This paper suggests a new model for understanding how the meanings of scientific knowledge are challenged and negotiated. It suggests that we treat ideas not as things but as spaces to be shared and explored. Like urban space "conceptual space" is the result of design, history and use. Spaces/ideas are not always used as intended. Popular science aims to open up this conceptual environment but to open up spaces means to lose control over them. The challenge for scientists is not just whether they are able to do this but whether they are willing.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Conceptual space
A new understanding of popular science

Peter Broks   University of the West of England

This paper suggests a new model for understanding how the meanings of scientific knowledge are challenged and negotiated. It suggests that we treat ideas not as things but as spaces to be shared and explored. Like urban space "conceptual space" is the result of design, history and use. Spaces/ideas are not always used as intended. Popular science aims to open up this conceptual environment but to open up spaces means to lose control over them. The challenge for scientists is not just whether they are able to do this but whether they are willing.

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