CER 2005 - November rendezvous
This open-debate approach to a wide range of issues, that proved such a success at the first CER meeting in 2004, will be repeated at the second CER conference, to be held in Brussels on 14 and 15 November. It will be an opportunity for scientists, communication professionals and journalists to present their ideas and discuss the issues during the debates, speeches, presentations of success stories, informal meetings and targeted work sessions.
There will an exhibition on European research with the focus on science communication, and the opportunity, through the Participants’ Forum, for participants to submit their own proposals for round tables, workshops, network meetings, etc. There will be regular press conferences throughout the day and the conference will end with a presentation of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (2007-2013).
Museums - "Science centres are appreciated for their ability to capture the interest of young people by allowing them to ‘play’ with scientific devices – to such an extent that this is all we are known for. Yet hundreds of scientists are engaged directly in research at many of our centres. Also, our activities often create a major media impact and we are directly responsible for certain media events. Science museums and centres are much more than playgrounds. They are genuine potential partners in communicating research.” Walter Staveloz - Ecsite (European network of science centres and museums)
On the street - "Street science takes science out of the institutions and museums and allows people to engage in dialogue on neutral ground in their usual surroundings. Pedestrian streets, shopping centres and even prisons are popular venues where scientists can meet a whole new audience.” Mikkel Bohm - Euscea (European science events association)
Sharing - "The knowledge-based society is not created by itself. Those who have knowledge need to share their vision of understanding nature and human activities, otherwise they will find themselves in an isolated ivory tower without too much support or interaction with society.” Jens Degett - Euroscience
Schools - “Initiatives directed at pupils and students or through teachers, who can act as multipliers of positive action, can provide high motivation for students to follow a scientific career. The highly successful ‘Physics on Stage’, produced by EIROforum, has demonstrated the clear benefits of bringing different actors together from science and education in a transnational dialogue.” Silke Schumacher - EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
Radio - Are the sound waves, or other audio technologies, the best place to forge a mature relationship between science and society? What makes a good science story for radio? Is language a real barrier to communicating European research? Our project seeks to explore the role of science in radio broadcasting and evaluate its impact on the public. Elisabetta Tola - Scirab (Science in Radio Broadcasting)
Television - ”Why should there be more programmes about science on television? Because science and research have a public and social function. They are important for all of us, for our societies, our well-being, our economic growth and technological progress. And because science and research offer opportunities and risks. That is why we must be informed.” Laura Longobardi - EBU (European Broadcasting Union)
Culture - "We are moving from an industrial society to a knowledge society in which access to information and cultural issues is essential. But in reality our educational system and our media lack intellectual reflection and do not place issues in context. We need more education and increased critical abilities but our media are spreading a fast-thinking way of life. How are the internet and other new information technologies changing the traditional way of disseminating scientific news? Could we communicate science with text messages?” Vladimir de Semir - President of the PCST (International Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology)
What is the impact of nanotechnologies and nanosciences (N&N)? What is Europe’s position in this field? Is there a need for codes of good practice and ethical boundaries as in research in the life sciences, for example? The Nanoforum organisation, in co-operation with the European Commission, carried out a vast on-line survey (720 responses from 32 European countries) to explore these and other questions, interviewing researchers, journalists, teachers and industrialists. Some questions met with a resounding ‘yes’. The nanotechnologies will indeed have an impact on European industry (90%) and on European citizens (80%) within the next decade. Europe could face a shortage of researchers in these specialities, which also require interdisciplinary knowledge and approaches (90%). Co-operation with the developed countries (96%) – as well as the developing countries (76%) – is important and an international code of good conduct would be welcomed (87%). 79% of those interviewed also believe that the funding of R&D in this field should receive strong support from the Research Framework Programme, especially as Europe is seen as ‘lagging far behind’ the United States (76%).
The complete survey can be consulted on-line in the Outcome of the Open Consultation on the European Strategy for Nanotechnology report on the Nanoforum website [ http://www.nanoforum.org/ ].
… and the Nano Jury
Mark Welland is a member of the Nano Jury who will be meeting in London in September. For five weeks, a number of experts will hear the comments, fears, recommendations and questions of around 20 non-specialists and engage in informal discussions with them on the prospects and uncertainties of the nanotechnologies. This is a public who asked to participate in the debate and who are therefore interested in the subject. The dialogue between members of the public and the scientists will also extend to the approach adopted by research. For Mark Welland, “apart from a finally favourable or unfavourable response on the part of the jury, the value of this experience lies in learning how science and technology must take on-board public understanding when defining who is to assume responsibility for the nanotechnologies.”
Joining the YEBN
Sophie K on the Avignon stage
"Our interest is not only historical as we also sought to examine Sophie’s heritage and what today’s scientists would make of her work,” continues Peyret. “That is why this show will be performed in the presence of scientists – and with their assistance in exploring some of the issues further. “
The play is supported by the Research DG and is part of the ‘Researchers in Europe 2005’ events.
Skywatchers get ready!The Sun, the Planets and Moons, the Asteroids, the Birth and Death of Stars, the Galaxies: these are the five sections for amateur scientists who want to enter the Skywatch contest. There are also three age groups: up to 15 years old, 15-18 years old, and adults. The individual or joint projects (maximum two people) must be submitted by 30 September and the contest is organised in three phases. During the first phase, participants use a database of astronomical observations made by members of the Skywatch network to produce a project on a subject of their choice (an example on the subject of galaxies is available on the website). An initial procedure will select ten projects per age category. During the second phase, participants will further develop their work, taking particular account of changing parameters (weather conditions, visibility of heavenly objects) that interfere with astronomical observations. At this point, the 30 selected individuals or pairs can request specific observations by the SkyWatch Network of Robotic Telescopes.
The jury will consider both phases of the work in reaching their decision on the final three winning entries for each age category. The prize will be access for one year to the Liverpool telescope installations (UK). The Winners will be announced during European Science Week, from 21-25 November.
The night of 23 SeptemberThis will be the night of European researchers. Throughout the continent, they will be out and about: in the streets and the science cafés, and at theatres, cinemas and museums. Organised by DG Research as part of the Researchers in Europe 2005 initiative, the event aims to bring together people – especially young people – and researchers by means of a number of fun yet informative events. This is just one way of conveying the message that scientific research is a fascinating activity and that those who practice it are anything but a remote group beavering away in their ivory towers.
The night of 23 September is one of a series of events, some beginning in June and others running through to the end of November.