Chapter

Caught in the Crossfire? The Public's Role in the Science Wars

Jane Gregory and Steve Miller

in The One Culture?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780226467221
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226467245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226467245.003.0005
Caught in the Crossfire? The Public's Role in the Science Wars

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The meaning of the phrase “public understanding of science” has evolved and diversified in the postwar era: what used to refer to the little-understood and barely interesting phenomenon of the conception of sciences among laypeople now serves a variety of purposes. It provides a label for normative and operational definitions of what the public understands about science, as well as for policy in the area and for the social and educational movement the idea has spawned. Alongside the increasing interest in the more programmatic aspects of this latest surge in public understanding of science activity developed a boom in popular science broadcasting and publishing, epitomized perhaps by the success of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. But this boom also brought a definition of science into the public domain that was broader than the scientific establishment had envisaged when they urged the media to carry more science.

Keywords: science wars; postwar era; educational movement; science broadcasting; science publishing; Stephen Hawking

Chapter.  5051 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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