Biomedicine in museums

Was there science communication in the days before Twitter?

By December 1, 2011 No Comments

It’s easy to become so enthusiastic about the power of web-based media for science communication that one sometimes forgets that science could actually, in some mysterious ways, be communicated even in the age before World Wide Web, blogs and Twitter.

Overly enthusiasm calls for historical reflection — which is exactly what the organisers of the second annual Anglo-French Conference on Scientific Communication and its History, to be held in Paris 9-10March next year, will do when they invite to discussions about the communication of science and technology from the Renaissance to the present:

Technological developments—from the invention of printing with movable type to the postal network, from the railway timetable to the electric telegraph, from the telephone to e-mail—have profoundly influenced the nature of scientific communication and the structure and practice of science.

The conference will be organised around four themes:

  • print and text, e.g.: “the transition from manuscript to print-based communities and practices; popular press and the scientific journalist; printing technology, scientific journals and the emergence of disciplines; electronic texts, authorship and new modes of publication; translation and transmission”
  • correspondence, e.g.: “the role of the corresponding secretary in early scientific societies; centre and periphery; 18th-century postal networks and the transmission of knowledge; email and accountability”
  • networks and gatherings, e.g.: “science and sociability—courts and salons, cabinets of curiosity and coffee houses; organising the first international conferences; the advancement of science movement, leisure and the railway; network formation and the structuring of research”
  • non-print media, e.g.: “surveying, observing and telegraphic communication; science in film, film in science; radio and television science journalism; social media and the anti-science movement”

Proposals for 30 minutes presentations in English or French — doctoral students are only allowed to give 15 minute presentations (is that really a good idea?) — shall be sent to Muriel Le Roux ( before 15 January 2012.

(read about the first conference here).

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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