From Literacy to Dialogue: How to Best Communicate (Controversial) Science

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 304 (Hynes Convention Center)
Many recent scientific breakthroughs have triggered vehement public debates about their societal impacts and the ethical, political, and regulatory concerns surrounding them. As a result, three National Research Council consensus study committees in 2016 directly tackled the issue of building a better dialogue between the scientific community and various public stakeholders. This session brings together the co-chairs from each of these committees, as well as academic experts whose expertise bridge the bench sciences, social sciences, and the field of public engagement in science. The presentations and group discussion will extract lessons across all three reports on how to provide timely advice on science communication in rapidly emerging fields, such as gene editing, and tailor that advice to science communication practitioners in the bench sciences and in formal and informal science education fields. Themes discussed include the following: How does understanding of science and scientific research in the U.S. affect behaviors and attitudes? What recommendations can we provide to scientists and organizations working with scientists with respect to creating effective communication in settings outside of formal schools? What do we know about the social-scientific foundations for how to best communicate with various publics around controversial topics, and what kinds of future research would be particularly helpful in guiding the efforts of science communicators?
Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Keegan Sawyer, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Bruce Lewenstein, Cornell University
Dominique Brossard, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Catherine Snow, Harvard University
Science Literacy: What Matters for Citizens and Society
David Ucko, Museums+more LLC
Effective Communication in Informal Settings