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Modern ways in communicating physics H. Oberhummer, Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Scientists at work. Boy, 13 yrs, Norway Girl, 14 yrs, UK (from SAS, Science And Scientists, Sjøberg 2002). M otivation for physics. Cultural reasons

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modern ways in communicating physics h oberhummer vienna university of technology austria
Modern ways in communicating physics H. Oberhummer, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Scientists at work

Boy, 13 yrs, Norway Girl, 14 yrs, UK

(from SAS, Science And Scientists, Sjøberg 2002)

Modern ways of communicating physics

m otivation for physics
Motivation for physics
    • Cultural reasons
  • ·Physics is part of our cultural heritage: it contributes to fundamentalquestions like structure of matter, birth and fateof the universe, etc.
  • ·Scientific knowledge and rational thinking is an antidote to fearsand their pseudo-solutions: esotericism, astrology, etc.
  • Socio-political reasons
  • In our democratic societies the citizen’s attitude is of profound importance in adopting or rejecting new technologies and reacting reasonably to accidents. This requires science literacy of the public.
  • Economic reasons
    • ·Physics is relevant for research in life sciences, medicine, chemistry, climate change, energy sources and storage, material science,IT, transport, health, environment, etc.
    • ·Scientific outreach is required to raise interest and vocations for technical professions required by tomorrow’s society

Modern ways of communicating physics

falling interest in physics
Falling interest in physics
  • No: based on the interest for popular science in books and magazines and other media (TV, movies), surveys (Eurobarometer), visits to science centres, etc.
  • Yes: when choice of schools subjects and studies is the measure for interests
  • Large variations between different areas of S&T (Life sciences have less problems than physics!)
  • Conclusion: The interest and motivation for physics is lost mainly during secondary and tertiary education

Modern ways of communicating physics

challenges for outreach of physics
Challenges for outreach of physics
  • Traditionally physicists have often locked themselves upin acage and have an outdated perception of public outreach. They often refuse to communicate with the public:
  • “They won’t understand anyway!”.
  • Often scientists forget the most relevant statements for public outreach:
  • “Facts still remain facts when they are told interestingly!”

Modern ways of communicating physics

the new media and physics
The New Media and Physics
  • Communication and public outreach has radically changed with the emergence of the New Media (Multimedia, Internet). Some academics contrary to the younger generation are not willing to study and engage themselves in these new developments.
  • Physicists are often experts in computer techniques (WWW was invented at CERN!), but are ignorant in the didactical, social and economic aspects of Internet communication.
  • Example websites of physics:
  • Missing target group definition, lack of marketing research, no dissemination, inadequate maintenance, …

Modern ways of communicating physics

goals of new media in physics outreach
Goals of New Media in Physics Outreach
  • To make physics more accessible to students and people of all ages and to counteract its current negative image by developing innovative multimedia and Internet websites aimed at all ages.
  • To develop live interactive courses with unconven-tional topical organisation.

Modern ways of communicating physics

advantages of the new media
Advantages of the New Media
  • The New Media (Mulimedia and Internet) are enjoyed and used by the young generation all over the world. Therefore it is the best method to tell pupils and students about the fascination of physics.
  • The Internet has a previously unknown flexibility and dynamics. One can update contents easily and immediately contrary to most other mass media.
  • New Media and especially the Internet allows the widest possible dissemination. With the Internet millions of people can be reached.

Modern ways of communicating physics

felicitous websites
Felicitous websites
  • There exist many examples for high-quality outreach and educational websites in physics like:
    • Particle Adventure, the fundamentals of matter and forces
    • In English, Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Finnish
    • Physics 2000, an interactive journey through modern physics
    • In English, Spanish and German
    • Communication of the excitement and importance of physics to everyone

Modern ways of communicating physics

an example the web based communication system http www nupex net
An example:The web-based communication system

·Objectives: Creation of a web-based science communication system (webSCS)

communicating nuclear science and itsapplications to teachers and their pubils

·High quality web-based one-stop shop for contents in nuclear science and applicationsin at least 5 European languages

·Primary target group are schools: Teachers as science communicators and their pupils

·Innovative features, e-didactics and role of teacher communities essential

·Total budget: 379 kEuro: Funding from the EU302 kEuro, own resources: 77 kEuro

·11 involved institutions: 2 companies, 4 research institutions, 3 universities and

2 outreach institutions fromA, B, D, I, EL, HU, MT, PL, UK

·Duration of project: 24 months

·Start of NUPEX-project: 1. January 2003

Modern ways of communicating physics

the planned project cinema and science cisci
The planned project: Cinema and Science (CISCI)

CISCI combines the most popular media among the young generation, namely popular movies and the Internet. The basic idea of CISCI is to set up a web-based platform containing scientifically relevant and interesting videoclips about 1-3 minutes long from existing popular (Examples: Space Odyssey, Deep Impact, Star Wars, Outbreak, Matrix, etc.) and documenatry movies along with corresponding scientific analyses and explanations.The primary target groups are high-school teachers and their pupils, a secondary target group is the general public.

  • The goals of CISCI are as follows:
  • To raise the interest and attractiveness of science in the young generation
  • To take popular movies as a vehicle to present scientific concepts and laws
  • To help pupils to learn to distinguish between pseudo-sciences presented in films and scientific laws and ideas
  • To motivate pupils to think critically about science information presented in movies
  • To help pupils to learn about the borderline between verified and untested science

Modern ways of communicating physics

  • If physics wants to sustain and have a long-time bright future the community has to make every effort to change public opinion in its favour. Changing the entrenched public opinion against physics and its applications is a long, hard, expensive and sometimes demoralising task.
  • The advantages of the New Media (Internet, multimedia, popular movies, etc.) are their attractiveness especially for the young generation, their flexibility and dynamics as well as their wide dissemination possibilities. Therefore it is essential to include and exploit them in the outreach and popularising efforts of physics.

Modern ways of communicating physics

information and studies
Information and Studies

TIMSS (continues, with T for Trends):

OECD\'s PISA (continues for at least 10 years, focus on science in 2006):

Science And Scientists (SAS-study):

Eurobarometer 55.2 "Europeans, Science And Technology“: and Candidate countries Eurobarometer (CCEB) 2003:

UNESCO: World Education Report and statistics

OECD: Education at Glance

UNDPs Human Development Reports

Modern ways of communicating physics