Public understanding of science bibliography: October 1999
A monthly round-up of books reports and articles collated by the Wellcome
Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine (Information Service).
All the below resources are publicly available, for reference, in the
Information Service <http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/infoserv/> or from the
British Library, Lending Division, via public, academic or special
Books and reports
ESRC Global Environmental Change Programme The Politics of GM food: risk,
science and public trust; Special briefing No.5 1999 Brighton University of
Sussex ISBN 01273 566075
Available on the web at http://www.gecko.ac.uk
Articles-Public understanding of science
Science seeks an understanding public
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded
£570,000 in the first round of projects under the Partnerships for Public
Understanding (PPU) scheme. The scheme exists to fund scientists and
researchers in communicating the challenge and excitement of their work to a
wider public. An original funding of £2m (matched by a similar amount from
industry) has been doubled because of the wealth of good ideas.
EPSRC Newsline Special September 1999 p.12-15
On the road
Since 1995, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
has collaborated with the Science Museum by sponsoring five exhibitions.
Four have been "Science Boxes" - temporary exhibitions that went on to tour
the country - and the fifth is the current exhibition, The Human Factor.
EPSRC Newsline Special September 1999 p.9-11
Health department starts campaign on antibiotic resistance
In order to raise public awareness of antibiotic resistance the Department
of Health in England has urged GPs to display new campaign material.
BMJ 3199 October 1999 p.938
Uniting the branches of knowledge
Steven Pinker predicts that a fundamental division between the humanities
and sciences may become redundant in the next century, as issues including
genetics and evolutionary biology draw on various emotions and disciplines
for their understanding.
THES 1405 8 October 1999 p.21
Articles-Public attitudes and participation
Soft subjects suffer low esteem
A survey by the THES at the British Association Annual Festival of Science
found that "confidence in the validity of scientists' findings and
conclusions" varied both between the public and scientists questioned, and
amongst the different sciences. Confidence was highest first in the
physical, then biological sciences, but below 50% in the social sciences.
THES 1405 8 October 1999 p.40
Modified foods go through the Net
In the future, agricultural ministers will publish full details of all
applications for GM foods on the Internet, to allow ordinary members of the
public a chance to have their say in the genetically modified food debate.
The government hopes that, via the Internet, public views will be taken into
account during the decision-making process co-ordinated by the Advisory
Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).
Times 15 October 1999 p.13
GM policy "cannot be left to the scientists"
In a report by the Economic and Social Research Council, the council has
urged the government to involve the public in consultation to help formulate
its policy over genetically modified foods. Only then, can it resolve the
public's mistrust of the new technology.
Independent19 October 1999 p.12||See also: THES1407 22 October 1999 p.7
Articles-Science and art
A perfect couple
In modern day life, scientists and engineers have proven that technology and
art are co-dependent, exemplified by computer-aided art and design. 'The
Art of Intervention', a new exhibition at the Science Museum, brings
together the vision first pioneered in 15th century Italy, that "technology
and art need not be separate disciplines but can co-exist in harmony".
The Times Interface 11 September 1999 p.9
The Art of Life: awards for biomedical images
The Wellcome Trust is hosting an exhibition of award-winning biomedical
images in its Two10 gallery until January 7, 2000.
The Lancet 354 16 October 1999 p.1396
Articles-Science and ethics
A DNA summit: let's do the right thing
An article, George Davatelis, manager of program development at Allergan Inc
and former senior biotechnology officer at the US Department of state, calls
for more public debate and discussion on the social and ethical implications
of biotechnology. The public outcry in Europe against GM crops was not
anticipated and he suggests that a similar US backlash may follow.
The Scientist 11 October 1999 p.12
Science communication - a vanity fair?
A philosophical essay by Georg Franck examines issues relating to the
communication of scientific progress.
Science 286 1 October 1999 p.53
The Wellcome Trust, under its Medicine in Society Programme, has
commissioned MORI to undertake a survey among scientists to canvass their
views on the role scientists have to play in science communication.
Science and Public Affairs October 1999 p.22-23
Taking part in the political process
An article in which Dr Ian Gibson, former scientist and now MP for Norwich
North, urges scientists to be more willing to engage in the political
process to gain public acceptance for scientific progress. He calls for
better communication and more openness between scientists and politicians.
Science and Public Affairs October 1999 p.30
Articles-Science and media
Science on TV: forging a strategic alliance
An article suggests that there is an increasing need for the worlds of
science and television to form "strategic alliances" in an age where
ordinary people's lives are touched by science and yet little is understood
about it. The article focuses on two new PBS showcase science programmes,
Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth and Life Beyond Earth.
The Scientist 25 October 1999 p.8
Dangers of over-dependence on peer-reviewed publication
An article observes that the mass coverage of research by the media provides
no guarantee of the science's quality. Nevertheless it is much valued by
scientifically fascinated readers, listeners and viewers, as well as by the
scientists whose work it highlights.
Nature 40121 October 1999 p.727
An editorial comments on the coverage by the media of the government's
handling of the genetically modified food debate.It concludes that ministers
and their officials underestimated the intelligence of the public.
Research Fortnight 6 27 October 1999 p.3
The Exploratory closes
The Exploratory, the popular science centre in Bristol, closed to the public
in September. In its place the new centre, called Explore at Bristol, will
open next year. It has been criticised for being too computer-based with
not enough interactive exhibits.
The Psychologist 12 10 October 1999 p.485
London Zoo's Web of Life
An article explores the success of the 'Web of Life' (London Zoo's New
Millennium Exhibition) at explaining biodiversity.
The Lancet 354 23 October 1999 p.1482
This bibliography will appear on the psci-com web site
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