UWA SciComm Reminder- Book Club this Friday!

Have text books and journals taken over your bedside table?

Then take back the power of the written word – join the Science Communication Book Club and pick up a book guilt-free!

The feature book for our next meeting is Manthropology by Peter McAllister, our Writer-in-residence. Meet Peter, hear about the joys and trials of writing Mathropology and discuss the book with other science communicators.

Drawing from archaeology, anthropology and evolutionary psychology, the author (a qualified palaeoanthropologist) confirms the awful truth: every man in history, back to the dawn of the species, did everything better, faster, stronger and smarter than any man today.

Find out more about the book at http://www.hha.com.au/books/9780733623912.html

Location:_ Seminar Room, CLT, Physics UWA (map available at http://sponsored.uwa.edu.au/spice/contact) Time & Date:_ 4-5pm Friday 16th April 2010 Drinks and nibbles provided.

Following week on Friday the 23rd of April, we will be joined by guest speaker *Sean O’Halloran*, who has recently submitted his PhD on science communication about roadside drug testing.

The story of the implementation of legislation dealing with the effects of drugs on road safety is an interesting case study at the boundary of policy and science. The story helps to demonstrate that science is not always the dominant influence in political decision-making, even when scientific issues affect the assessment of the problem or the presentation of solutions.

Technocratic assessments of risk are necessarily balanced by public perceptions of risk, where politicians are under pressure to act, or at least be seen to act, to combat perceived threats to community health and safety. Traditional expectations of scientific expertise are also challenged by a ‘democratisation’ of expertise, where ‘appropriate’ scientific evidence is considered more important than ‘reliable’ scientific evidence.

Rhetorical strategies for communicating the many scientific complexities surrounding the effects of drugs on road safety also help to demonstrate the framing of risk, not only in the context of road safety, but in many other contexts – GMO, climate change, uranium mining, nanotechnology and the like. Risks associated with illicit drugs are often framed in value-laden and emotionally charged language where science is co-opted to legitimise problem framing and legitimise unvalidated technological solutions.

For the full Science Communication events calendar, visit http://uwasciencecomm.blogspot.com

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