Archiv der Kategorie: Allgemein

Interview zum Thema soziale Gerechtigkeit im Internet in der Standard (10. Mai 2017)

Ich würde mir wünschen, dass die Leute das Internet mehr als Werkzeug wahrnehmen und weniger als Lebensraum. Die Generation der Digital Natives bemerkt das Internet nicht mehr – es ist für sie etwas, was immer da ist. Offline zu sein wird in einigen Jahren gar nicht mehr vorstellbar sein oder als ein ganz exotischer Zustand gelten. – derstandard.at/2000057278761-629/Soziologe-Allgaier-Offline-sein-wird-zum-exotischen-Zustand

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#POPSCI2015 Conference Reports and Output

EASST REVIEW Report:

Science in Society: from Elite Media to Mass and Entertainment Culture. Conference Report of #POPSCI2015: Science, Research and Popular Culture

JCOM Comments:

SCIENCE AND SOUTH PARK, REDDIT AND FACEBOOK, LEONARDO DA VINCI AND THE VITRUVIAN MAN, AND MODERN FAIRY TALES ABOUT EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES: SCIENCE COMMUNICATION AND POPULAR CULTURE

 

JCOM Editorial: Emma Weitkamp

A QUESTION OF (AUDIENCE) REACH

 

 

 

Conference Abstracts

Book of Abstracts #POPSCI2015

International Conference on Science, Research and Popular Culture

Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria, September 17-18, 2015

Day 1:

1st Keynote

Rainer Winter, Klagenfurt, Austria

The Different Meanings of Psychotherapy. Popular Representations of the Psychotherapist in Cinema and TV

 Psychotherapists, especially psychoanalysts, appear in many movies. From the 1920ties on our idea of psychoanalytic theory and practice has decisively been shaped by cultural representations transmitted by media. My contribution firstly discusses important historical examples of this intersection of science and media in order to understand the different meanings that were produced by the practices of representation (Stuart Hall). Film Noir, the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen are the center of my analysis. In the second part of my paper I present a close reading of „In Treatment“ (2006-2010), a popular TV series produced by the U.S. American cable network HBO. I analyze the formal complexity of the series as part of the ongoing transformation of traditional television. Then I ask which image of psychotherapy is represented? How is it connected to the history of representations of psychotherapy and to the contemporary cultural context of late capitalism? Finally, I discuss the reasons for the popularity of psychotherapy in media today.

Session 2

Carol Colatrella, Atlanta, USA

Scientific Cooperation and Social Progress in Call the Midwife and The Bletchley Circle

 Ensemble television shows depict females achieving in science and technology as overcoming discrimination and contributing to social progress. This paper compares representations of women’s scientific networks in Call the Midwife and The Bletchley Circle, recent British dramas set in post-World War II in London. Call the Midwife shows how secular and religious nurse midwives cooperate to help mothers and families survive in 1950s East London Docklands. The Bletchley Circle follows four “alumnae” of the wartime project as they collaborate in the 1950s to protect women endangered by criminals. Female characters navigate barriers in science to succeed; their achievements correlate in the narratives with social progress. Representations of women resisting 1950s sex roles and sharing scientific and technical expertise also inspire contemporary audiences.

The Bletchley Circle’s opening shows the Enigma machine, while the prologue offers a glimpse of female decoders working together to identify Nazi troop movements. The narrative quickly moves ahead nine years after WWII to illustrate the post-war lives of these women: a married mother, an abused wife, a sexually harassed waitress, and a dour librarian. Their reunion in the 1950s enables them to combine complementary skills. First, they find a serial killer in North London; in later episodes they free a former Enigma colleague who was unjustly incarcerated. Success depends on collaboration: each intelligence expert has a specific talent that is critical to the joint effort: Susan solves puzzles, Lucy has a photographic memory for details, Jean understands and accesses databases and systems, and Millie knows geography and languages. Equally significant is that these women respect and support one another as they work to solve crimes and to improve the lives of other women.

Jennifer Worth’s memoirs about her work as a midwife are the source texts for four seasons of Call the Midwife. The secular and religious midwives in the show help London’s impoverished East Enders cope with pregnancies and births and assist new mothers by promoting healthy natal practices that are subsidized by the newly developed National Health Service. Each episode of Call the Midwife links the social and personal development of the nurse and nun midwives with that of their patients. Nun and secular midwives work collaboratively to support their patients through pre-eclampsia, premature birth, breach birth, rickets, and other medical difficulties. The midwives keep mothers and babies healthy while also addressing social problems: racism, domestic abuse, prostitution, poverty, and the frustrations of women worn out by reproduction in the years before the Pill was available.

The Bletchley Circle and Call the Midwife represent how collective scientific achievement helps women escape abuse, confront sexism, and save themselves and others. Although the shows are set more than fifty years ago, producers and writers are careful to align history with contemporary scientific and technical information. Filling a gap in television coverage of women engaging in positive ways in science and technology, many female characters in these series are heroic path-breakers extending scientific and technical knowledge and applying it to improve individuals, families, and society.

Alexa Weik von Mossner, Klagenfurt, Austria

The Good, the Bad, and the Terrifying: Depictions of Climate Science in Popular Film

In his 2009 address to the IPCC, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concerns about the risks associated with climate change in somewhat unexpected terms. The scenarios outlined in the 2007 IPCC report, he declared, “are as frightening as a science fiction movie, but they are even more terrifying, because they are real.” Ban’s resorting to popular culture in his attempt to convey the urgency of the situation speaks to the difficulties involved in communicating scientific findings to the general public in a way that truly speaks to it – a problem that has become even more pressing in the aftermath of the most recent IPCC report. Because of its popularity, film is often the medium of choice when it comes to educating people about the findings of climate science in a way that is entertaining enough to captivate their attention. My paper will consider a range of such films – documentary, fiction, and hybrid forms – and a variety of narrative strategies. Filmic depictions of climate science have been celebratory (The Day After Tomorrow, An Inconvenient Truth), apocalyptic (The 11th Hour), ironic (Everything’s Cool), and disparaging (The Global Warming Swindle). The science involved has been foregrounded to the point where the main protagonists and filmmakers are actual scientists (Thin Ice) or it has been framed as motivational background for engaging stories about a photographer’s quest to document the ice loss in the Arctic (Chasing Ice), a drowning culture (There Once Was an Island), or one man’s political struggle to achieve a binding climate change agreement (The Island President). It has even been reduced to little more than brief explanatory cartoons (The Age of Stupid). All of these films try to find an emotionally engaging story within the scientific one, a story that captivates viewers’ attention in a way that maximizes what social psychologists Melanie Green and Timothy Brock have called “narrative impact” (2000). The paper uses the analytical tools of cognitive film theory to investigate which narrative strategies and modes of film have been most successful as forms of climate change communication, considering research on narrative transportation, impact, and persuasion as well as the results of several audience response studies (one of them, on Chasing Ice, conducted by the author and the media studies scholar Brigitte Hipfl at the AAU in 2014). It will also touch upon the question of why comparatively few fiction films have foregrounded climate science. Whereas there are numerous scientist-protagonists in contemporary popular literature about climate change, Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow remains the only major science fiction film to date that is not only centrally about climate change but also puts a scientist at the center of its narrative. Given that the film received attention from climatologists and politicians around the world at the time of its release and has given social science scholars such as Fritz Reusswig and conservations scientists such Andrew Balmford reason to think about the role of the entertainment industry in climate change communication, this remarkable lacuna calls for consideration.

Session 3

Guo-Yan Wang, Manchester, UK

The image of cutting-edge science in public

 Science and art, which like two sides of a corn are often combined together since the development of technology on computer graph. Seeking knowledge and aesthetic are not only the internal demands of human beings, but also the original motive power for scientists to explore the unknown world.

We have entered a era of visual culture. Top journals such as Nature, Science and Cell (CNS) have developed an artistic style for the scientific achievement on their covers which show the creativity and beauty of science, are often submitted by the research team themselves and created by some artists. The impacts of cover-story articles are much higher than the other articles in scientific journals as analyzed from a survey of five-year citations on CNS. After published on the academic journals, the image and the science achievements then become big sci-tech news to the public via mass media.

Because the public concern more about the aesthetic and emotional responses, scientists concern more about reason and logic, science image of art style can help the public a lot for understanding the scientific innovation, which is better than academic image as a news image. The audiences of visual expression of scientific results are mainly three kinds of people: scientific community, cross disciplinary scholars and the scientific public who have a much higher scientific literacy than the average scientific literacy of general public. The frontier science can satisfy the curiosity of the public, can change and affect the future social life, so the frontier results are often worthy of spread as scientific news. Therefore, top scientific journals such as Nature and science are more likely to be called popular science journals rather than mere academic journals.

The author has worked on more than twenty forefront science achievements, created vivid images for cover story of Nature, Science and news image. She has investigated cover images of top journals of all discipline and all academic journals in China National Library, analyse the data differs from discipline, country and institution, then introduce some typical scientific visualization organizations and individuals. The visual expression of cutting-edge scientific achievements will be discussed from perspectives of scientific visualization and science communication.

Dirk Hommrich, Darmstadt, Germany

The Vitruvian Man, Naughty Cartoons and Lonesome Aliens: Exploring the Visual Culture of

Popular Brain Research

In Science and Technology Studies as well as technology or risk assessment, the contemporary brainomania as well as the neurohype has been related to imaging technologies and the visuality of activation patterns within our heads.

The first part of my talkholds that in those studies both the fixation on evidence and, at the same time, the highly flexible semiotic nature of brain scans produce a blind spot of analysis: critical studies of ‘epistemic neuroscience’ suggest that it is the scientific and technological excellence of wholebrain imaging which enables the popularity of the brain as medial “boundary object (Star/Griesemer). Although the visual rhetoric of popular brain research covers not only evidence but also hypotyposis as means of representation. Therefore the first part stresses hypotyposis as an often neglected element of popular science. The second part of my talk delivers a brief description of the German popular science magazine Gehirn & Geist and gives a short ‘lesson’ from its visual plurality. Here, the main point will be that brain scans are sparse in Gehirn & Geist. Nowadays popular science deals with a lot more visualizations than the fixation on epistemic images suggests: the variety of pictorial representations includes epistemic as well as popular images. Such popular representations include e.g. modern art or advertising and they comprise photos which are close to everyday life. The third part deals with interpictorial series within Gehirn & Geist and discusses three examples of popular culture within this arena of popular science. Each of these three cases uses popular meanings and simultaneously produces different denotations and connotations: 1) the famous ideal Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, 2) the funny, ironic and cynic jokes of cartoons, and 3) the sinister cineastic atmosphere of “Alien”. My account comments on these interpictorial examples and addresses interpretive key points of their function in context.  An outline of the visual culture of Gehirn & Geist and theoretical pillars regarding popular brain research sum up my account on popular visual culture in modern science communication.

In other words: I want to argue that the study of the visual culture of popular science is capable of opening up the pictorial horizon of STS on the neurosciences. The visual analysis of Gehirn & Geist can show that popular images have a stake in the science communication of ‘cutting edge’ research domains. When we recognize that epistemic claims of evidence have to compete with ‘non-epistemic’ images we need to explore the ‘dilettante notions’ of the brain, the neurosciences and, last but not least, our self‐fashioning with neuropopular knowledge.

Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen, Aarhus, Denmark

Between innovation and risk: Images of science and technology in artworks by Gerhard Richter and Olafur Eliasson

 Although very different in temperament and expression, contemporary artists Gerhard Richter and Olafur Eliasson both engage artistically with science and technology. For example, Richter’s large-scale photographic mural Strontium (2004) at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is based on images derived from the application of advanced microscope technologies, which enable the visualization of objects at the nanoscale (10-9 m). With its smooth, slightly blurred atomic surface and historical allusions to radioactive fallout of strontium-90 caused by nuclear weapons testing, Strontium is a detached, yet urgent reminder of us living in a risk society. Eliasson’s work engages with science and technology in seemingly different ways, using innovative approaches and quasi-scientific settings to inquiring into nature, human perception, and the construction of knowledge.

This paper identifies an essential tension between two different images of science and technology in selected artworks by Richter and Eliasson, i.e. innovation and risk. To take another example, Eliasson’s The Weather Project (2003) installed in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in London used innovative optical technology and fog machines to produce an ambient representation of the setting sun. The Weather Project not only made the visitors awestruck, but also produced critical reflections about the weather: how it impinges on our culture but also how our actions affect the weather. Similarly, more than just stressing technological risks, Richter’s Strontium, according to the artist, also celebrates the creative ability of science to produce new and disturbing forms of imagery.

Art exerts a powerful, yet subtle influence on its audiences. As we try to understand how different publics make sense of science and technology, we should not forget art, despite its elusive character. Showing that images of risks and innovation coexist in artworks by important, well-known artists such as Richter and Eliasson, this paper aims to open up for a broader conversation about the relationship between art and the public understanding of science and technology.

Session 4

Oliver Marsh, London, UK

People seem to really enjoy the mix of humour and intelligence: Science fandom in online social media

An important class of entertainment media in the 21st century are online social networking tools, which are rapidly becoming the major leisure-time activity for many user groups across the world.  In this paper I draw on my research into online social networking sites based specifically around science enthusiasm.  Examples include the Facebook group I Fucking Love Science (IFLS), which has over 18m ‘likes’ and regularly tops Facebook’s user engagement statistics, or Reddit threads such as r/science or r/AskScience which offers its thousands of users the chance to informally chat with Nature writers and other leading scientists.  Such sites frequently ascribe their popularity to their entertainment potential – in the words of Elise Andrew, founder of IFLS, they provide “a page where [users] can come and laugh but still know that everything they see is accurate”.  The share-and-comment based infrastructure of social media sites allows science-based jokes and memes, pictures, news stories, and conversations to intermingle with other leisure-time uses of social media.  Such features also provoke conversations within and outside these groups over the role of entertainment and enthusiasm in these groups; detractors of IFLS claim that it spreads poorly-informed science under the guise of humour and social solidarity, while conversely many of the largest Reddit science threads are criticised for disallowing jokes and informal banter.  By considering these conversations from a combined perspective of both STS and online fan scholarship, I aim to illustrate particular opportunities and challenges for science conversations in a non-professional, user-generated entertainment setting.

Andrea Geipel, Munich, Germany

„Awesome Science?“: Science and Technology Actors @ YouTube

Digitalization, Web 2.0 and the higher acceptance of science communication in the scientific community itself interconnect science more and more with pop culture. The leading social video platform YouTube is one example for the popularization of science and technology. During the last years the number of videos with scientific content increased dramatically. Just a quick query for “science” reveals that approximately 1 million distinct channels exist today (15.06.2015). Despite this great presence of science and technology on YouTube we still lack empirical studies examining this topic, both social science and science and technology studies (STS). Therefore this early staged dissertation project aims to answer the question how, where and by whom YouTube videos about scientific and technological topics are made. Who are the producers of these videos and why (as well as how) do they choose YouTube as their preferred video platform? Can we distinguish and understand specific patterns of practice (i.e. information, profit, representation) and depending on that, can we try to understand the selection of presentation formats and presented content? What does YouTube offer and how do the characteristics of the platform contribute to the appeal of YouTube for science communication? A mix of several qualitative methods is planned in order to answer these questions and to examine the project topic from various perspectives. Qualitative video analysis combined by the creation of a tool to capture and map the use of specific functions of the YouTube website focus on the video platform itself and on the whole production process according to the producer’s goals. Qualitative interviews and ethnographic methods will add insights into the patterns of practice on the producer’s side on the one hand and the production process on the other. The given talk will present an outline of this early staged project. Therefore it will focus on the question why science and technology communication through YouTube is an important topic for empirical examination in STS. Based on this the key questions of this dissertation project will be presented and explained by using several examples of YouTube videos in detail. Finally the different empirical methods will be introduced and, if already available, some preliminary findings are presented for discussion.

Jesús Muñoz Morcillo, Klemens Czurda, Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Karlsruhe, Germany

Typologies of the Popular Science Web Video

The creation of popular science web videos on the Internet has increased in recent years. The diversity of formats, genres, and producers makes it difficult to formulate a universal definition of science web videos since not every producer considers him- or herself to be a science communicator in an institutional sense, and professionalism and success on video platforms no longer depend exclusively on technical excellence or production costs. Entertainment, content quality, and authenticity have become the keys to community building and success. The democratization of science video production allows a new variety of genres, styles, and forms. The presentation provides an overview of the typologies and characteristics of popular science web videos. To avoid a misleading identification of science web videos with institutionally produced videos, we steer clear of the term science communication video, since many of the actual producers are not even familiar with the academic discussion on science communication, and since the subject matter does not depend on political or educational strategies. A content analysis of 200 videos from 100 online video channels was conducted. Several factors such as narrative strategies, video editing techniques, and design tendencies with regard to cinematography, the number of shots, the kind of montage used, and even the spread use of sound design and special FX point to an increasing professionalism among science communicators independent of institutional or personal commitments: in general, it can be said that supposed amateurs are creating the visual language of science video communication. This study represents an important step in understanding the essence of current popular science web videos and provides an evidence-based definition as a helpful cornerstone for further studies on science communication within this kind of new media.

Session 5

Anna Åberg, Paris, France

”The Dawning of the cyborg has arrived“: Science, fiction and popular culture in the science communication around a biomechanical arms prosthesis

 In 2003 Jesse Sullivan became the first man in the world to get a biomechanical arm prosthetic; a robotic arm connected directly to his nerve system and directed by brain impulses in a similar way as an organic arm. In 2005 Claudia Mitchell became the first woman to get the same type of arm. Jesse, Claudia and their arms were widely mediated, and many called them “the world’s first cyborgs”, due to the complete merge between their organic bodies and a robotic arm. I have followed the way that science fiction narratives (such as the Bionic Man, Star wars and Terminator) were used in different levels of science communication around the biomechanical arm (my sources were public communication from engineers and researchers, from the military, from daily press and from blogs/commentators). Narratives from science fiction are used both to promote, to critique and to interpret this technology and a discrepancy can be seen between the narratives that scientists choose to connect to their research and the narratives used by the public to envision the place of the technology in society. This opens up questions about the complex relationships between scientists, funders, media and the public. Which narratives are used by actors to promote technology? And how can science communication be high-jacked by counter-narratives from popular culture? In my presentation I will discuss the results of my research as well as propose a new research project regarding the use of science fiction to promote interplanetary mining.

Anna Lydia Svalastog, Frederikstad, Norway

Modern fairytales and new technologies: Hollywood heroes in high tech risk societies

Some stories are meant to entertain. They are dramatic, they have a clear plot, and they include specific contexts, forces, creatures, helpers as well as obstacles and/or enemies. It is the relation between the main character or hero and the external agents that set the scene. Just as it is the inner qualities of the main character that makes sure that the story does not stop, but bring us all the way to the expected happy, or at least obviously good and right ending. (Fairy tales and psychoanalysis are well acquainted, back to the classic analysis of the Austrian psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim (1976): The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales).

In this presentation I will focus on, stories narrating new technoscience in popular blockbuster movies, such at Mission Impossible, James Bond and Die Hard. My focus is on action films with high production costs, produced for the big screen, featuring key Hollywood male actors. I’m approaching the films with a handful of questions: Who are the main characters? How is risk presented in the film, by society, the hero and the enemy? What does the fairy-tale structure bring to the narrative, and what does it hide? From a science communication point of view, how is research portrayed, and is the narration of new technology informative?

Gernot Rieder, Copenhagen, Denmark; Thomas Völker, Vienna, Austria

DataFictions: Or how measurements and predictive analytics rule imagined future worlds

Contemporary „ways of knowing“ (Pickstone 2001) have become increasingly dominated by methods of quantification and calculation, driven by a pervasive „trust in numbers“ (Porter 1995) and a reinvigorated pursuit of „mechanical objectivity“ (Daston & Galison 2007). Policy makers, in particular, have been receptive to the promises of Big Data, expecting modern data science to „generate solutions“ and „improve decision-making“ (EC 2014), allowing for „evidence-informed policies“ (EC 2015) in a world riddled by heightened levels of complexity and uncertainty (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1992; Nowotny et al. 2001). Ultimately, algorithmic reasoning is seen as a way to „predict future events more accurately“ (EC 2014) and „ensure that regulation is empirically justified in advance“ (White House 2014).

But the advent of such data-driven „anticipatory regimes“ (Adams et al. 2009) bears important social and political ramifications: On the one hand, the growing prominence and centrality of data is accompanied by certain normative imperatives, redefining not only what counts as legitimate knowledge but also who can participate in its creation and how, if at all, knowledge claims can be challenged. On the other hand, the anticipatory governance of society necessitates increasing „datafication“ (Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier 2013), which may conflict with fundamental rights and freedoms such as the protection of an individual’s privacy (cf. Lyon 2014), potentially introducing new forms of discrimination and bias (cf. Barocas and Selbst 2015). As a result, paying attention to the politics and power of data and the possible social, ethical and political consequences of a proliferation of algorithmic „styles of reasoning“ (Hacking 2002) seems paramount.

Science fiction, regardless of medium or form, has a long-standing tradition of imagining future worlds that are shaped by specific technological developments (cf. Thurs 2007), the capacity to collect, store, process and act upon large amounts of data being a recurrent theme (cf. Atwood 2011). While utopian visions have largely focused on the potentials and merits of heavily datafied societies – think Star Trek – more dystopian accounts have pointed to the potential pitfalls, exploring, for example, the implications of panoptic surveillance and a complete loss of privacy – George Orwell’s 1984 being a classic, Dave Eggers‘ The Circle a more recent example. Anticipatory techniques and predictive analytics play a crucial role in many of these fictional narratives, often addressing topics that connect to current issues of concern, such as predictive policing (Minority Report), personalized healthcare (Gattaca), or the forecasting of future developments, be they social, economic, or technological (Foundation series).

Drawing on a number of illuminating examples from the realm of science fiction, our contribution will concentrate on two interrelated sets of questions: First, it will examine how increasing datafication is imagined to shape future civilizations, thereby paying particular attention to the workings of the „centers of calculation“ (Latour 1987) that produce the data, the social status and epistemic attributed to the data, and the societal consequences associated with the rise of algorithmic reasoning. Second, the paper shall consider whether these depictions might inform and contribute to current debates about Big Data, adding a reflexive dimension to the current climate of hype. We will conclude by considering the potential benefits of a deeper engagement of STS with the study of popular culture.

Literature

Adams, Vincanne; Murphy, Michelle; Clarke, Adele E. (2009) „Anticipation: Technoscience, Life, Affect, Temporality.“ In: Subjectivity, Issue 28, pp. 246-265.

Atwood, Margaret (2011) In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination. New York: Anchor.

Barocas, Solon; Selbst, Andrew D. (2015) „Big Data’s Disparate Impact.“ In: California Law Review, Vol. 104, 2016.

Daston, Lorraine J.; Galison, Peter (2007) Objectivity. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books.

Hacking, Ian (2002) Historical Ontology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

EC (2015) Data for Policy – Challenges, Opportunities and Good Examples. Call for Comments. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/data-policy-challenges-opportunities-and-good-examples-call-comments

EC (2014) Towards a thriving data-driven economy. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/dae/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=6210

Funtowicz, Silvio; Ravetz, Jerome (1992) „Three Types of Risk Assessment and the Emergence of Post-Normal Science.“ In: Krimsky, Sheldon; Golding, Dominic (Eds.) Social Theories of Risk. Westport: Praeger, pp. 251-274.

Latour, Bruno (1987) Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lyon, David (2014) „Surveillance, Snowden, and Big Data: Capacities, Consequences, Critique.“ In: Big Data & Society, July-December 2014, pp. 1-13.

Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor; Cukier, Kenneth (2013) Big Data: A RevolutionThat Will Transform How We Live, Work, And Think. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.

Nowotny, Helga; Scott, Peter; Gibbons, Michael (2001) Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Pickstone, John V. (2001) Ways of Knowing: A New History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Porter, Theodore M. (1995) Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Thurs, Daniel P. (2007) „Tiny Tech, Transcendent Tech Nanotechnology, Science Fiction, and the Limits of Modern Science Talk.“ In: Science Communication, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 65-95.

Veronika Nowak, Vienna, Austria

Can there be reciprocation between Science Fiction novels and IT security research?

Science Fiction by definition takes technological developments and projects them into the future; those Science Fiction authors whose works became classics went beyond the mere fun of imagining future technologies: They created scenarios about how such technological progress might – in combination with political and societal developments – change our society. Some of these novels are now standard repertoire when it comes to illustrate matters like the Snowden revelations (Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four) or reproductive medicine (Huxley, Brave New World). Whilst it is very clear what Science Fiction uses from the area of Research and Development, it begs the question what research – specifically: IT security research – might gain from Science Fiction. Researchers in the field of IT security are key figures in some of the “hot topics” of our time, since they research problems and develop solutions directly related to everybody’s daily digital matters: How can Smartphones be made more secure? What are the weaknesses of cloud storage? How can Internet users be provided with adequate privacy? In our times of digitalization, questions of surveillance, privacy and citizen’s rights in general cannot be discussed only on a socio-political and legal level, but have to consider technical aspects as well. Subsequently the highly specialized people working in this field carry more and more responsibility. Although not every IT security researcher reads Science Fiction, it is a broadly received literary genre in the information security community and beyond. This means that those people who research e.g. digital privacy and security do read novels that use fiction to analyse where current developments might lead our society. What are IT security researchers reading? What can a literary analysis of these novels tell us? Is there resp. can there be reciprocation between Science Fiction and IT security research? In the long run, this project has two goals: (1) to analyse literature read by the information security community, and (2) to explore the idea that Science Fiction literature might contribute to IT security research, e.g. by using narrative strategies. Starting point was an informal “mini-survey” at SBA Research, a research centre for IT security. Based on its results a preliminary reading list was set up which includes classics like the above-mentioned novels, but also works like Philip K. Dicks “Minority Report”. In a first step, these selected novels will be read and analysed in regards to heroes/heroines who, in contrast to traditional adventure novels, are usually the “geeks”, technological plausibility – with the help of the researchers at SBA Research – and if and how issues of surveillance and privacy are addressed as well as how this corresponds to the reality of IT security research.Literary studies tend to be solitary work, an approach that isn’t feasible when exploring the existing and possible connections between literature, society in general and a professional group in particular. The intention of this project is therefore to put it up for discussion as much as possible and to make it as dynamic as the issues it is addressing.

Public Event (Session 6)

2nd Keynote

David A. Kirby, Manchester, UK

Science on the Silver Screen: Scientists’ Impact on Cinema, Cinema’s Influence on Science

We are now in a golden age for science in popular culture. Academy Award winning films such as Gravity and The Theory of Everything, and television ratings titans like The Big Bang Theory have proven that science–based popular cultural products can be both critically acclaimed and financially successful. But, the scientific community has long standing concerns about popular culture’s impact on public attitudes towards science. In fact, there is significant empirical evidence showing that popular cultural products like movies can have a powerful influence on public perceptions of science. Anxiety over Hollywood science has led many scientists to become consultants for movie productions in order to influence how stories about science are told through this medium. In fact, many high profile scientific organizations including the US National Academy of Sciences and the Wellcome Trust in the UK have embraced movies as legitimate vehicles for science communication by developing initiatives to facilitate scientific involvement in the production of films. In this talk I will elaborate on the backstage role scientific experts play in negotiating information transfer between the scientific community and the entertainment community. I will also discuss the constraints filmmakers face when attempting to incorporate science into their film texts. In addition, I will explore the ways that movies made with the help of scientists have influenced science itself including how movies promote research agendas, stimulate technological development, and impact the cultural meanings of science.

3rd Keynote

Bernhard Seidel, Vienna, Austria

From “Frog in Space“ to “Austrian Frog Concert”: Ecology (Science) and Activism

In the 21st century it seems that ecology has been replaced mainly by maintaining activities of material-recycling and cleaning Austria from waste which was, is and will be endlessly produced. Worldwide we discuss a theory of a global climatic procedure that has become the foundation of a business concept that receives billions. This business idea is declared to preserve the environment but itself cause huge damages…However, the scientific discipline of ecology inspects the structure, dynamics and life history of organisms and compares them with the environmental factors. I did numerous scientific conference talks about such own studies but I also transferred the content –for what ecology should be used to achieve – to an audience as “Singer and Songwriter” for the Konrad Lorenz-Referendum in March 1985 in Vienna. In those days I also established the ecologically orientated GRAL (GReen ALternative) which was the first political green party that participated at an Austrian-wide election in May 1985.

Based on results from ecology long term investigations I have collaborated with Masamichi Yamashita, a Japanese Space Life Scientist who was principal investigator of experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). One outcome of our “Frog in Space” collaborations was a presentation at the 4th World Conference of Herpetology (4WCH) in Sri Lanka in 2000, where we furthermore released “Be a Frog”, a CD with four songs presented at the festival gathering, emphasizing the potential of scientific ecology for environmental welfare. Yamashita also provided the CD cover-photo of a Hyla japonicus frog couple in amplexus (in 2002 he received a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in the Team of John B. Fenn).

I have addressed the devastating changes in European river valleys and the remarkable ecological and economic problems and risks for health and hygiene, based on the study of animals of temporary changing habitats, at various occasions. Having launched a few press releases and knowing about governmental inconsequence of existing laws and widespread natural destruction I composed and submitted the song WWW.W.W. (We Want World.Wide.Worth.) to the Austrian internal competition for the European Song Contest (ESC) in 2015. The responsible jury replied with a combination of ignorance and unqualified knowledge about the deeper sense of ecology that convinced me that I cannot just continue with doing science and without doing anything else to make scientific facts heard.

Day 2:

Session 1

 4th Keynote

Darryl Cunningham, UK

Cartoons, Comics Strips and Science Communication

British artist Darryl Cunningham uses cartooning and comic strips to explain complex subjects to the general public. His first book, Psychiatric Tales’ was derived from his experiences working on an acute psychiatric ward and his training to be a psychiatric nurse. This is a book that attempts to bust the stigma surrounding mental illness. It is divided into chapters, each looking at a different mental illness, including: depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, self-harming, and anti-social personality disorder.

His follow up book ’Science Tales’ was a book of cartoon essays on controversial sciences subjects, such as: climate change, electro-convulsive therapy, the belief that NASA moon landings were a hoax, homeopathy, chiropractic, evolution, gas fracking, and the MMR vaccine controversy. It’s a book that attempts to clear away the many myths surrounding these often misunderstood subjects and show instead what the evidence actually is.

He is one of 30 world-renowned artists invited to contribute their own unique piece to The Art of Saving a Life, an online resource launched on 7 January 2015 to encourage vaccination, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his talk, Cunningham will discuss the benefits of combining words and images when explaining complex subjects. He will show examples of how the humble comic strip can be used to effectively promote scientific literacy.

Session 2

Krystle Angelique A. Santiago, Shenly Marie T. Gazo and Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz, Manila, Philippines

“The Mystery of the Missing Lichen” – Promoting Science to Kids through Comics

Fungi are nature’s recyclers. They play a key role in decomposing organic matter in any known habitat, and thus aid in cycling valuable nutrients in nature. They existed in enormous diversity with varied morphologies – from single-celled yeasts to filamentous molds to big macrofungi. Fungi also enter into an association with other organisms – as endophytes living within plants or as lichens in partnership with a photosynthetic partner, an alga or a cyanobacterium. Interestingly, lichen fungi form a distinct body structure very different from its mycobiont (the fungus partner), and hence, are studied separate taxonomically, physiologically and ecologically from typical fungi. The lichen association also have a long list of benefits to man and the environment. For example, lichens are good indicator of air pollution and are used in monitoring air quality. Sadly, lichens are less known, even much less appreciated in the Philippines. In 2014, the Fungal Biodiversity and Systematics (FBS) group at the Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences of the University of Santo Tomas added in its tasks activities that introduce science, more specifically the world of fungi, to younglings. We developed the FBS Booklet Series to present in a fun and interactive manner fungi and its relatives to our young ones, and even to adults. For FBS Booklet Series 1, we focus on lichens. It follows the adventure of TANOD THALLUS in search of the missing lichens. The booklet provides information on what are lichens, where we can find them, and how we can identify the different types of lichens. It has activity pages that encourages readers to explore lichens in their own backyard as well as enumerates economic importance of lichens. The booklet also encourages kids to learn more about lichens. To facilitate distribution of the lichen booklet, the group also conducted seminar-workshops to high school students and teachers. In this presentation, we will highlight the process by which the booklet was developed and promoted to Filipino kids, even adults. Results of the evaluation of the seminar-workshop activity will also be discussed. How science is promoted to kids in the Philippines will also be presented.

Nathalie Javault, Paris, France

Participatory Research, in collaboration with all kinds of publics: How to bring science to the holidays

For more than 20 years, the NGO Objectif Science International organises summer camps about science. From this experience came out a new pedagogical project, based on participatory research. The association will initiate non-scientists to scientific research with the use of scientific protocols in a real lab research context. During 1 to 3 weeks, kids starting from 9, and adults, will learn how to be a researcher, how to follow a protocol, how to create one… In a dual objective to raise people’s awareness and provide information from the field to labs, which quite often, don’t have the possibility to send researchers there. Participatory research is in a way a roleplaying game. For a short time participants are real scientists, and Science is seen as a hobby you can do during your free time. On another hand, holidays which is assumed to be a lazy time, is now turned into something useful: participants are learning AND helping real scientists. As an example of studies we conduct, I will use the Snow Leopard in Kirghizstan. Scientists are missing a lot of information about the Snow Leopard’s behaviour in his natural habitat. Long distances and difficult natural conditions of his natural habitat, scattered populations and his bashful nature are the main reasons. We know less about the Snow Leopard than any other leopard. For over 10 years, OSI sends groups of people, passionate about nature and wilderness, or just looking for some adventure in Kirghizstan, tracking the Snow Leopard to participate to the endangered species conservation programme. For 3 weeks the team goes on horseback along transects of the natural reserves of Kirgizstan. Some of them are vet students, some have no knowledge about wild life. But every year, the team brings back samples to labs for them to keep studying and help protecting the species. During the first expedition, a leopard carcass was found, left by a poacher. The OSI team was the first to bring a sample of DNA of a wild snow leopard to a lab. This sample provided information for the Phylogenetic analysis of this family. Every team sends biological sample (faeces, hair) to the Natural Resources DNA Profiling and Forensic Centre (Ontario), so they can study the evolution of the species, from one year to the next.

Miira Hill, Berlin, Germany

How problems of contemporary science communication concepts become visible in new public genres like the science slam

These days new scientific events are coming up. They are systematically trying to negotiate the challenges of performing as a scientist. Science slam, FameLab, Science Showoff, Science Pub, Bright Club and Lecture Performance manifest themselves as innovative events for presenting and communicating science. The successful German format of science slam is one of several events that have been established since the nineties in western societies. Scientists are asked to present their topic in innovative ways and speak to a commonly rare seen non-academic audience. My project focuses on the communicative construction of science in artistic and popularized genres. As one part of my research deals with the situated performance on stage, which I analyze using video data. The other part is more concerned with the justification (Berger/ Luckmann 1967) of the action, which I will analyze using qualitative interviews. To understand the inner perspective and everyday life of science slam participants I chose participatory observation. Based on these different methods I aim to triangulate features of the communicative genre of science slam.

Science slam can be described as a form to communicate scientific knowledge in an entertaining way to an external public. It was founded 2006 in the German town Darmstadt. Alex Dreppert, who had the idea to create this event, was highly inspired by poetry slam. In Germany there are more than 30 science slams taking place periodically and the event is still expanding. A strict rule of science slam is that the presentation has to be short. As “battle of brains” the genre also has a competitive character. Science slam is an event in which actors are trying to establish new and improved forms to present and legitimate the scientific production of knowledge. The self-presentation of a scientist at a science slam is expected to be different from conventional ways of science communication. Science slam organizers maintain the critical discourse on nonconformist science that goes back to early modern times.

In my talk I will demonstrate how old fashioned ideas about communication become visible in scientific reflections about science communication (STS), politically instructed science communication programs (PUS, PEST) and new genres of science communication (Science Slam). My presentation will show that a lot of considerations about science communication worry about the impureness of science. Mixtures of genres, influence of popular culture, increased display of privacy and authenticity, entertainment and affection are described as signs of cultural decay. Unlike these approaches I will try to hold back my judgments about the truth of knowledge and argue that we need to study scientific presentations in public as social events with a ritual character and the central issue to give access to the self of the speaker (Goffman 1981).

Literature

Berger, Peter; Luckmann, Thomas (1967): The social construction of reality. New York.

Goffman, Erving (1981): Forms of Talk. Pennsylvania.

Session 3

Allison Hahn, New York, USA

Relics of the Past?: Mass Media Framing of Pastoral-Nomadic Communities in Nature Films

 This paper investigates the ways that mass media nature films shape public perception of nature reserves and the human communities that live within and around their boundaries. The first film that this paper analyzes, Serengeti Shall Not Die, argues that the Serengeti should be a space free from human occupation, preserved exclusively for wild animal herds. In this film, pastoral-nomadic communities such as the Maasai are framed as relics of the past – human communities who once lived alongside wildlife in the Serengeti, but should now move elsewhere to create a nature reserve. Scholars have traced the impact of this film to Tanzanian and Kenyan policy making, international tourism, and conservation work by organizations such as the World Wildlife Foundation (Boes, 2013; Dowie, 2009). This paper identifies The Serengeti Shall Not Die as a pivotal moment, when international audiences accepted the argument that lands should be set aside for wildlife and protected from all human occupants. Then, I ask how contemporary mass media nature films frame interactions between human and animal communities living in and around nature reserves.

Since 1959, nature films, television shows, and documentaries have grown in popularity as mediums for both education and entertainment. A plethora of nature films and series PBS’s “Nature,” The BBC’s “Planet Earth,” and MGM’s “The Crocodile Hunter” examine the world’s ecological landscape. Like Serengeti Shall Not Die, many of these films are produced in regions also inhabited by pastoral-nomadic communities. While scholars have investigated the implications of Serengeti Shall Not Die, attention has not yet turned to the effect of these contemporary nature films on conservation discourse.

Focusing on Maasai communities in East Africa and Mongolian communities in the Gobi Desert, I juxtapose mass media nature films with my own field research with pastoral-nomadic communities and environmental researchers in Tanzania, Kenya, China, and Mongolia. My findings demonstrate the multiple ways that pastoral-nomadic communities are aware of and responding to mass media nature films. For example, during my interviews a herder in Southern Kenya indicated that his community now grazes after sunset because tourists who have seen mass media nature films expect the park to be only for wildlife. Altering grazing patterns minimizes tourist complaints that the Maasai were “invading” park lands which they legally have access to, but simultaneously increases the risk of herders encountering lions which are most active at night. My research also demonstrates the effect of mass media nature films on young scientists – such as a researcher who arrived in Mongolia expecting the vast, humanless landscape she saw in nature films from her childhood. In her interview, she reflected on the difficulty reconciling her expectations and the diverse, human filled spaces she encountered upon arrival in the field. From this study, I seek to understand the multiple, often competing, ways that mass media nature films represent and effect human / wildlife interaction in and around nature reserves.

Literature

Boes, Tobias. “Political Animals: Serengeti Shall Not Die and the Cultural Heritage of

Mankind.” German Studies Review 36, no. 1 (2013): 41-59.

Dowie, Mark. Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009.

Grzimek, Bernhard and Michael Grzimek. Serengeti Shall Not Die. Motion Picture, Directed by Michael Grzimek and Bernhard Grzimek. 1959. Frankfurt: Allied Artists Pictures Corp.

Elena Pilipets, Klagenfurt, Austria

Serial Mediations of Science and Technology: „The Big Bang Theory“ of Popular Culture

How can we approach changes in the academic understanding of popular serial storytelling compared to the way the popular culture is being talked about, reflected on and reappropriated in its very own self-transforming dynamics? The CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory – created and produced by the prominent american TV writers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady and co-authored by David Saltzberg, an astrophysicist at UCLA – is more popular then ever, not only for updating us on the sci-fi and comic books obsession of a nerdy gang of physicists and engaging cult figures like Stephen Hawking and Steve Wozniak in their fictional research practice and everyday lives, but also for its capacity to relate to the topics they discuss on the show in unconditional ways:

Exploring the various implementations of its cultural mediation – e.g. in form of the newly established The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment to be awarded to the low-income students entering the STEM fields at UCLA or the book titles like „Rock, Paper, Scissors, Aristotle, Locke: The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy“ (Irwin/Kowalski 2012) – and comparing them to ‘scientific events’ such as the naming of the newly discovered Brazilian bee species Bazinga Euglossa after Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s most favorite catch phrase Bazinga! (Nemesio/Ferrari 2012), this paper engages with the renewal of interest in the capacity of serialized media narratives to reflect on the intertwining dynamics between popular culture, science and technology in three steps:

The first outlines the self-renewing workings of serialization within the processes of scientific research, technological development, and popular productivity exploring its intrinsic performativity as being simultaneously connected to the dynamics of both innovation and reproduction.

The second concerns the experience of mediation, which aims to offer another way of understanding the day-to-day practices aiding the process of discovery of the new – one that takes the non-linearity of the knowledge (re-)production into account and acknowledges its capacity to be transformed in its distribution across multiple contexts of popular culture, informal learning and media use.

The third, finally, analyzes the intersection of scientific practices and technological objects within the revival of geek subcultures, as implemented in The Big Bang Theory’s narrative development, and then turns the association around to explore how serializations of popular culture appeal to research practices beyond the boundaries of individual disciplines (e.g. between natural and social sciences) and categories of cultural distinction (e.g. between high culture and mass entertainment).

Erik Stengler, Bristol, UK

Michael Crichton: From the Techno-thriller to societal issues in Science and Technology

Michael Crichton is primarily known for being an outstanding writer of techno-thrillers and co-creator of the genre. His work encompasses novels, film and TV scripts, films directed, short stories and numerous articles in newspapers and magazines. His breakthrough novel The Andromeda Strain is considered by many a classic in Science Fiction, and he became world famous for Jurassic Park and its film adaptation by StevenSpeilberg. A sequel to this film and a remake of his film Westworld are being released this year 2015. He is also well known for his TV medical drama ER and in the last years before his death in 2008, for his controversially critical position regarding climate change.

In this paper I suggest that his fictional works can and should be considered beyond the techno-thriller label, under the deeper and wider perspective of his concern for societal issues regarding science and technology with a profound consideration of their effects and on the life of people and the development of society.

Such a perspective is inclusive of numerous works by Michael Crichton that would not fit into the techno-thriller genre, and which I will briefly review. It therefore seems a more appropriate way to characterize his work. I will also show how this idea is further supported by the fact that chronologically most of the few works of his that do not fit into this perspective were written during a brief period of time in which Michael Crichton explored other genres, only to return to his humanistic approach to science and technology for the rest of his fiction-writing career.

Session 4

5th keynote

Chun-Ju (Jerome) Huang, Jiayi Shi, Taiwan

When science is blended into pop culture – A revealing picture from Taiwan’s compiled news, mainstream music, and TV programs

Modern science stems from Western culture, and with Western science and technology being the frontrunner, most Asian countries, including Taiwan, do rely on such overseas imported science to shape their own science culture. It appears to be a very different picture from the Western World’s viewpoint, of what science image is being blended into the popular culture.

This speech will take three examples of science communication in Taiwan, with a two-dimensional framework of ‘good/bad science’ and ‘narrative/expository text’, to depict the pattern of science content blended in pop culture.

Complied science news, for example, is the major agent for transporting the cutting-edge scientific development into Taiwan. The ‘Double Media Distortions’ syndrome of compiled science news will be a typical problem that affects the science image rooted in pop culture. The first distortion appears from the “original scientific research” to the “overseas news reports”, and the second is usually from the “overseas news reports” to the “domestic compiled science news”.

The second example is the science image in mainstream music. Using pop music to explore whether science has been regarded as an element in the creation of pop music in Taiwan, whilst examining the meaning and quantity of distribution through the lyrical analysis of pop music, in order to reflect on the conditions of the roots of science in popular culture.

The TV programs in Taiwan will be the third example, with a review of their science content, and there will be three types of TV programs being categorized: general drama series, drama series related to science and the general science TV program. The analysis will show how the different types of video are located in the framework, and will discuss how the situation affects the public’s understanding towards a technological society.

Session 5

Edward Bankes, London, UK

Comedy for Science, Science for Comedy: getting the science wrong in South Park

Increasing attention in being paid within Science and Technology Studies to the relationship between humour and science, in part reflecting an apparent surge in the use of humour in contexts of science communication and engagement. For the most part, work has so far been limited to ostensive ‘science comedy’, exploring the use of humour and comedy by professional scientists and communicators in their interactions with the public, seeking to ascertain how successfully and appropriately comedy serves as a vehicle for ready-formed and apparently stable scientific knowledges. Yet the use of scientific ideas, knowledges and locations within comedy extend far beyond enterprises that are purportedly ‘scientific’, which, while not explicitly seeking to ‘communicate’ science, nevertheless construct knowledges and imaginaries of science for their audience through the process of making comedy. In this paper, I draw on discourse analysis on one of the most pronounced non-scientific comedies in which issues related to science and technology are regularly placed at the centre of episode narratives: South Park. Broadcast since 1997 and still today one of the most popular comedies broadcast on American television, South Park is uniquely placed among primetime comedy output. As an animated show with a production time of just six days, the creators of South Park are able to respond to issues as they emerge, creating a cartoon world that is at once absurdist and unrestricted and tightly bound to contemporary American life. Over the show’s eighteen year run, more than a quarter of the episodes have focused on the role of science and technology in the residents’ everyday lives. Designed to satirise a perceived irrationality and self-interestedness among the American public, characters within the episode narratives continually fail to understand relevant scientific knowledges or willingly disregard them when useful for them to do so. My paper argues that this presentation of scientific literacy in South Park constructs an imaginary of science predicated on a bifurcation between what scientific knowledge is and how it is received. To be funny, the characters need to be wrong, but for it to be recognisable that they are wrong, the integrity of scientific knowledge must be preserved. I suggest that South Park points to a need to pay far greater attention to the workings of comedy, particularly the constraints of comic production that will position science in ways as much mediated by comic form as the epistemic content of its claims. South Park does not so much communicate (or miscommunicate) scientific ideas as it actively reconstructs them for the purpose of writing comedy. Science is therefore not so much a topic to be communicated as it is a tool with which to construct and strengthen a very particular comedic worldview; science serves the communication of comedy just as much as comedy might serve the communication of scientific knowledge. The veracity or accuracy of scientific claims matters far less than the ability of scientific knowledge to be constructed in a way that fits in with how South Park tells jokes.

Emma Weitkamp, Bristol, UK

From emotional engagement to further research: exploring audience responses to two theatre performances

Fictional and dramatic formats, such as theatre and literature, can provide an emotional and subjective context for science that is often missing from non-fiction accounts. In this paper I explore audience responses to theatre performances: Bloodlines and Chaos Cabarat.

Bloodlines explores the subjective experience of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of haematological cancer and particularly engages with the issue of donor matching. The performance combines performance and music to convey the patient experience from diagnosis through to transplantation. Chaos Cabaret also combines performance and music to follow the journey (or possible journeys) of a Brazilian butterfly to a Mid-western tornado. The performance is based on Edward Lorenz’s idea of the Butterfly Effect.

Through surveys and interviews I will explore audience responses to these performances with a view to considering how the subjective and narrative aspects of theatre might influence audience engagement and interest as well as considering more broadly what different audiences say about the potential for theatre to communicate science or engage the audience with concepts and issues. In particular, I will consider how the responses of audiences that might be described as arts interested, science interested and those with personal or professional experience of the topic view science theatre. In particular, I will explore issues around scientific accuracy, subjectivity and emotional engagement for these audiences.

Ildeau de Castro Moreira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Science in the Brazilian Carnival

Every year in Rio de Janeiro, samba schools participate of a great and beautiful carnival parade, a show that is watched on TV and internet by about a billion people around the world. New themes are chosen each year by the samba schools to produce emotions and delight audiences. Carnival parades in Brazil are a kind of popular operas in which audience engagement is also an important element. A popular cultural event as Carnival that is also a symbolic ritual, offers an opportunity to establish a dialogue between science and popular culture. Since the late nineteenth century, S&T themes emerge sporadically in the carnival parades. For instance, in 1910, some carnival groups marched with homage to the passage of Halley’s Comet. As S&T have become more and more a part of everyday life, they have penetrated the universe of popular artists, in particular composers and artistic directors in Carnival. This presentation discusses how themes and views on science have emerged in Brazilian Carnival along the last decades. In 2004, the samba school Unidos da Tijuca chose an unusual plot — scientific creativity (The dream of the creation and the creation of the dream: the art of science in the time of impossible things). The school won second place in the official competition and the first one in the popular jury. In this parade, with about 4,000 people, a pyramid of the DNA was performed by 123 dancers with painted bodies forming an artistic representation of this molecule. A picture of the car has been published in the first pages of local newspapers and abroad. The fact was announced by Science and Nature, in this case written by a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Road Hoffmann, who paraded in school. In developing the flot, the school of samba set up a partnership with House of Science, a science centre of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In 2011 the school of samba União da Ilha used Darwin and natural selection as the flot of the parade. It was considered the best show by the popular jury. It was inspired in the Darwin´s Trails project, created by the House of Science and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, and it had the collaboration of the local Botanical Garden. In the state of Pernambuco, the rhythm that predominates is the frevo, and there is the tradition, specially in Olinda, of parades in the streets with giant puppets representing national or local personalities. A particularly interesting initiative was the creation, in 2008, by scientists of a carnival group (Science in the head, frevo in the feet) parading with large puppets depicting local scientists and also from other countries. We will discuss in our presentation how the science is connected with this important event of popular culture in Brazil and how it can be used as a science communication tool.

Session 6

Chihwei Yeh, Edinburgh, UK

Embodied and Emotional: Constructing the Higgs boson in Science Communication

Scientific imagery is a powerful tool representing and intervening scientific knowledge. However, the body of work in Science and Technology Studies (STS) investigates more into the production of scientific image and its involvement in forming knowledge than into the dissemination of scientific image in public relations (Burri and Dumit, 2007: 309). This neglect has no justification at all. As science communication/public engagement of science has played a significant role in shaping the public understanding of science, scientific images also ‘travel’ constantly between spaces- across the scientific community and public sphere- translating scientific knowledge for different audiences. This study focuses on the deployment of the visual representations related to the Higgs boson in museum exhibitions and public outreach programmes after the discovery of the Higgs boson. Two exhibitions are selected in order to study this topic: The ‘Collider’ exhibition (2013-14) in the Science Museum, London, and the ‘Hunting the Higgs boson’ exhibition (2013-14) in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Collecting visual data, and conducting participant observation and qualitative interviews are the methodology to approach the empirical phenomenon. Discourse analysis is applied to construct the purpose and intention behind creating, selecting and presenting the Higgs boson imagery for the communication/engagement of particle physics in the public. The findings from this study reveal the deliberate entanglement between the production and dissemination of scientific images: the intention to communicate particle physics emotionally and entertainingly has influenced how the images of the Higgs boson are produced and selected. Namely, in this study, scientific fidelity is not the upmost consideration for introducing particle physics to the lay public, as the science communication practitioners in this study assume that people often ‘run away screaming’ from physics. I then argue that images of the Higgs boson in museum exhibitions/public outreach programmes are ‘boundary objects’ (Star and Griesemer, 1989) interacting with scientists, artists, designers, curators, managers and the lay audiences to facilitate the communication. Moreover, the interpretive flexibility of the boundary object/image in this study is achieved through three techniques: 1. Concealing scientific information, 2. encoding human stories, and 3. attaching aesthetic quality. As a result, this study sheds light on a unique, dichotomous practice of deploying scientific imagery in public settings: engaging with embodied and emotional feelings rather than conveying sophisticated information to enhance the ‘understanding’ of particle physics among the lay public.

Literature

BURRI, R. V. & DUMIT, J. 2007. Social Studies of Scientific Imaging and Visualization. In: HACKETT, E. J., AMSTERDAMSKA, O., LYNCH, M. & WAJCMAN, J. (eds.) The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. 3rd ed. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London: The MIT Press.

STAR, S. L. & GRIESEMER, J. R. 1989. Institutional Ecology, ‚Translations‘ and boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science, 19, 387-420.

Mircea Sava, Bucharest, Romania

(De)constructing the Transmedial Web of Popular Physics

Popular science refers nowadays to a whole range of media products that exceed the classical printed popularization book. The book remains a central element used by scientists in their popularization endeavours, which succeeds in offering the adequate means for achieving the informative scope of traditional popularization and which is the closest to the production routines of scientists turned popularizers. However, in an era marked by generalized communication, the book cannot gain, by its own, the presence and the reach that the promoters of the new Public Understanding of Science movement envisage. As a consequence, scientists need to form alliances with professional science communicators and even to borrow popular strategies in the construction of science books intended for large audiences. Furthermore, the scientists facilitate the transfer of their initial books to media with a more evident popular vocation, so that they can be inserted into a popular circuit of production and consumption. In order to reach the general public, professional science communicators initiate a process of colonization of products and media which are specific to popular culture, bringing science in areas that were traditionally uncommon. The insertion of science into popular culture is thus obtained, and the mechanism through which this insertion is possible is transmediality.

This paper aims to show how transmediality, a defining trait of popular culture, is put to work in the case of the construction of popular accounts of fundamental physics. Two starting points are considered for this analysis: the popular physics books A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking, and The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene. These books do not stand as isolate products. They become catalysts for other similar popular products (as the book series that they immediately engendered), but also for products in other formats on other media, administered by professional science communicators – as science documentaries, science festivals, or even science theatre, science music, science cartoons etc. These occurrences support each other in such a way that the popular physics inspired by the initial books forms a transmedial web which spreads throughout mass-media and even beyond. This transmedial web is woven through media which are uncommon for the dominant view of popularization, but rather intended for a thorough construction of science communication on the grounds of popular culture. This contagious circulation of multilateral references of the two books and their authors is a solid proof that these products have gained a sound position in popular culture and that Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene have obtained a statute similar of that of pop stars. Although the value of the scientific information it disseminates is disputable, the transmedial web of popular science has a fundamental role in reaching the lay audiences and in promoting among the public a positive attitude towards science and its importance in society.

Martina Gröschl, Klagenfurt, Austria

Popular Mathematics Books as Bestsellers

In the last decades popular science books on mathematical topics have turned from educational tools with entertaining elements to bestsellers. In these bestsellers mathematics has become a mysterious world full of fantastic adventures and mathematicians as supernatural heroes for whom no problem is too difficult to solve.

The rather romantic ideas of mathematics as an adventure and mathematicians as heroes should not hide the different interests of publishers and authors. These interests might be overlapping, but, more strikingly, might be in conflict which each other. On the one hand, there is the interest of the publishers with their ingenious marketing strategies. Their aim, put blatantly, is to sell more books. On the other hand, authors of popular science books aim at the reader’s education or – since the 1990ies – to improve the image of mathematics in order to attract young people to become mathematicians. Even if they just want to entertain their readers, it goes without saying that the aims of the authors and the publishers differ.

In my talk I will discuss the strategies of the authors and the publishers to achieve their goals. The strategies I intend to focus on include the use of literary devices by authors, the different types of the representation of the author (either by the publisher or by the author herself), and the marketing measurements of the publishing houses in order to promote the books.

In the second part of my talk I will take a look at the image of mathematics and mathematicians, which is, so to speak, created by popular science books on mathematical topics. I argue that the image of mathematics and mathematicians forms a constant theme in these books. In the light of this, I elaborate on the conflict between the self-perception of mathematicians and the perspective of non-mathematicians on mathematics induced by the books.

I will discuss the following books:

Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (1979)

Simon Singh: Fermat’s Last Theorem (1997)

Alex Bellos: Alex’s Adventures in Numberland (2010)

PDF Document: popsci 2015 Book of Abstracts

The conference is supported by

Alpen-Adria-Universität

Universitäts.club / Wissenschaftsverein Kärnten

European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)

Conference Programme

Conference Programme #POPSCI2015

International Conference on Science, Research and Popular Culture

 Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt (Room: “Stiftungssaal“), Austria, September 17-18, 2015

Day 1:

Registration and coffee: 8.30-9.00

Session 1: 9.00-10.00 Welcome and Introduction

1st Keynote:

Rainer Winter, Klagenfurt, Austria

The Different Meanings of Psychotherapy. Popular Representations of the Psychotherapist in Cinema and TV

Session 2: 10.00-11.00 (60 Minutes: 30 minutes per presentation)

Carol Colatrella, Atlanta, USA

Scientific Cooperation and Social Progress in Call the Midwife and The Bletchley Circle

 Alexa Weik von Mossner, Klagenfurt, Austria

The Good, the Bad, and the Terrifying: Depictions of Climate Science in Popular Film

Coffee Break: 11.00-11.30

Session 3: 11.30-13.00 (90 Minutes: 30 minutes per presentation)

Guo-Yan Wang, Manchester, UK

The image of cutting-edge science in public

 Dirk Hommrich, Darmstadt, Germany

The Vitruvian Man, Naughty Cartoons and Lonesome Aliens: Exploring the Visual Culture of

Popular Brain Research

Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen, Aarhus, Denmark

Between innovation and risk: Images of science and technology in artworks by Gerhard Richter and Olafur Eliasson

Lunch 13.00 – 14.00

Session 4: 14:00-15.30 (90 minutes: 30 minutes per presentation)

Oliver Marsh, London, UK

People seem to really enjoy the mix of humour and intelligence: Science fandom in online social media

Andrea Geipel, Munich, Germany

„Awesome Science?“: Science and Technology Actors @ YouTube

Jesús Muñoz Morcillo, Klemens Czurda, Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, Karlsruhe, Germany

Typologies of the Popular Science Web Video

Coffee Break: 15.30-16.00

Session 5: 16.00-17.30 (90 minutes: 22,5 minutes per presentation)

Anna Åberg, Paris, France

”The Dawning of the cyborg has arrived“: Science, fiction and popular culture in the science communication around a biomechanical arms prosthesis

Anna Lydia Svalastog, Frederikstad, Norway

Modern fairytales and new technologies: Hollywood heroes in high tech risk societies

Gernot Rieder, Copenhagen, Denmark; Thomas Völker, Vienna, Austria

DataFictions: Or how measurements and predictive analytics rule imagined future worlds

Veronika Nowak, Vienna, Austria

Can there be reciprocation between Science Fiction novels and IT security research?

Public Event (Session 6): 17.30-19.00

2nd Keynote:

David A. Kirby, Manchester, UK

Science on the Silver Screen: Scientists’ Impact on Cinema, Cinema’s Influence on Science

3rd Keynote:

Bernhard Seidel, Vienna, Austria

From “Frog in Space“ to “Austrian Frog Concert”: Ecology (Science) and Activism

19 h onwards: Reception and Buffet

Day 2:

Registration and coffee: 8.30 – 9.00

Session 1: 9.00- 9.45

4th Keynote:

Darryl Cunningham, UK

Cartoons, Comics Strips and Science Communication

Session 2: 9.45-11.15 (90 minutes: 30 minutes per presentation)

Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz, Manila, Philippines

“The Mystery of the Missing Lichen” – Promoting Science to Kids through Comics

Nathalie Javault, Paris, France

Participatory Research, in collaboration with all kinds of publics: How to bring science to the holidays

Miira Hill, Berlin, Germany

How problems of contemporary science communication concepts become visible in new public genres like the science slam

Coffee Break: 11.15-11.45

Session 3: 11.45-13.00 (75 minutes: 25 minutes per presentation)

Allison Hahn, New York, USA

Relics of the Past?: Mass Media Framing of Pastoral-Nomadic Communities in Nature Films

 Elena Pilipets, Klagenfurt, Austria

Serial Mediations of Science and Technology: „The Big Bang Theory“ of Popular Culture

Erik Stengler, Bristol, UK

Michael Crichton: From the Techno-thriller to societal issues in Science and Technology

Lunch: 13:00 – 14.00

Session 4: 14:00 – 14.45

5th keynote:

Chun-Ju (Jerome) Huang, Jiayi Shi, Taiwan

When science is blended into pop culture – A revealing picture from Taiwan’s compiled news, mainstream music, and TV programs

Session 5: 14.45-16.00 (75 minutes: 25 minutes per presentation)

Edward Bankes, London, UK

Comedy for Science, Science for Comedy: getting the science wrong in South Park

Emma Weitkamp, Bristol, UK

From emotional engagement to further research: exploring audience responses to two theatre performances

Ildeau de Castro Moreira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Science in the Brazilian Carnival

 Coffee Break: 16.00-16.30

Session 6: 16.30-17.45 (75 minutes: 25 minutes per presentation)

Chihwei Yeh, Edinburgh, UK

Embodied and Emotional: Constructing the Higgs boson in Science Communication

Mircea Sava, Bucharest, Romania

(De)constructing the Transmedial Web of Popular Physics

Martina Gröschl, Klagenfurt, Austria

Popular Mathematics Books as Bestsellers

Wrap-up and closing remarks: 17.45-18.00

Let’s play “Expedition Mundus”! 18.00-19.00 – Everybody welcome!

In an informal session and atmosphere Global Young Academy (GYA) Member Thomas Edison Dela Cruz plays the inquiry-based science education game Expedition Mundus with us. The game Expedition Mundus was created by the Dutch Young Academy, and offers a tangible example of the type of project promoted by the GYA towards globalizing best practices.

In this game, high school students take on the role of researchers exploring an unknown planet called Mundus. They try to find out as much as possible about the planet itself, its nature, culture and inhabitants. The students answer questions based on available material on Mundus including observations, notes of other researchers and ancient sources of the Mundians. In short, the children think like scientists, formulate hypotheses, test them and then report the results.

PDF DOCUMENT: popsci 2015 conference programme

The conference is supported by

Alpen-Adria-Universität

Universitäts.club / Wissenschaftsverein Kärnten

European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)