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National Academy of Science hosting Sackler Colloquium on the science of science communication

The National Academy of Sciences is hosting an intensive two-day Sackler Colloquium 21-22 May in Washington, DC, to survey state-of-the-art research on science communication and to consider its implications for governance, policy, and public engagement.

The Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia address scientific topics of broad and current interest that cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. Each year, three to four colloquia are scheduled, typically two days in length and international in scope. Papers resulting from Sackler colloquia are often published as a collection in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Anyone who has followed the public dialogue on such topics as evolution, stem cell research, or climate change knows how daunting effective science communication can be. Discussions over science are often freighted with cultural, political, and moral perspectives, making the task of communicating scientific ideas even more challenging. However, a constellation of social science disciplines—from decision science to mass communication, from psychology to sociology—is converging on a new “science of science communication.” Research stretches across disciplinary boundaries, university departments, funding agencies, and scholarly journals, is debated in the media and on blogs, and has been the focus of several best-selling books.

Highlights of the Sackler Colloquium include:

  • Presentations by leading scientists summarizing the state of knowledge in their fields.

  • A keynote address by Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, author of the top-selling Thinking, Fast and Slow.

  • A roundtable featuring current and former White House Science Advisors John Holdren, Jack Gibbons, and Neal Lane.

  • Discussions led by Arizona State University president Michael Crow, New York Times journalist David Pogue, and PBS NOVA executive producer Paula Apsell.

The colloquium is intended to provide an opportunity for all scientists to improve their understanding of the public and address its information needs; for scientists in contributing disciplines to meet and learn from colleagues in other disciplines; and for communication practitioners to enhance their knowledge of the state of the science.


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