A sad day

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wolram
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http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0508183

Authors: Michael J. West (University of Hawaii)
Comments: Invited talk to appear in Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2005, eds. E.I. Robson and L.L. Christensen, 2005, ESA/Hubble Publishing, in press; 10 pages, 5 figures, pdf only
Subj-class: Popular Physics

In an age of media saturation, how can astronomers succeed in grabbing the public's attention to increase awareness and understanding of astronomy? Here I discuss some creative alternatives to press releases, public lectures, television programs, books, magazine articles, and other traditional ways of bringing astronomy to a wide audience. By thinking outside the box and employing novel tools - from truly terrible sci-fi movies, to modern Stonehenges, to music from the stars - astronomers are finding effective new ways of communicating the wonders of the universe to people of all ages.

How many tv programs are about astronamy, science? I think goverments and the scientific comunity have failed the public.
 
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SpaceTiger
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wolram said:
How many tv programs are about astronamy, science? I think goverments and the scientific comunity have failed the public.
To some extent, I agree. It's a shame that the astronomical community has a tendency to discourage people like Carl Sagan from selling astronomy to the world. For every astronomer that makes no attempt to educate the public about their work, there's a crackpot (with more time on their hands) willing to fill the void.
 
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Chronos
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Actually, I very much like that paper. I favor anything ridding the bookshelves of crackpot literature. I like seeing respected, mature scientists [e.g., Hawking] taking the time to write the 'Paul Harvey' take on modern science. It may seem like harmless amusement to publish the 'National Enquirer' version of physics, but, people die from believing the medical version. It is, in my mind, negligient to allow bad science to go unchallenged.
 
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wolram
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Chronos said:
Actually, I very much like that paper. I favor anything ridding the bookshelves of crackpot literature. I like seeing respected, mature scientists [e.g., Hawking] taking the time to write the 'Paul Harvey' take on modern science. It may seem like harmless amusement to publish the 'National Enquirer' version of physics, but, people die from believing the medical version. It is, in my mind, negligient to allow bad science to go unchallenged.
I agree with most of your post, my point is the gp have no, "window", to
science, most people would not go out of their way to buy a book, if they
did it would most likely be crackpot," and they would not know", where as tv is a media used by the
majority and an ideal way to educate and bring main stream science to
the publics attention, programs would not have to be "sensational", it may
even be better to leave out the leading edge stuff, there is plenty of well
under stood science that could be used in an entertaining way.
 
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Astronuc
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Most, if not all, science and technical societies have outreach programs. Unfortunately, it takes members to go out to the public, because the general public is not inclined to come looking.

I cringe when I see nuclear energy discussed in the newspapers, because invariably they get key points incorrect. Unfortunately, that can have an adverse affect on public policy.

The same goes with science and other engineering disciplines.

Unfortunately, I have seen bad PR from the technical side too. From the technical side, we need to avoid promising more than can be realized, as has been the legacy of nuclear energy.
 
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One of the questions I hear a lot when talking about space exploration, physics and such with people, is “how is this relevant to my life” or “why do we need to spend money on such things”.

The Mauna kea Discovery Center is a good idea, but will it draw enough attention being in the middle of the pacific ocean?

That music concept made me laugh, especially when I read the lyrics. Mc Hawking on the other hand has got the right approach with songs like “F**k the Creationist”
 
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Nereid
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For every astronomer that makes no attempt to educate the public about their work, there's a crackpot (with more time on their hands) willing to fill the void.
Make that 10, or even 100.

On second thoughts, it rather depends on the astronomer's speciality - not too many crackpots interested in http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/9805/9805062.pdf [Broken], for example! :surprised
 
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