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Science and the Public

Science is the driving force of all modern life….
Dr. David Baltimore, AAAS president
stated in the January 26, 2007 issue of Science Magazine
(http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/315/5811/473)

I agree with Dr. Baltimore and his sentiments. Raising children who do not understand their bodies or the world around them or how we, as humans, shape the world prevents them from participating in modern life. These children and the adults they later become, are at a great disadvantage – in the workplace and in society. They are less comfortable and capable making important decisions of all kinds – personal, public, and private.

This disadvantage in participating in modern life is more dramatic among the disenfranchised of our society. People who have received inadequate public education or who don’t take advantage of publicly provided resources such as those provided by public libraries or social service organizations are left out. Completely. What’s more, this educational, economic, and social disadvantaged is heritable.

Dr. Baltimore thinks it’s time for scientists to take a role in public life. He’s right. It’s time to take an occasional excursion from the Ivory Tower.

But…

But how do we get started? Where do we start? My personal interests include sharing science with the most under-represented audiences, i.e. people of color and those from lower socio-economic demographics (SES). But how?
General media provides no easy inroad to for scientists to reach general audiences. Minority media sources are worse, they only seem to focus on entertainment news. Even coverage of current events takes a back seat.
What about the Internet? It’s great. It’s cheap, sometimes free. Only on the Internet can anyone declare him/herself a “journalist” or “commentator” and start working immediately. But, if my core audience are the under-resourced, then I’m still missing the mark.

Any suggestions?



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