the Caltech Y: Social Activism Speaker Series

 2012-2013 Calendar

 Aug 7:SPLS: Anneila Sargent
 Sep 20:SPLS: David Halpern
 Oct 3:

Pres Debate: Domestic Affairs

 Oct 6:

Rumble: O'Reilly vs Stewart

 Oct 11:

VP Candidate Debate

 Oct 16:

Pres Debate: Town Hall

 Oct 22:

Pres Debate: Foreign Policy

 Oct 30:The Federal Budget: O'Toole
 Nov 2:

CA Propositions Overview

 Jan 10:Science and the New Space Race
 Jan 15:

SPLS: Post Election Outlook

 Jan 23:SPLS: Jean Ensminger
 Jan 31:Fixing US Health Care

 2011-2012 Calendar

 Oct 10:The YES Men
 Oct 11:GOP Debate
 Oct 18:Shukry Cattan
Advocating for Refugees
 Nov 30:Jeremy Scahill:
On Afghanistan
 Jan 24:Tavis Smiley
 Apr 26:SPLS: David Baltimore
 Mar 6:SPLS: Lobbying for Science
 Apr 26:SPLS: Jean-Lou Chameau
 Apr 27:Escape from Leipzig
 May 16:SPLS: Alice Huang
 May 23:Susie Baldwin



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Making a World of Difference


Chris Mooney and Matthew Nisbet
Speaking Science Boot Camp

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Caltech Y Multipurpose Room, Caltech

Cost: $15 includes lunch

Over the past several years, the seemingly never-ending controversies over evolution, embryonic stem cell research, global climate change, and many other topics have led to a troubling revelation. Scientific knowledge, alone, does not always suffice when it comes to winning political arguments, changing government policies, or influencing public opinion. Put simply, many journalists, policymakers, and citizens consume and act on scientific information in a vastly different way than do the scientists who generate it. As a result, scientists and their organizations repeatedly face difficult challenges in explaining their knowledge to diverse groups of citizens.

As issues at the intersection of science and politics gain more and more attention, something beyond just scientific data--beyond "getting the facts out there"--will be necessary to break through to the public. But what are the new directions? It's time to question some central assumptions and focus on fresh ideas.

A conversation about new directions in science communication.

In this joint presentation, journalist Chris Mooney and communication professor Matthew Nisbet explain how scientists and their allies can "reframe" old debates in new ways, remaining true to the science but taking advantage of a fragmented media environment to connect with a broader American public.



History, Concepts, and Principles

Recent Controversies and Case Studies

*Recommended additional reading:

  • Logan, R. (2001). Science mass communication: A conceptual history. Science Communication, 23, (2), 135-163. [PDF]
  • Weigold, M. (2001). Communicating science: A review of the literature. Science Communication, 23 (2), 164-193. [PDF]
  • Bauer, M., Allum, N., & Miller, S. (2007). What can we learn from 25 years of PUS survey research? Liberating and expanding the agenda. Public Understanding of Science, 16, (1) 79-95. [PDF]
  • House of Lords. 2000. Science and Society. London: UK House of Lords. See also the government response.
  • Miller, S. (2001). Public understanding of science at a cross-roads. Public Understanding of Science, 10 (1), 115-120. [PDF]
  • Einsiedel, E. and Eastlick, D.L. (2001). Consensus conferences as deliberative democracy: A communications perspective. Science Communication 21 (4):323-343. [PDF]


  • Willems, J. 2003. Bringing down the barriers - public communication should be part of common scientific practice. Nature 422, 470.
  • Russell, C. (2006). Covering Controversial Science: Improving Reporting on Science and Public Policy. Working Paper, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard University.
  • Mooney, C. & Nisbet, M.C. (2005, Sept./Oct.). When coverage of evolution shifts to the political and opinion pages, the scientific context falls away, unraveling Darwin. Columbia Journalism Review, 31-39.
  • Revkin, A. (2007). Climate Change as News: Challenges in Communicating Environmental Science. In J.C. DiMento & P.M. Doughman (Eds.), Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren. Boston, MA: MIT Press, pp. 139-160. [PDF]
  • Nisbet, M.C. & Mooney, C. (2006). The next big storm? Skeptical Inquirer Online.

*Recommended additional reading:

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