Background: Scientific progress is communicated via publications in highly specialized journals written in technical terms that are not accessible to the general population. Public information about scientific accomplishments in mass media is often an oversimplified and exaggerated oneway communication. Objective: To communicate complicated and controversial scientific problems like stem cell research in a way that is both understandable for the public but still scientifically correct.

Methods: Science Theatre represents an expression form that combines performing arts with scientific knowledge. The play is written by a professional theater director in collaboration with experts in stem cell research. In a dramatic form actors, dancers and musicians presents the present and future implications of stem cell technology at the societal, ethical and the personal level. In a dialogue with the scientist factual information about cell biology and the present state of stem cell research, realistic expectations and potential problems are presented in a simplified but correct terms without imposing biased opinions. After the play the audience is invited to a dialogue with the scientists about ethical and biological problems.

Results: The actual Science Theater play "Stem Cells: Human Spare Parts?" has until now been seen been presented for university students, high schools students and a general audience. More than 1700 persons have attended the play. The feed‐back has been very positive.

Conclusion: The experience from the present performance about stem cells indicates that the Science Theatre form is well suited for communicating complex scientific problems for the general population that may improve the knowledge about specific scientific topics and create a better background for evaluating the implications of research for the society.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science Theatre
Experience from communication of stem cell research to the public

Dorthe Bille   Videnskabsteatret (Science Theatre)

Jens Nielsen   University of Copenhagen

Background: Scientific progress is communicated via publications in highly specialized journals written in technical terms that are not accessible to the general population. Public information about scientific accomplishments in mass media is often an oversimplified and exaggerated oneway communication. Objective: To communicate complicated and controversial scientific problems like stem cell research in a way that is both understandable for the public but still scientifically correct.

Methods: Science Theatre represents an expression form that combines performing arts with scientific knowledge. The play is written by a professional theater director in collaboration with experts in stem cell research. In a dramatic form actors, dancers and musicians presents the present and future implications of stem cell technology at the societal, ethical and the personal level. In a dialogue with the scientist factual information about cell biology and the present state of stem cell research, realistic expectations and potential problems are presented in a simplified but correct terms without imposing biased opinions. After the play the audience is invited to a dialogue with the scientists about ethical and biological problems.

Results: The actual Science Theater play "Stem Cells: Human Spare Parts?" has until now been seen been presented for university students, high schools students and a general audience. More than 1700 persons have attended the play. The feed‐back has been very positive.

Conclusion: The experience from the present performance about stem cells indicates that the Science Theatre form is well suited for communicating complex scientific problems for the general population that may improve the knowledge about specific scientific topics and create a better background for evaluating the implications of research for the society.

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

BACK TO TOP