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science education

Giovanni Maga maga at vetbio.unizh.ch
Thu Mar 16 09:53:44 EST 1995

In article <Pine.3.89.9503150944.D42154-0100000 at coop.crn.org>,
mowjmat at COOP.CRN.ORG (Biology Department) wrote:

>  popular media items are important to scientific education, especially for lay persons with little or no background in science.  As usual for Hollywood--the movie probably misrepresents the nature of science-but nevertheless, any public exposure to gene cloning, viruses, etc is benefical.
> 	The roel of the scientists is too clarify misconceptions and 
> clearly epress scientific work in lay terms.

> Jeff Huckaby
> Molecular Biology
> William Jewell College
> Liberty, MO 64068
> Email mowjmat at coop.crn.org

I agree that media are important for scientific education. I do not think
anyway that this goal should be achieved by fiction movies (or books).
Let's consider that fiction is a literary expression, which deals with
scientific matter of course, but that is not constrained by scientific laws
(which are sistematically violated in most fiction stories). This is of
course why they are so amusing...fiction's heroes can do something we
 You put a right argument here: *scientists* are responsible for scientific
education. I think that there should be appropriate places for them to
accomplish this goal. What I mean is that I would better argue a more
active presence of scientists among common people, given the fact that many
topics are regarded by people with interest, rather than hoping to see more
*realistic* fiction movies (all in all fiction isn't real by definition).
A lot of people (mainly scientists or science educated people) here were
complaining about the poor scientific *reality* of the movie Outbreak. I
just saw some premieres and an interview on CNN, but I never thought it was
a scientific movie. Let's reserve our criticism for meningful discussions
of scientific problems.
G.Maga, PhD
University of Zurich
maga at vetbio.unizh.ch  

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