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National Research Council (US) Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Chemistry in Primetime and Online: Communicating Chemistry in Informal Environments: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.

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Chemistry in Primetime and Online: Communicating Chemistry in Informal Environments: Workshop Summary.

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The Chemical Sciences Roundtable (CSR) was established in 1997 by the National Research Council. It provides a science-oriented apolitical forum for leaders in the chemical sciences to discuss chemistry-related issues affecting government, industry, and universities. Organized by the National Research Council’s Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, the CSR aims to strengthen the chemical sciences by fostering communication among the people and organizations—spanning industry, government, universities, and professional associations—involved with the chemical enterprise. One way it does this is by organizing workshops that address issues in chemical science and technology that require national or more widespread attention.

In May 2010, the CSR organized a workshop on the topic “Chemistry in Primetime and Online: Communicating Chemistry in Informal Environments.” The one-and-a-half-day workshop was held to

  • Examine science content, especially chemistry, on television, on the Internet, in museums, and in other informal educational settings,
  • Explore how the public obtains scientific information, and
  • Discuss methods chemists can use to improve and expand their efforts to reach a general, nontechnical audience.

Specific consideration was given to the rapid changes taking place in mass media communication and the opportunities that interactive web technologies may provide scientists in developing and distributing materials for informal education. Means of measuring recognition and retention of the information presented in various media formats and settings was also discussed.

Workshop participants included chemical practitioners (e.g., graduate students or postdocs, professors, administrators); informal learning experts; public and private funding organizations; science writers, bloggers, publishers, and university communications officers; and television and web producers.

This document summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop. In accordance with the policies of the CSR, the workshop did not attempt to establish any conclusions or recommendations about needs and future directions, focusing instead on issues identified by the speakers and workshop participants. In addition, the organizing committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop. The workshop summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur Tina Masciangioli as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop.

Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK91476


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