LSC students are learning the impacts scientific breakthroughs have on the interface of science and technology in LSC 251, “Science, Media, and Society” taught by Dietram A. Scheufele, John E. Ross Chair in Science Communication.
“We live in a world where scientific breakthrough such as nanoscience or synthetic biology bring applications to the marketplace much quicker than ever before,” said Scheufele. “These applications raise ethical, legal and societal questions that are sometimes difficult to answer. Do we, for example, want to produce one-inch chemically propelled nano-drones that allow us to do surveillance anywhere?”
The questions proposed in Scheufele’s class are current and relevant to students taking his course.
“LSC 251 is preparing me for this type of world by showing me the communication problems in the interactions between science, media, and the public as well as the overall mechanisms driving these interactions,” said LSC sophomore Scott Hennelly.
This class was designed as a requirement for LSC majors and gives prospective LSC undergraduates a chance to see what the major is all about.
“Since this is an intro class, it gives me a good idea of the challenges that I am likely to encounter as I take future LSC classes,” said Hennelly.
This class is open to all majors, “this year we have students from CALS, the College of Engineering, L&S, and a number of other colleges,” said Scheufele. “It’s exciting and makes for a very diverse set of viewpoints in the online and offline discussions.”
Students learn the importance of communicating science through different outlets and keeping up with technology, such as the social media platform Twitter. “Can science be communicated in 140 characters or less?” asked Scheufele.
As the class tackles many issues from ‘how do we make sense of new technologies without fully understanding them?’ to ‘how can citizens participate in these processes?” LSC 251 helps students discuss the importance of communicating.
“Unless we sort out the issues we discuss in 251 as a country, we’ll face an uphill battle as far as tech transfer and our global leadership in terms of science and society are concerned,” stated Scheufele.
As for Hennelly, “I hope to learn communication tools that are currently being used by the media to communicate science, the challenges they face, and the solutions to those problems.”
Article written by Lauren Etter, Undergraduate Digital Marketing Strategist.