Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Education

Experts say scientists have key role in public education

By Zhang Yangfei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-19 10:22
Share - WeChat

Scientists bear responsibility for promoting science literacy in society and should be more engaged in communicating their knowledge to the public, experts said during the World Conference on Science Literacy on Monday in Beijing.

"The world is changing fast, and we have a whole new population that needs to understand these changes. Scientists and engineers should help people cope with the changes and give them tools so they can know what will happen and be prepared to react," said Martyn Poliakoff, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and research professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham.

According to Poliakoff, the internet is one of the most useful ways to distribute scientific information, but scientists need to find reliable ways to help people judge which information is correct and more trustworthy.

Poliakoff said it should be made clear that science is not political opinion and that it should be judged based on solid answers. Thus it is important to teach people how to judge based on the weight of the evidence whenever different arguments arise in scientific findings.

Nils Vagstad, director-general of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, said there are gaps between experts, policymakers and ordinary people that might result in a lack of trust from the public, especially when the science involves topics such as food security or the environment, which many people are especially concerned about.

He said it is scientists' responsibility to be more engaged in transmitting the ideas and findings of science to the public, to break pseudoscience and play a role in policymaking to restore people's confidence in science.

Larry Awosika, a member of the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, said it's important for scientists to be involved in politics to prevent politicians and policymakers from making decisions without enough scientific input.

"They have the responsibility to participate actively in politics, policy formulation and implementation, and to ensure the science is communicated publicly to address real needs in local communities," he said.

He added that scientists should avoid using jargon and should make their scientific findings available in easy and comprehensible language adapted to their audience's culture and traditions.

Rao Zihe, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and honorary president of the Biophysical Society of China, said the past few years have seen significant growth in science interest, and the platforms popularizing science have shifted from educational organizations only - museums, research institutes and universities - to more companies and digital platforms.

Rao suggested scientific institutions and universities should be more open to the public, invite more people to visit to experience science in person and set up social media accounts to spread professional, high-quality scientific information.

"The popularization of science is equally as important as scientific and technological innovation. I hope more scientists will participate in communicating science, because the improvement of science literacy requires their hard work and support," he said.


Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349