Author of popular bestsellers, some of them also successful movies, Michael Crichton with his last book State of  Fear contrib utes to heat the debate over Global Warming, a long standing debate recently exasperated by the USA’s  refusal of ratifying Kyoto protocol. Crichton’s last  techno -thriller is an interesting literary experiment, because the  author inserted in the text graphs coming from excellent research centres. The book contains footnotes where quotes  from scientific articles are used to validate the story. The bibliography is a long list of references to scientists’ works.  An analysis of how science has been used in this context will lead to more general considerations. The  scientific community is claiming at large that Global Climate Change will lead to more frequent extreme events. Can the  fiction help citizens to get aware of the role played by science in this context, getting them also involved in the  problem solving? Rather than considering the fiction as conceived merely for entertaining, we suggest to consider it as  an intriguing tool to promote a debate between people and the scientific community. In the past when human beings  were facing a violent planet, without the help of science, myths and tales have saved lives. In the same way, we  should welcome stories as a way to involve people in scientific issues of vital importance for the contemporary  world.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Global warming between science and fiction

Tiziana Lanza   Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy

Author of popular bestsellers, some of them also successful movies, Michael Crichton with his last book State of  Fear contrib utes to heat the debate over Global Warming, a long standing debate recently exasperated by the USA’s  refusal of ratifying Kyoto protocol. Crichton’s last  techno -thriller is an interesting literary experiment, because the  author inserted in the text graphs coming from excellent research centres. The book contains footnotes where quotes  from scientific articles are used to validate the story. The bibliography is a long list of references to scientists’ works.  An analysis of how science has been used in this context will lead to more general considerations. The  scientific community is claiming at large that Global Climate Change will lead to more frequent extreme events. Can the  fiction help citizens to get aware of the role played by science in this context, getting them also involved in the  problem solving? Rather than considering the fiction as conceived merely for entertaining, we suggest to consider it as  an intriguing tool to promote a debate between people and the scientific community. In the past when human beings  were facing a violent planet, without the help of science, myths and tales have saved lives. In the same way, we  should welcome stories as a way to involve people in scientific issues of vital importance for the contemporary  world.

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