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Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science is a cross-disciplinary organization founded in 2009 within Stony Brook Universitys School of Journalism, in Stony Brook, New York. Its current director is Laura Lindenfeld. Its goal is to help scientists learn to communicate more effectively with the public, including policymakers, students, funders and the media. It was inspired by Alan Alda, the actor, writer and science advocate, in whose honor it was renamed in 2013, and is supported by Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The Center offers courses in communication that have been taken by more than 200 graduate students in the sciences and health professions at Stony Brook. It also conducts workshops at universities, laboratories and science meetings around the country. Many of its workshops use improvisational theater exercises to help scientists connect more directly with listeners and respond more spontaneously to their needs. In 2012, Alda and the Center issued the "Flame Challenge", asking scientists to come up with the best explanation for a flame for an intended audience of 11-year-olds.

                                               

Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA

The Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA was an influential conference organized by Paul Berg to discuss the potential biohazards and regulation of biotechnology, held in February 1975 at a conference center at Asilomar State Beach. A group of about 140 professionals participated in the conference to draw up voluntary guidelines to ensure the safety of recombinant DNA technology. The conference also placed scientific research more into the public domain, and can be seen as applying a version of the precautionary principle. The effects of these guidelines are still being felt through the biotechnology industry and the participation of the general public in scientific discourse. Due to potential safety hazards, scientists worldwide had halted experiments using recombinant DNA technology, which entailed combining DNAs from different organisms. After the establishment of the guidelines during the conference, scientists continued with their research, which increased fundamental knowledge about biology and the publics interest in biomedical research.

                                               

Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

The Centre for the Public Awareness of Science is part of the Australian National University. In March 2000 it became an accredited Centre for the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.

                                               

Body Worlds

Body Worlds is a traveling exposition of dissected human bodies, animals, and other anatomical structures of the body that have been preserved through the process of plastination. Gunther von Hagens developed the preservation process which "unite subtle anatomy and modern polymer chemistry", in the late 1970s. A series of Body Worlds anatomical exhibitions has toured many countries worldwide, sometimes raising controversies about the sourcing and display of actual human corpses and body parts. Nevertheless, Von Hagens maintains that all human specimens were obtained with full knowledge and consent of the donors before they died, and his organization keeps extensive documentation of this permission. Von Hagens emphasizes both educational and artistic aspects of his complex and innovative dissections, and offers online teaching guides for educators. He also tries to distinguish his efforts from those of competitors who may have been less thorough in obtaining advance permission from their specimen sources.

                                               

Committee on the Public Understanding of Science

The Committee on the Public Understanding of Science or Copus was founded in 1985 by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Institution and the Royal Society. Its aim was to interpret scientific advances and make them more accessible to non-scientists. It played a part in developing the public understanding of science it establishing standards for communicating science and technology The Copus Grant Schemes was set up in 1987 and the last round of grants was for 2003/4. The scheme was funded by the Office of Science and Technology and the Royal Society. 25 grants worth a total of over £750.000 were awarded in 2003/2004. In 2000 The new Copus Council was formed to be a more inclusive partnership for science communication in the UK. In 2002 following a report commissioned by the Office of Science and Technology the Copus Council was discontinued.

                                               

Denialism

In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a persons choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. Denialism is an essentially irrational action that withholds the validation of a historical experience or event, when a person refuses to accept an empirically verifiable reality. In the sciences, denialism is the rejection of basic facts and concepts that are undisputed, well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a subject, in favor of radical and controversial ideas. The terms Holocaust denialism and AIDS denialism describe the denial of the facts and the reality of the subject matters, and the term climate change denial describes denial of the scientific consensus that the climate change of planet Earth is a real and occurring event primarily caused by human activity. The forms of denialism present the common feature of the person rejecting overwhelming evidence and the generation of political controversy with attempts to deny the existence of consensus. The motivations and causes of denialism include religion, self-interest, and defence mechanisms meant to protect the psyche of the denialist against mentally disturbing facts and ideas.

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