A History of Science Communication

The relationship between scientists, journalists and the public has never been a strong one. When writing about the status of this relationship in the early 1970’s Spencer Weart states that “most scientists already felt they were doing their jobs by pursuing their research and publishing it” (Weart, 2008). Most scientists’ attitude at this point was any work that was important to the public would be picked up by journalists or popular scientists such as Revelle and Bryson. This information could then be distributed to the public in various channels of the media. During the last 20 years this attitude has changed and there is now considerable encouragement and funding available to scientists who communicate with the public. One of the first initiatives to promote this behaviour was the 1985 Bodmer Report. The report argued that it was essential for scientists to communicate with the public. This essay will look at both historical and current examples of science communication and access how communication has changed since the early 1970’s (Davies, 2008).

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