THE PANTANETO FORUM


Issue 26: April 2007

Editorial

Motivating Science, a collection of articles from the first five years of The Pantaneto Forum is now available from bookshops.  We are offering a discount for direct orders, see our order page.

 

We will soon be publishing Science on Television by Bienvenido León.  The book is a clear and systematic guide to the narrative and rhetorical techniques used by science documentary filmmakers. The book is due out at the end of June 2007 and will be priced at £18.50, with a 20% discount for advance orders.

 

According to Wolfgang Goede it is vital for science journalists to keep their distance from "ideologies, ambitions, big money and religious beliefs".  In an analysis of the history of the German Technical Literary Society (TELI), the oldest organisation of scientific writers in the world, Goede details the sad spectacle of scientists being "highly vulnerable to intellectual and moral corruption".  In Germany, more than in most countries, they are confronting their past, but there are much wider lessons to be learnt for science journalism from the events described by Goede.  In particular, the robust scepticism towards politicians by political journalists, is much less evident in the case of science journalists scepticism towards scientists - this is a worrying trend. 

"Democratic times demand democratic measures".  In calling for greater debate and engagement from scientists with the public, Steve McIlwaine aims to replace the Lockean model of science communication, where the mind of the public is seen as a "tabula rasa" on which scientists via journalists transmit a one-way imprint of scientific facts, with a model based on a sceptical and questioning two-way process.  In the end it may be the economics of science which will act as an impetus as, according to McIlwaine: "Faced with shrinking budgets, scientists may have to come to the public debating table if their access to public funds is not to become more difficult".

In her article: What do scientists do?..." Ana Delicado asks how the process of science, as opposed to the results of science, is represented in science museums.  In an in depth analysis, primarily of museums in Portugal, Delicado explains how far science process and practice are represented, particularly in the so called "hard" sciences, and gives pointers on how the situation can be improved to better represent scientific practice.

Nigel Sanitt
Editor

ISSN 1741-1572

Contents

Articles

The Twenties – Exciting Times in Germany, Wolfgang C. Goede

Journalists and Journalism Education Must Grasp the Democratic Science Opportunity, Steve McIlwaine

“What do scientists do?” in museums: representations of scientific practice in museum exhibitions and activities, Ana Delicado

Book Review

The Comprehensible Cosmos:  Where Do the Laws of Physics Come from?, Victor Stenger

 

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