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Public awareness of science

Analysis and Comment (29)

Bored with science. Bored with science. Flickr/manwithbeard

Why do some people not care about science?

Surveys on public attitudes to science regularly tell us that there are swathes of the public that simply seem to not care about science, despite our best effort to engage them. But perhaps the issue is…
Young people are harbouring misconceptions about climate change. But what can be done about it? Young people are harbouring misconceptions about climate change. But what can be done about it? Thinking image www.shutterstock.com

What do young people really know about climate change?

The next generation will be the ones to feel the increasing effects of climate change. But how much do they really know about it? After all, it’s one thing to say: yes, I believe in climate change. But…
A renewed interest in citizen science could help engage the wider public in research projects. A renewed interest in citizen science could help engage the wider public in research projects. Mount Rainier NPS

Citizen scientists are nothing new, and their value will only grow

Academic discussions of citizen science are all the rage right now (see here, and here, and here). While most describe the successes of individual projects, none (to my knowledge) have taken the long view…
Many pro-science arguments rest on the belief science is simply a “very good thing”. Many pro-science arguments rest on the belief science is simply a “very good thing”. Raul Lazaro

Science in crisis? Go on then, prove it

Litanies about how poorly science and the science “brand” are doing have become a little too common for my liking. The most recent notable example came courtesy of the EU’s Science, it’s a girl thing campaign…
There’s knowing science, then knowing how to teach it. There’s knowing science, then knowing how to teach it. B Rosen

Teaching the nature of science (and keeping students engaged)

Last week’s Health of Australian Science report, by the Chief Scientist of Australia Ian Chubb, has again highlighted the issue of declining student engagement in science in primary and secondary schools…
Scientists and politicians rely on each other – so how best to develop that relationship? Scientists and politicians rely on each other – so how best to develop that relationship? mayhem

Scientists and policy-makers: it’s time to bridge the gap

“Our lack of ability to position our argument in the public means science has not influenced public debate as it should.” So said Australian National University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young at…
You may be home late if the entire universe is your test tube. You may be home late if the entire universe is your test tube. morgantj

Science can seem like madness, but there’s always method

THE STATE OF SCIENCE: How does science work? And how can we experiment on things that don’t fit in a lab? Dr Will Howard examines the many faces of the scientific method. As adults, our understanding of…
ASKAP sun up antennas. ASKAP sun up antennas. Swinburne Astronomy Productions/CSIRO

The future of Australian science – a Nobel Prize winner’s view

Newly-minted Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt reflects on the state of Australian science. The feted astronomer is optimistic about the future and the contribution science can make to improving lives…
Peter C. Doherty picks up his Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996. Peter C. Doherty picks up his Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996. AFP

Nobel Prize means more for media than for science – a personal account

By the time someone gets to the stage of being considered seriously for a Nobel Prize in the sciences, it’s likely they will be very well known in their own research field; their particular discovery…
Shutting down research during National Science Week is a little jarring. Shutting down research during National Science Week is a little jarring. same indifference/Flickr

Chopping forest research: does NSW Government care about science?

You really have to wonder what kind of message the New South Wales Government is trying to send about its attitude to science. Was the announcement of funding cuts to research during Science Week just…
Spoilt for choice: neither Tony Abbott nor Julia Gillard are inspiring climate leaders. Spoilt for choice: neither Tony Abbott nor Julia Gillard are inspiring climate leaders. AAP

The courage to lead: Gillard, Abbott and the climate change conundrum

Both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have staked their political futures on their climate policies. So perhaps they should also be asking what the hallmarks are of a climate leader? The German political…
Australians want to learn more about science - it’s more interesting than sport. Australians want to learn more about science - it’s more interesting than sport. travelskerricks/Flickr

Science education the key to a better public debate

Late last year, the media reported the surprising results of an ANU poll. Apparently Australians are “more interested in science than sport”! But the really interesting news was a small clarification in…
Polar bears are at the centre of a scientific fracas in the US. Polar bears are at the centre of a scientific fracas in the US. AAP

Polar bear scientist on thin ice in Arctic imbroglio

Something does not add up. About two weeks ago, a scientist working for the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation (BOEMRE), Dr Charles Monnett, was placed on administrative leave…
Our weather systems are changing as the world warms. Our weather systems are changing as the world warms. Satoru Kikuchi/flickr

The Faustian bargain – while we debate the numbers, the planet suffers

Speaking on the ABC, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chief climate science advisor of the German Government, made a point even the least-informed should be able to understand. “Our body temperature…
Demanding climate data won’t provide a new window into global warming. Demanding climate data won’t provide a new window into global warming. nasa hq photo/flickr

Access to climate research data ordered

When it comes to obtaining research data, Canadian academic Steve Easterbrook said it best: “Any fool knows you don’t get data from a scientist by using FOI requests, you do it by stroking their ego a…
How we frame the climate change debate is important. How we frame the climate change debate is important. Modified image: HamishM/muffet/flickr

You’ve been framed: six new ways to understand climate change

Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia, the institution at the centre of “Climategate” and the focus of a recent data Freedom of Information request, responds to Clearing up the Climate Debate. There…
Chubb: “You’ve got to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.” Chubb: “You’ve got to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.” AAP/Alan Porritt

Ian Chubb: ‘This is not the office of the chief climate change scientist’

Welcome to In Conversation, our series of discussions between leading academics and major public figures in Australian life. In this, the second instalment, Rod Lamberts, deputy director of the Australian…
Christopher Monckton deliberately misleads the public on climate change. Christopher Monckton deliberately misleads the public on climate change. AAP

The chief troupier: the follies of Mr Monckton

CLEARING UP THE CLIMATE DEBATE: Associate Professor John Abraham puts Christopher Monckton’s climate claims to the test. This summer, the people of Australia will yet again be treated to a circus tour…
Are carbon campaigns failing miserably on strategy? Are carbon campaigns failing miserably on strategy? jondoig/Flickr

Don’t preach to the converted on carbon tax: it’s the money vote that matters

Braying climate naysayers are annoying; but so are all those well-intentioned carbon tax advocates who fail to address the core problems and make the same mistakes time and time again. If we’re going to…
Be honest: when’s the last time you googled “science”? Be honest: when’s the last time you googled “science”? teotwawki/Flickr

Brand Science is dead, and it’s time to break up the company

Ask us what we mean by “science” and you’ll find us a little circumspect. In fact, we think the word “science” is close to useless. This might seem odd, given we work at the Australian National Centre…
Anyone expecting undying gratitude from scientists should think again. Anyone expecting undying gratitude from scientists should think again. MacGeekGrl/Flickr

Undervalued, underfunded, undermined … how science fared in the budget

The post-budget political rhetoric to me reinforces the underlying, ongoing, disdain that this, and indeed many previous, governments have for science-related matters in Australia. Minister Carr is reported…
Could artists and scientists be enjoying a more fruitful union? Could artists and scientists be enjoying a more fruitful union? Ben Stansall/AFP

Art and science: make love, not war

When art and science come together, the relationship tends to be uneven, and too often art becomes the unintended junior partner. As researchers working at the interface between art and science, we have…
Scientists need to do a better job of communicating with non-scientists. Scientists need to do a better job of communicating with non-scientists. Brewbooks/Flickr

Forget what you’ve read, science can’t prove a thing

Do scientists have a language problem? Do policy makers have hearing issues? It would certainly seem so. Of late there have been frequent lamentations about scientists' failure to make their case to the…
Getting the results science needs might mean no more Dr Nice Guy. Getting the results science needs might mean no more Dr Nice Guy. Ion Chibzii/Wikimedia Commons

Gentlemen’s rules are out, scientists: it’s time to unleash the beast

War has been declared, and those who recognise the fundamental role science plays in everyday life need to decide where they stand. Building on the budgetary and rhetorical slights of recent months, rumours…
Why is science so hard to communicate? Why is science so hard to communicate? Andrew Huff/Flickr

A better formula for science communication

Foundation Essay – Getting certain points across can be difficult. And yet democracies don’t function properly in the absence of broad, public discussion based on well-sourced information. Especially when…

Research and News (1)