What is science communication?

Science communication is the act of conveying science in an understandable way to an audience. Science communication is oriented towards the audience (the receiver) as opposed to lecturing which can be more oriented towards the speaker (the sender).

Over the past years it has become increasingly important for scientists to steer how their science is perceived in the general public. The internet has made it possible for anyone with a web connection to communicate with their surroundings, and this can potentially lead to misunderstandings or even distribution of false facts if a certain unscientific topic presented in a framework that imitates that of science.

The consequence of false facts is misinformation in the public which eventually can influence political decisions and/or lead to a deteriorated educational system.

Science is per definition a time consuming and at times complex matter, which is why scientific research is mostly carried out by scientists with many years of training and education. The language used by researchers in science is often far from that used in the general public as it is more unambiguous to use for instance mathematics or chemical formulas to express a certain process or method. Despite science being for the good of the general public (in development of medication, technology, etc), it is not sustainable to assume the general public will learn, understand and use the same jargon as used in the academic environment. The lack of a common communication foundation will increase the gap between the scientific environment and the general public.

The outcomes of science communication are plenty. A society is better equipped to make decisions, when it fully understands the implications of a scientific field. This can on a practical level lead to higher funding or more students (and later more researchers to develop more advanced techniques) in a given field. On an intellectual level it can lead to an increased understanding of the world and universe.

Science is not a field. It’s us, the earth, the universe. Understanding science is understanding ourselves.

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