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SCIENCE AND ITS PUBLICS

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs (CCEPA) and the Situating Science Knowledge Cluster are sponsoring a multi part series examining the roles of the public in the translation and understanding of the knowledge of science.

This research theme explores how scientists communicate with one another, with their objects, and with the wider world.

The humanistic study of science in Canada has been particularly interested in the material and cultural aspects of scientific and technological exchange, from the interaction of scientists in early modern coffee houses, to public audiences, to that of government scientists and engineers with local fishers or aboriginals, to the development of Canadian science and technology policy. The study of scientific communication expands upon recent work in media theory, the public understanding of science, the transfer of knowledge across societal domains and competing interpretations, demonstration and questions of matters of fact, popularization, science museums, and science in newspapers and journals.

Recent Canadian and international studies of scientific communication have come to question the dominant model of scientific communication under which only isolated researchers produce scientific knowledge, which is later translated (often into simplified and distorted forms) for a lay population. This dominant model often neglects the extent to which translation into new contexts creates new knowledge, something we would seek to emphasize in our cluster research.

Active Canadian research into this theme will, for example, intensify research on how knowledge is articulated in a Canadian and international perspective, and moves within scientific communities on the one hand and between scientists, public groups, and industry on the other


PART 1:
Science and the Media: Lost in Translation

NOVEMBER 9 | HALIFAX | ALUMNI HALL | UNIVERSITY OF KING'S COLLEGE

Renowned science broadcaster Jay Ingram headlines this Atlantic launch of the Science Media Centre of Canada. This presentation is the launch of a multi-part national series on Science and its Publics created by the Situating Science Knowledge Cluster and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs. The event aims to stimulate the conversation about how, what, when and where we receive and understand knowledge of science. The goal of the Science Media Centre of Canada is to increase public engagement with science issues through media coverage of science that is more informed, accurate and incisive.

Panelist: Dr. David Secko, Science Journalist, Department of Journalism, Concordia University
Panelist: Dr. Mary Anne White, University Researcher Professor, Chemistry and Physics, Dalhousie University
Panelist: Pauline Dakin, award-winning National Health and Medical Reporter, CBC
Moderator: Jay Ingram, Science Broadcaster, Discovery Channel

This presentation is supported by the generosity of Genome Atlantic, Halifax Global Inc., Nova Knowledge, Quantum Communications, Dalhousie University, and the School of Journalism at the University of King's College.


PART 2:
Frankenstein in the Public Sphere: Science and the Virtue of Sociability in the British Enlightenment

NOVEMBER 25 | MONTREAL | LEACOCK BUILDING | LEA 232 | MCGILL UNIVERSITY

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein drew attention to the dangers that could arise when a man of science attempted to harness the powers of nature in isolation from the normal moral bonds of society. In the decades before Shelley wrote her novel, the public sphere developed as a condition of scientific activity and sociability was recognized as an epistemic virtue. Shelley's work expressed anxieties about what could happen if these moral imperatives were ignored, anxieties that still resonate with the public today.

Keynote: Dr. Jan Golinski, Chair and Professor, Department of History and Humanities, University of New Hampshire

Respondent: Monique Morgan, Professor, Department of English, McGill University

This presentation is supported by Making Publics Project.


PART 3:
Provenance and the Role of the Public Museum: How the Life Stories of Artifacts Challenge Traditional Accounts of Science and History

MARCH 8 | HALIFAX | MARITIME MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC

Provenance, or the life stories of objects, is one of the foundations of collection work at a museum. It provides depth and meaning to artifacts. It can also be loaded with uncomfortable findings, potential controversy and ethical dilemmas. Science museums have avoided these issues and potential opportunities by not investing in serious provenance research. They have preserved and presented artifacts as general types without reference to their real, material lives and histories. This situation is changing and will have a dramatic impact on how science is understood by the public.

KEYNOTE: Dr. David Pantalony, Curator, Physical Sciences and Medicine, Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Professor, Department of History, University of Ottawa

HALIFAX RESPONDENTS: Robert Bean, Professor, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design;
Dr. Ted Cavanagh, Professor, Architecture, Dalhousie University
This presentation is supported by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic


PART 4
Access Denied: Medicine, Trust, and Experimental Treatments

MARCH 14 | TORONTO | NORTHROP FRYE HALL | VICTORIA COLLEGE | UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Do patients with advanced disease have a right to new and unproven medications? Patient advocates in HIV, cancer, and most recently, multiple sclerosis, have pressed for easing access to experimental therapies. Yet, such efforts come in direct conflict with policies that protect patients from fraudulent or unwarranted health claims. In this public forum, we will examine the intersections of science, patient self-determination, and patient protection.

KEYNOTE: Dr. Jonathan Kimmelman, Associate Professor, Biomedical Ethics Unit, Social Studies of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine McGill University.

PANELISTS: Dr. Kerry Bowman, Bioethicist, University of Toronto and Clinical Ethicist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto; Dr. Daniel Selchen, Chief of Neurology, St. Michael's Hospital, and Consultant, MS Clinic, Toronto; Dr. Anthony Lang, Senior Scientist, Division of Patient Based Clinical Research, Toronto Western Research Institute and Jack Clark Chair, University of Toronto Centre for Research


PART 5:
Facing Uncertainty: Who is Destined for Alzheimer's Disease?

MARCH 23 | SASKATOON | UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN
MARCH 24 | EDMONTON | UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
MARCH 25 | CALGARY| UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY

Alzheimer's disease is increasingly described today as an epidemic, both in professional literature and the media, with estimates of 115 million cases worldwide by 2050. Less visible are the ongoing arguments in the medical world about the entanglement of AD with "normal" aging, and the repeated efforts to delineate what exactly constitutes AD. Following a presentation of the competing medical theories about AD causation and its early diagnosis, I will consider public commentary on AD made by the media, AD societies, and members of the public who have undergone genetic testing to assess risk for late onset AD. It is clear that abiding uncertainty about the relationship among aging, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease are present in both scientific and public discourse, but equally a sense of urgency exists that medicine must find, post haste, a "cure" for this "living death" with its debilitating drain on the economy and on family life.

Saskatoon Panelists:
Keynote: Dr. Margaret Lock, Marjorie Bronfman Professor, Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University
Respondent: TBD

Edmonton Panelists:
Keynote: Dr. Margaret Lock, Marjorie Bronfman Professor, Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University
Respondent: Alex Choby, Post- Doctorate Fellow, Interdisciplinary Studies, Science Technology and Society, University of Alberta

This event is supported by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta.

Calgary Panelists:
Keynote: Dr. Margaret Lock, Marjorie Bronfman Professor, Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University Respondent: Dr. David Hogan, Brenda Strafford Foundation Chair, Geriatric Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary Respondent: Dr. Marc Ereshevsky, Full Professor of Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy, University of Calgary

This event is supported by the Calgary History of Medicine Society (CHOMS); the Science, Technology and Society Program (STAS); the History and Philosophy of Science Program (HPS); and the History of Neuroscience Interest Group (HONIG)



CCEPA is a joint initiative of The Atlantic School of Theology and Saint Mary's University .

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