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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: May 2013

5 - The common language of research

Summary

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

Carl Sagan (1986, p. 15)

Introduction

When there is a lot of activity, it is easy to assume that this is translating into benefits and advances. We certainly seem to be in a second golden age when it comes to the action around communicating science. Looking back to the publication of the Bodmer Report, and even back just a decade to the publication of the House of Lords Report on Science and Society (House of Lords 2000), there was a palpable absence of scientific voices in civil society; by comparison, we now find ourselves in much more of a ‘can do’ environment.

Key resources
Bronowski, J. 1978 The Common Sense of ScienceCambridge, MAHarvard University Press
Brown, J. R. 2001 Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Account of the WarsCambridge, MAHarvard University Press
Gregory, J.Miller, S. 1998 Science in Public: Communication, Culture and CredibilityCambridge, MAPerseus Publishing
Laird, F. N. 1989 The decline of deference: the political context of risk communicationRisk Analysis 9 543
Marquand, D. 2004 The Decline of the Public: The Hollowing Out of CitizenshipCambridge, UKPolity Press
References
Bronowski, J. 1978 The Common Sense of ScienceCambridge, MAHarvard University Press. (First published 1951.)
Butt, S.Clery, E.Abeywardena, V.Phillips, M. 2009 Wellcome Trust Monitor: Tracking Public Views on Medical ResearchLondonWellcome Trust
Eurobarometer surveys 1973 http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm
House of Lords 2000 Select Committee on Science and Technology Third Report: Science and SocietyLondonHMSO
National Science Board 2008 Science and Engineering IndicatorsArlington, VA
Phillips, Lord Justice 2000 http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20090505194948/http:/bseinquiry.gov.uk/report/index.htm
Rapley, C. 2010 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/may/27/science-museum-climate-gallery
Sagan, C. 1986 Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of ScienceNew YorkBallantine
Sense About Science 2005 I Don't Know What to BelieveLondonSense About Science in collaboration with Elsevier, Blackwell Publishing, Medical Research Council, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and the Institute of Biology
Sense About Science 2006 Making Sense of Chemical Stories: A Briefing for the Lifestyle Sector on Misconceptions about ChemicalsLondonSense About Science
Sense About Science 2008 Making Sense of Radiation: A Guide to Radiation and Its Health EffectsLondonSense About Science in collaboration with the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, the British Institute of Radiology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Sense About Science 2009 Making Sense of GM: What is the Genetic Modification of Plants and Why Are Scientists Doing It?LondonSense About Science in collaboration with the Genetics Society, John Innes Centre, Lawes Agricultural Trust, BBSRC, Institute of Food Research and Institute of Biology
Sense About Science 2009 Making Sense of ScreeningLondonSense About Science in collaboration with the Association for Clinical Biochemistry, the Institute of Biomedical Science and the Royal College of Pathologists