Science has been communicated to the public ever since it was professionalized in the early 19th century. The original communicators were the scientists themselves and the objective was to illustrate the value of scientific innovation to society. This remains a major objective but others have been added, most notably assuring a continuous supply of young people with scientific and technical skills to enter the job market. The communications infrastructure has also diversified with the creation of Science Centre networks, and now annual Science Festivals across many countries.
This presentation will draw on thirty years’ experience at the cutting edge of science communication to illustrate and explore how it has evolved and where it might be heading in the future.
Frank Burnet was appointed the first Professor of Science Communication in the UK in 2002 and became the founding director of the Cheltenham Science Festival in that year. In 2004, he led the team that launched the Bristol based Masters in Science Communication. He set up his own Consultancy in 2009 which has since worked in the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, and across Europe. In 2010 he was awarded an Emeritus Professorship of Science Communication.