What is a climate change communicator to do?

In a recent article, social scientists claim that a rhetoric of deadlines to urge action on climate change is ‘dangerous’. While I agree that it might be dangerous to get into a situation where you extend deadlines forever if you cannot achieve them, setting no deadlines at all may make it difficult to talk about …

Threads, worms and science communication

I thought I had written my last post about epigenetics. But then came along some ‘worms’ and I had to write another one. I have written about worms once before on the Making Science Public blog, in the context of science communication. And this blog post too will reflect on worms in the context of …

Talking organelles: A riot of metaphors

A few days ago, somebody tweeted an article on organelles and somebody else tweeted an article on how worms regenerate their bodies. I was just in a slump of Brexit malaise when I saw this and thought, “oh, there is life outside Brexit at least in worms and cells”. So, I started to read an …

Public Understanding of Science – the 1960s

At the end of last year I wrote a blog post about a book in which Sheila Jasanoff asks ‘Can science makes sense of life’. She answers this question in a rather bleak and negative way. However, questions about the nature of science and the nature of life have stayed with me ever since, which …

Gene drive communication: Obstacles and opportunities

The other day I was talking to two people about various developments in science. Both are interested in science, but they are not natural scientists. I mentioned ‘gene drives’. Their faces went blank. I then said: “it’s something like the gene editing of a whole population of creatures, such as insects, for example. This can …

Science communication: Does social science help or hinder?

On 20th December Alice Bell tweeted a science communication story that made me laugh out loud! And then it made me think. Here is the story “Drunk suit fell over getting on the tube, exclaimed ‘Gravity! That’s physics! That’s the cleverest thing!’ and then started asking people in the carriage if they love physics and …

Triangulating the history of science communication: Faraday, Marcet and Smart

This post first appeared on the History and Philosophy of Language Sciences blog. I am reposting it on the Making Science Public blog with permission, where it can rub shoulders with other posts relating to science communication. ••• The 19th century was a time of monumental change in science, industry and also communication. In this …

How has Science Communication Research Developed? Results from a Citation Analysis

This is a guest post by Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zürich) & Adrian Rauchfleisch (National Taiwan University). The article summarised in this post first appeared in the Journal of Science Communication. This post contributes to the ‘science communication‘ strand of this blog. It can be read together with an older (2012) post which reports on how Rick Borchelt …

Science communication: What was it, what is it, and what should it be?

Science communication still puzzles people it seems, and that includes me. To get to the bottom of that puzzlement I looked at a blog post entitled “What’s this science communication and public engagement stuff all about?” This post provides a really useful overview of science communication and public engagement and people who want or have …