication in the world

April 19, 2012

Bothina Osama

Luisa Massarani
Latin America regional coordinator, SciDev.Net


In recent years, there is growing concern about the lack of science communication outside Europe and United States.

A 317 page book launched at PCST 2012 has the aim of engaging voices from other continents in communicating science.

Science Communication in the World – Practices, Theories and Trends explores the field of science communication over the past four decades in several countries.

It is edited by Canadian Bernard Schiele, Professor in the Communications Department at the University of Quebec at Montreal; French author Michel Claessens from the Communication Unit at the European Commission; and Shunke Shi, from the Chinese Research Institute for Science Popularization in Beijing.

According to the authors, while many countries have, at different times and to varying degrees, embarked on ambitious scientific, technical and cultural policies, the objectives they pursue must be understood and assessed within their specific national contexts.

The book, published by Springer, is comprised of 20 chapters written by authors all over the world. It is certainly worth a look. A pity that the price is so high, though – £117 ($US179).  But participants at PCST receive a 20 per cent discount.

This blog post is part of our Public Communication of Science & Technology (PCST2012) conference coverage.


Beauty has a specific space in our brain?

April 19, 2012

Luisa Massarani

Luisa Massarani
Latin America regional coordinator, SciDev.Net


Beautiful things have one thing in common: they activate a specific area of the brain. This intriguing idea was raised in the opening session of this year’s conference by Semir Zeki, professor at neurosthetics at University College London, United Kingdom, in a talk on the measurement of beauty.

It’s a controversial and possibly reductionist idea, but one thing we would probably agree on is that if there was a way of testing our brain activity during his talk, we would have been pretty active.

The PCST 2012 venue - Florence's Palazzo Vecchio

Certainly no one could disagree that the location of the 12th International Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST 2012) is one of beauty. We are at the Palazzo Vecchio, surrounded by fantastic artworks, including a Michelangelo.

For Piero Angela, a senior Italian TV announcer who has been central to the primetime science show “Superquark“, emotion is the central issue in engaging the public in science.

“Without emotion, we are not able to switch on the brain, to activate the memories,” he told the opening session.

The conference has attracted 647 delegates from 46 countries. The majority are from Europe (72 per cent), followed by Asia (9 per cent), North America (9 per cent) and Oceania (5 per cent).  Just 4 per cent and 1 per cent of the delegates are from Latin America and Africa respectively.

We will have two very packed and exciting days!

Note from Editor: The organisers have uploaded podcasts from conference sessions here.

This blog post is part of our Public Communication of Science & Technology (PCST2012) conference coverage.


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