Responding to the UK, House of Lords Science and Society report,  March, 2000,  the 14th March Financial Times wrote:

"Dialogue with the public should not be an optional "add-on" but an integral part of  research.....the House of Lords say public hostility may sometimes be due, not to lack  of understanding, but to public values and attitudes being ignored.  Indeed the Lords  detect patronizing overtones in the phrase 'public understanding of science.' "

Or as French physicist Jean Marc Levy-Leblond's said in a paper on misunderstandings of  understanding: "Just as scientists are not universal experts,  non-scientists are not  universal non-experts. "

Communication needs to be addressed on a number of different levels by a number of  different programs.   There are some interesting ways in which science museums and  centers are increasingly being used as forums in which the public and scientists can  learn form each other in various exchanges of perspectives and points of view.   

One method of this exchange that this presentation will focus on is the use of the exhibit  itself as a research/data gathering tool on the museum floor.  This can allow the public  to participate in a real research experiment and learn about first hand a current question  in science research and how it is trying to be answered.    Another recent exhibit method  furthers this connection between researcher and the public is through providing visitors  with continuous feedback to their own and other's responses as part of the study.   The research study is then not just for the museum staff or science researchers,  but also for the museum visitor, creating a unique communication forum  a three way  conversation between the visitor, museum and researcher.

I will present and critique a number of different ways in which this method has been  and currently is being used in science centers and museums. 


 



 

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Public understanding of science and science understanding of the public

Sally Duensing   University of Bristol

Responding to the UK, House of Lords Science and Society report,  March, 2000,  the 14th March Financial Times wrote:

"Dialogue with the public should not be an optional "add-on" but an integral part of  research.....the House of Lords say public hostility may sometimes be due, not to lack  of understanding, but to public values and attitudes being ignored.  Indeed the Lords  detect patronizing overtones in the phrase 'public understanding of science.' "

Or as French physicist Jean Marc Levy-Leblond's said in a paper on misunderstandings of  understanding: "Just as scientists are not universal experts,  non-scientists are not  universal non-experts. "

Communication needs to be addressed on a number of different levels by a number of  different programs.   There are some interesting ways in which science museums and  centers are increasingly being used as forums in which the public and scientists can  learn form each other in various exchanges of perspectives and points of view.   

One method of this exchange that this presentation will focus on is the use of the exhibit  itself as a research/data gathering tool on the museum floor.  This can allow the public  to participate in a real research experiment and learn about first hand a current question  in science research and how it is trying to be answered.    Another recent exhibit method  furthers this connection between researcher and the public is through providing visitors  with continuous feedback to their own and other's responses as part of the study.   The research study is then not just for the museum staff or science researchers,  but also for the museum visitor, creating a unique communication forum  a three way  conversation between the visitor, museum and researcher.

I will present and critique a number of different ways in which this method has been  and currently is being used in science centers and museums. 


 



 

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