Kristin: During the recent Australian Science Communicators Conference, we kept coming back to one question – why do we need to communicate science?
There are lots of answers to this question. We might communicate science to ensure people are equipped to make good decisions for the community, to understand where tax dollars are spent on research, to understand the science that underpins things they do and buy. All of these reasons are right, but none are definitive.
So again, why do people need to know about science? Part of the answer comes in thinking through what people need and what is important in their lives. Love, health, happiness, aspiration, curiosity. How do we make sense of our lives and how to make them better?
These are the ‘big questions’ and science doesn’t have a monopoly on answers to these. Try:
- Religion and Worldviews: This essay from Leadership U an example;
- Science and information: Like in this collection of thoughts from Wired or this section on the RiAus website;
- Mathematics and economics: As in this transcript from an NPR episode; and
- Art and design (and if you know a good link to answering big questions through art & design, please let me know!)
Science, Literature, Art – it doesn’t matter. What’s important is the asking of the question and the curiosity in the world. So that’s a deeper reason why we communicate science – to provide an alternative lens through we can make inquiries about the world.
Agree? Do you have a definitive answer?