31 May 2011
EuroNanoForum delegates are invited to take part in an interactive workshop on direct communication between scientists and members of the public, where they will discover new ways of engaging with audiences in a debate on nanotechnology. The workshop will offer participants the chance to learn about the results of the Nano to Touch Project, which developed a unique platform for the interaction between scientists and science centre and museum visitors, by creating open nano laboratories where scientists perform their work inside the science centres and museums. Professionals directly involved in the Nano to Touch project will share the knowledge and experience they have gained on communicating with the public. Real life experiences of questions asked by museum visitors, situations that can arise when speaking to non-experts and tips on how best to handle difficult questions about nanotechnology without sacrificing the accuracy of the concept described will be some of the learning points for the participants in this lively workshop. A discussion on the ethical and societal implications, including the communication of risk, in communicating issues related to nanotechnology and its applications to daily life will follow.
1. Paul Hix
Forschung, Deutsches Museum (DE)
The NanoToTouch project
Out of the ivory tower and into the public arena’ – this could be the unofficial motto of the NanoToTouch project. In this EU-funded project young researchers conduct their work live in the midst of the exhibitions whilst answering questions and engaging the visitors in discussion. Not only does this offer an insight into the making of science, it also gives the opportunity to enquire into the individual motives of the young researchers. After a short presentation of the project, delegates are invited to take part in an interactive workshop on direct communication between scientists and members of the public.
2. Alessandro Podesta
Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces
Department of Physics, University of Milano (IT)
One year of scientific research and communication in the public place: a first assessment
One year has passed since the inauguration of the OpenNanoLab for the study of nanomaterials for energy applications at “Leonardo da Vinci” Museum of Science and Technology in Milano, Italy. This interesting experience, matured within the NanoToTouch EU-FP7 project, will be reported from the point of view of the scientists involved, and a first balance of its impact on the broad public will be drawn.
3. Dr David J Bennett
Delft University of Technology (NL)
Of nanosafety, public opinion, codes of conduct and communication
While the general public in Europe are reasonably optimistic about nanotechnology and its safety and think it should be encouraged, as the Eurobarometer: Europeans and Biotechnology 2010 survey report shows, the vast majority say they have not heard about it. They also consider scientists, whether in academic or industrial laboratories, best qualified to explain the impact of scientific and technological developments on society. In 1998 the European Commission launched its code of conduct for research in nanotechnology to be implemented by EU countries. Effective engagement of the public and policy makers in its development, especially by scientists, is the major challenge which nanotechnology faces.
Senior Project Manager
Ecsite- the European network of Science Centres and Museums (BE)
tel. +32 – 2- 649 7383