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Journalism and Communication Program

 Formal presentations

 –       Articulation of Nanotechnology in Popular Culture Media: Already in 1960s before even the term Nanotechnology was coined, the possibility to minimize technology on behalf of medical science was seen in different movies. But at that time it was considered as science fiction. Five decades later and what considered as fantasy of films directors became part of the everyday work of different physicians at the hospitals all around the world.  Indeed many films and T.V series reflected this change. Hence do these films and T.V series can help the laymen to understand the principles and concepts that stand behind the term Nanotechnology. My presentation will try to answer these questions.

Dr. Ela Bauer, Head of Media & Film Department Seminar Ha-Kibbutzim College, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL


–       Nanotechnologies in Science Museums:

Wolfgang M. Heckl , General Director of the Deutsches Museum, Munich, GERMANY

–       Nano to touch: out of the ivory tower

Wolfgang M. Heckl, General Director of the Deutsches Museum, Munich, GERMANY

–       Nano-journalism in the Netherlands As a science journalist for major Dutch newspapers Marcel Hulspas has written about nanotechnology and related subjects. He has also chaired meetings between the general public and nano-scientists as part of the ‘Nanocaravan’, the national public debate initiated by the Dutch government. His experiences made him aware that there are several types of ‘nano audiences’: The ‘hard core’ nay-sayers, who are suspicious about nanotechnology as a hazardous industrial ploy. Then there are the scientists, who try to reduce public concerns by giving more and more information, often with the opposite effect of stressing the inevitable uncertainties. The third type are science fans who only wanted to hear and preach the blessings which nanotechnology will bring us. He asks the question what could happen when the three groups mix and what can we learn of it about effective communication.

Marcel Hulspas, science editor, until recently working for the Dutch daily newspaper De Pers.

–       EU projects for the communication of Nanotechnologies 

Interactive Speeches

 –       Media coverage does not just happen: Prepare for your 15 seconds of fame!

Media attention is not something that just happens but it is something that you can prepare for well in advance. Preparing your key message; considering who your stakeholders and audiences are; which medium will be used; mapping socially sensitive topics; as well as training on Q and A’s (Questions and Answers) and interview situations will help researchers and science communicators in making a successful media appearance firmly based on the research content. In this media workshop, students choose a nanotechnology topic for which they will decide on a key message and write a press release.  A short presentation and a video interview will be based on these.

Fred Balvert, science communicator and former press officer, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Souad Zgaoui, web editor,  Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

–       Small Scale, Big Challenge for Science Communicators Nanotechnology innovations are the latest scientific/technological breakthroughs unveiled to the public within the last decade. Scientific advances, such as the Human Genome Project, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, Cloning and the Hubble Space Telescope, to mention only a few, have changed the way we look at our world. These breakthroughs pose new and complex challenges for science communicators. How can we explain such diverse and intricate subjects in 60 seconds?–topics which require such a wide scientific base; and where often their title and the PR around them are much more attractive and appealing than the complicated explanation of their content.

Tal Berman, Chief Curator & Head of the Exhibits Wing. MadaTech – The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology & Space.; Haifa, ISRAEL.

 Controversial topics in science centres – from dialogue to consensus games  Science centres often are the best venue for scientists with different points of view, stakeholders and general public to debate about controversial science topics. Many tools are used in this attempt to generate dialogue and to stimulate people to have an opinion on “hot science topics”, and according to the different situations, some tools reveal to be more useful than others. We will review some of the methodologies used in science centres  to accomplish the dialogue goals and we will have a practical workshop on one of the most used worldwide consensus game, the Playdecide game.

Guglielmo Maglio, responsible for exhibitions and scientific events at the Science Centre Città della Scienza, Naples, Italy.  

 «Trust me, and I will trust you»: an exercise of relativism Scientists and technologists who work in sensitive areas know well that the implications of their research might spark violent controversies – particularly about perceived risks of negative outcomes – that can ultimately damage their work, but often fail to recognize that a sincerely open debate is needed in order to attenuate legitimate fear, and is the best tool to prevent hysteric reactions to uncertainty.

“Sincerely open” debate might mean that the point of view of “outsiders” – even the ones that at first appear to be the weirdest and the most unrealistic – can deserve a respectful scrutiny.

The interactive session – led by two experienced science journalists – will show how difficult it is to reach a consensus on what aspects deserve more attention (“More research is needed in order to make sure that…”) and what can and should be disregarded as futile, when seen in the perspective of society at large.

Daniela Ovadia science journalist and scientific director of the Agency Zoe, Milan, Italy

Fabio Turone President of the professional association Science Writers in Italy (SWIM) and editor in chief of the Agency Zoe. Milan, Italy