28 No. 4
Understanding of the Public is that now? I wondered.
Surely it is a typo, and should read "Public Understanding
of Chemistry." The later topics is what the scientific
community is concerned with these days.
I read the title again (see p.14)
and continued on reading with some suspicion. It turns out
that the point of the article is to compel chemists to identify
and understand their publics rather than the other way around.
This simple idea is one of the key recommendations of a project
that looked at how IUPAC could leverage its global perspective
to enhance public appreciation of chemistry. For this project,
headed by the Committee on Chemistry Education, Peter Mahaffy
and his tasks group reviewed the strengths and limitations
that IUPAC faces if it wants to communicate chemistry to the
public. A conclusion of their report is that IUPAC should
focus on its primary publics and educators closely
associated with IUPAC help them identify, understand,
and work with their own audiences.
overarching goal for the project is, as Mahaffy puts it, "to
provide a framework that will bring the same level of intellectual
rigor to IUPAC's science communication activities as to IUPAC's
scientific activities." I encourage everyone to read
report and think about how to contribute to the initiative.
CCE is hardly alone in thinking about IUPAC's publics. As
David Evans highlights in his article (p.12),
the Committee on Chemistry and Industry (COCI) concentrates
on the industrial perspective. Similarly, each discipline/division
of IUPAC shall find its niche through its representation within
IUPAC's challenge is to identify the right public, the difficulties
and rewards of reaching a very defined audience seem quite
clear in the case of Science Across the World. Read
on page 8 how the SAW program provides educators with
powerful tools to intrigue young minds and give students across
the world the opportunity to meet in a virtual classroom.
the forementioned articles demonstrate the importnace of reaching
out to science educators, this issue
has a number of other articles and announcements sure to be
of interest to educators: a project on distance learning,
a new book on fundamental toxicology, and reports from conferences
focused on science education.
last modified 26 July 2006.
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