Public Release: 

Science communication to take the stage at annual AAAS meeting in San Francisco

ScientificBlogging.com

Folsom, CA - August 11, 2009 - On Monday, August 17th at 1:30PM in Hensill Hall 113, attendees of the 90th Annual Pacific Division Meeting of the AAAS in San Francisco will get to learn about the latest efforts in science communication from some of the brightest minds in the field.

The symposium is called "Good Science is Only Part of the Job: Communicating Science to the Public." (Online link: http://www.sou.edu/aaaspd/2009SANFRANCISCO/Symposia09.html#15).

As science has become a larger part of the cultural landscape, researchers have frequently found themselves navigating the difficult waters of policies and politics. It has become increasingly necessary for scientists to work with the media to insure accurate portrayals of science issues so there can be better understanding by the public and therefore better decisions by policy makers. Each of the presentations will address how scientists can be better equipped to manage different media when sharing research and information with the public.

Hank Campbell, founder of ScientificBlogging.com, the world's largest independent online science community and a place where world-class scientists, professionals and science enthusiasts alike contribute to writing science articles and blogs, will chair the symposium and present "Why Communicating Science Is Important".

Greg Critser, science and health book author, long time science and medical journalist, will discuss how to use journalistic methods to transform research into compelling media discourse--from newspapers and magazines to the Internet and the blogo-sphere, in "Interacting with science journalists."

Prof. Michael Eisen, Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, will discuss efforts to reinvent scientific communication and how they are often met with a common refrain like, 'But what will this do to journals?' as if the maintenance of the existing journal hierarchy must be an irreducible first principle of any publishing reform. But do we really need journals? What role do they really serve? In "Journals? We Dont Need No Stinking Journals".

Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director for the National Center for Science Education, will discuss how science is a product of human beings, which means it is affected by human institutions including politics. The education system in the United States is highly politicized as a result of the nation's history, and because the teaching of evolution is socially (if not scientifically) controversial, politics enters into whether and how evolution will be taught, in "Constructive Debates When Science and Politics Mix".

Dr. Michael White, Department of Genetics and Center for Genome Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, will discuss science communication misfires and how science bloggers deflated the hype over the Ida fossil, exposed a stealth creationist paper in a peer-reviewed journal, and have relentlessly pummeled dubious claims about vaccines, stem cells, climate change, and personalized medicine, in "Blazing Your Own Trail: Writing Directly to the Public".

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