July 22, 2013, by Emma Thorne

Conference examines the impact of science on our society

An international conference that brings together researchers examining the complex relationship between science and modern society is taking place at The University of Nottingham today and tomorrow (July 22 and July 23). Brigitte Nerlich, Professor of Science, Language and Society, and former Nottingham academic Professor Paul Martin, now at The University of Sheffield, discuss this year’s event.

Science in Public: critical perspectives on making science public” is the 8th Science in Public (SiP) conference, this year proudly organised and hosted by the Making Science Public programme at The University of Nottingham. The key organising team this year consists of Beverley Gibbs, Warren Pearce, Adam Spencer, Judith Tsouvalis and Eleanor Hadley Kershaw.

 In 2006, Alice Bell and Sarah Davies had the idea to hold an event for postgraduates called ‘Science and the Public’ at Imperial College, London. Since then, the conference has been held by a different UK university each year, growing into a full-scale conference with a wide participation amongst academic and practitioner communities. In 2012, the name was changed to ‘Science in Public’, referencing Gregory and Miller’s 1998 book of the same name and reflecting changes in work on dialogue, engagement and interactive communication.

 This year, we are delighted to welcome over 120 delegates from Japan, Brazil, India, United States, Germany, Italy, Israel, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Ireland and the UK to SiP13, including founding organisers Alice and Sarah who both return as panel convenors.

As this year’s hosts, the Making Science Public team have sought to emphasise critical perspectives on ‘science in public’ in the conference programme. We are optimistic that this aim has been achieved, as the SiP community responded to our call with over 80 submitted abstracts across a broad range of research topics, including science centres, storytelling, expertise, emotion, geoengineering and journalism.

In addition to these presented papers, SiP13 also welcomes Professor Harry Collins, one of the foremost names in science studies, to deliver our keynote address asking whether scientists can ‘show their working’ and discuss his work with a critics roundtable.

With a rich programme of research presented and a global community in attendance, we hope that SiP13 offers fresh opportunities in sharing work, learning from others and offering new perspectives on the three fundamental questions of making, of science, and of public.

Follow the conference on Twitter through the #SIP13 hashtag.

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