After being a high school science teacher for four years, Isabelle has worked in the field of science communication and outreach at various cultural institutions in Canada and Australia. Isabelle has produced and managed multiple science communication and education initiatives including National Science and Technology Week (Canada), Ultimo Science Festival and the Mars Lab, a world-class STEM education program. In her current role, Isabelle manages the Sydney Science Festival, an annual festival that engages people of all ages in celebrating and appreciating science.
Isabelle has recently embarked on a PhD at the University of New South Wales in the Faculty of Science. Her research aims to understand and measure the effectiveness of science communication events in achieving their objectives of improving participants’ understanding, attitudes and perceptions of science.
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How does this session contribute to Seeing Science Differently?
My research suggests that the key to seeing science differently is to present science differently.
The public (i.e.: non-scientists/laypersons) have misconceptions about science and scientific practice and these misconceptions impact not only their ability to understand science but their trust in science and scientists and their attitudes to its relevance and value to society. My research suggests that in order to improve understanding, attitudes and perceptions of science, publics need to ‘see science differently’—the true nature of science rather than the misconceptions that have been formed from school science and the media. Rather than solely focussing on the wonders and excitement of science, or on content and interesting findings and discoveries, science communication activities need to also emphasise how science is practiced and be more open and honest about its uncertain and evolving nature. By providing better insights into science, science communication activities can help publics see science differently and incidentally improve understanding, attitudes and perceptions of science.