Various Topics...

October 17, 2005 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Scientific Method: Theory & Reality in Doing Science (Sylvia Spengler): The scientific method is often viewed as an intrinsic, characteristic part of science—simple and logical to all. It is something you read about and perhaps practice as a process. The reality may look very different. Spengler will review the basic ideas underlying the scientific method and then discuss how science may be done (“First make a guess ...”). One issue in communicating about science is language, which has been as problematic across the sciences as it is between scientists and the general public. Given that, the way a scientist would ask colleagues about their scientific research and their methods might translate into broader mechanisms for public understanding.

Science & Journalism: Worlds Apart or Closer Than You Think? (Anthony Socci): Socci comments: “While it may not be immediately obvious, I offer for your consideration my personal observation that scientists and journalists have much in common with respect to professional aspirations, values and ideals. I am inclined to say that scientists and journalists are ‘cut from the same cloth.’ While we share a lot in common, I would argue that we are in very different places in our respective professional journeys. One might argue that many of our differences are often steeped in institutional differences. Do our respective professional institutions support and nurture our respective ideals or do they undercut them? Are these differences important? My answer is, ‘yes.’”

Why Science Is the Hardest/Best Beat in Journalism (Boyce Rensberger): A wide-ranging talk covering: what makes science news; why traditional journalistic balance can mislead the public; the clash between science’s uncertainty and the public’s misunderstanding of science; how to deal with science fact and scientific opinion; and other issues facing journalists who cover the realm of human endeavor with the greatest impact on humanity.