Part 1: Principles (Weeks 1-4)
1 Why Bother with Science Communication? Why is it important to communicate with the public about science? What motives lead many scientists to popularize their work to non-scientists, and why do some people even choose to make a career of it?
2 How Do Scientists Communicate with Each Other? From grant applications to peer reviewed research papers, all successful science presupposes successful communication - but of very special kinds. What is the role of communication in science, and why does professional science communication often take such peculiar - and peculiarly ritualized - forms?

Sometimes we can compare and contrast different forms of communication by the same scientist about the same science. Here, we shall compare Watson and Crick's famous 1953 announcement of a structure for DNA with Watson's almost equally famous 'popular' account of their momentous discovery several years later.
3 How is Science Communicated to the Public? What is the 'landscape' of science in public, and what principles can we use to understand the various forms of communication that populate this landscape?

We take a current example of popular science - from the Boston Globe, the New York Times, or another easily accessible source - and trace it back to the original scientific communication on which it's based. What happens in the process of turning science from professional practice into popular culture?
4 Class Visit to the MIT Museum Introduction to science in the museum environment, and orientation session on POSIT, an iCampus project to create an interactive, multi-user electronic game for use in this environment.
5 Who's on the Receiving End of Popular Science? In recent years, serious attempts have been made to characterize public perceptions of science and technology. What do we know about public awareness of, interest in, knowledge about and attitudes towards science and technology? And what do these findings contribute to our understanding of science communication?

Critics have charged that talk of 'transmitters' and 'receivers' seriously limits our understanding of the relationship between science and the public. What alternative models of this relationship are available, and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses?
Part 2: Practice (Weeks 5-10)
6 Writing Science (Introduction)

Science Journalism
Writing Science (Introduction)

"In the beginning was the word"; and so it is, too, with popular science communication. Here we ask: what are the main forms of science writing in popular culture? How does journalism differ from the writing of popular essays and books; and how do all of these compare in turn with the writing of plays and novels?

Science Journalism

Guest Speaker: Karen Weintraub, Assistant Health Science Editor, The Boston Globe
7 Science Essay Writing Guest Speaker: Professor Alan Lightman, MIT Take-home midterm out
8 Broadcasting Science (Introduction)

Do Science Documentaries have a Future?
Broadcasting Science (Introduction)

All recent studies suggest that TV is the single most influential source of most people's information about science and technology. Here we ask: what are the distinctive features of radio and TV as media, and how do these influence the form and content of radio science and TV science?

Do Science Documentaries have a Future?

Guest Speaker: Professor Tom Levenson, MIT Writing Program
Take-home midterm due
9 Making Science Shows for Radio Guest Speaker: Ira Flatow, Host and Executive Producer, Talk of the Nation: Science Friday Two-page proposal for final project due
10 Exhibiting Science (Introduction)

Creating Science Exhibits in the MIT Museum
Exhibiting Science (Introduction)

Museums and science centers are media as complex and distinctive as, say, newspapers, radio or TV. We shall look at the particular challenges and opportunities presented by museums as theatres for science communication, paying particular attention to current efforts to engage audiences with current scientific research in the museum environment.

Creating Science Exhibits in the MIT Museum

Guest Speaker: Dr. Debbie Douglas, Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum
11 No Lecture One-on-one mentoring sessions with students on their practical projects.
Part 3: Case Studies (Weeks 11-14)
12 Case Study 1: The Cambridge Recombinant DNA Controversy 30 years ago, Cambridge attracted headlines worldwide for a high profile public debate about whether Harvard and MIT should be permitted to build high security facilities for the conduct of potentially hazardous recombinant DNA experiments. Here, we review the debate and ask: who was saying what, to whom, and for what purpose(s)?

Students bring analyses of selected science communication components of the controversy to class for discussion.
13 Second MIT Museum Visit Develop practical project work, including prototypes of iCampus PDA programs.
14 Case Study 2: The GM Food Debate in the UK, 1994-2004 Ten years ago, public concern about the safety and desirability of so-called 'GM food' erupted across much (though not all) of the European Union. Here, we review the course of the debate in the UK and ask: what part did popular science communication play in the debate?

Students bring analyses of selected science communication components of the controversy to class for discussion.
15 Case Study 3: Science, Communication and Celebrity: The Implosion of Korean Human Stem Cell Research For several years, human stem cell research has been one of the most controversial areas of science internationally. A few weeks ago, however, what one commentator describes as "the greatest scientific fraud, not just of 2005, but of the admittedly still young twenty-first century" was revealed with the news that Korean superstar stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk had faked some of his key research results. Here, we ask: what does this episode tell us about the inter-relationships between scientific research, science communication and scientific celebrity?

Students bring analyses of selected science communication components of the controversy to class for analysis and discussion.
16 Case Study 4: The Debate over 'Intelligent Design' 'Intelligent Design' is the latest episode in an 80-year-long struggle over the teaching of the theory of evolution in America's public schools. Here we review recent developments and ask: what kinds of communication are currently sustaining the debate?

Students bring analyses of selected science communication components of the controversy to class for discussion.

Revise and review of class.
Final project due five days after Lec #16