Science Communication & Popularization

Useful analysis and discussion are presented here about popularization of science. Basic considerations for popular science and science popularization include substance & simplicity of contents, and broad scope of readers.

Science Communication & PopularizationScience Popularization is transforming specialized scientific knowledge into public or popular form is called Science Popularization. How to achieve it? Scientists develop or create genuine scientific knowledge. Formalists streamline it and popularizers bring it close to the common sense and public understanding. Science Popularization feeds back to the scientific research process.

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In simpler words, science popularization is bringing science into the general public domain through easier dissemination of scientific knowledge. It would develop a scientific way of thinking among people and promote science commercialization.

Making science more popular among masses would benefit both masses and science. But, it is quite difficult job as communicating science to the masses faces several barriers. Science is technical knowledge. It is very difficult for even experts to talk it to the public.

Public in general lack interest in science entertainment. Commercializing scientific journalism is very difficult, so states should support scientific journalism. Establishing a commonness between science and public will make science more applied, benefiting the humanity.

Physics is more difficult to communicate to the public than chemistry. Major reason is involvement of complex mathematics in physics. In addition, physics has deeper philosophy than chemistry. Physics has fewer every day applications than chemistry.

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It is important to understand the context (see figure below) of communication in which knowledge is being presented. One should identify the audience.

Readers/audience can be peers in the same field, specialists from adjacent fields, science managers, science bureaucrats or public. In science popularization, one must differentiate adequate simplification of scientific narratives from distortion.

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Cross-disciplinary research is tough as it requires understanding of more than one field. Normally, researchers choose a field, excel it and with time, it becomes heaven for them. They never like to come out of it and enter into a different field which would be tough again. But, it is easier to communicate or popularize cross-disciplinary research due to its multiple links in the public and everyday life.

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Print media, electronic media, science museum, cinema and science parks can play important roles in popularizing science among masses. But, doing so requires the preparation of human resources, capable of understanding science, technology, media and sociology simultaneously.

science popularization

Lesson: Important features of a pure scientific communication are scientific/technical substance,  precision and novelty while popular science communication should have general information, simplicity and broad scope. Usefulness is a common feature of both scientific and popular communications.

Declaration: Pictures presented here are taken from the free web and are used here with a new purpose.

Author Email: rana@alumni.nus.edu.sg

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Rana

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Rana

Mukhtar does research on Instrumentation, Physics, and Environmental Science.

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