Communication without frontiers–the theme of this meet–be it science or any other area of human endeavor, is an appealing and engaging idea. While science fiction (SF) is mainly about going beyond frontiers, is about the spaces unexplored, science communication is about communicating concepts from science as we know it today. Science communication has to be about hard facts, proven concepts and theories. In the Indian context, science communication is mainly about making science and a scientific culture penetrate the socio-culturally diverse society with a view to transform it into a nation of scientifically aware people.

We need to understand that good SF is exploratory, futuristic and extrapolative in nature; it is a rich medium that discusses technological innovations, possibilities and perils; it holds all the potential for engaging and inspiring young minds; its ‘thought experiments’ trigger a young mind to think beyond the immediate; and above all, its interdisciplinary nature lends it the potential to be used as a tool in teaching different subjects. All these mean that science fiction is not mainly about science communication.

While SF provides the largest and the most flexible space for debates on alternate histories and futures, does it really give us a space to talk about scientific innovations as they exist today? Are we getting into the danger of mixing up science with something fictional and imaginative? What possibilities, opportunities, challenges exist when we take science communication and science fiction in the same breath? The proposed paper addresses these questions. It attempts to come up with a few guidelines to follow while using SF as a tool for science communication.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science communication through science fiction
Opportunities, challenges and perils

Geetha B.   Languages Group, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences

Communication without frontiers–the theme of this meet–be it science or any other area of human endeavor, is an appealing and engaging idea. While science fiction (SF) is mainly about going beyond frontiers, is about the spaces unexplored, science communication is about communicating concepts from science as we know it today. Science communication has to be about hard facts, proven concepts and theories. In the Indian context, science communication is mainly about making science and a scientific culture penetrate the socio-culturally diverse society with a view to transform it into a nation of scientifically aware people.

We need to understand that good SF is exploratory, futuristic and extrapolative in nature; it is a rich medium that discusses technological innovations, possibilities and perils; it holds all the potential for engaging and inspiring young minds; its ‘thought experiments’ trigger a young mind to think beyond the immediate; and above all, its interdisciplinary nature lends it the potential to be used as a tool in teaching different subjects. All these mean that science fiction is not mainly about science communication.

While SF provides the largest and the most flexible space for debates on alternate histories and futures, does it really give us a space to talk about scientific innovations as they exist today? Are we getting into the danger of mixing up science with something fictional and imaginative? What possibilities, opportunities, challenges exist when we take science communication and science fiction in the same breath? The proposed paper addresses these questions. It attempts to come up with a few guidelines to follow while using SF as a tool for science communication.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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