Invitation to SCI’s FREE Public Evening Lecture:
Caroline van den Brul MBE
The Story of Science Communication through the Lens of the BBC
Wednesday 27 November 2019
- Science communication (SciComm) plays a critical role in informing the public on important but complex topics in an accurate, accessible and engaging way
- Renowned science communicator Caroline van den Brul MBE will explore challenges of SciComm
- Scientists have increasingly become directly involved in communicating science to the public
Thanks in part to scientists embracing public outreach, science is central to our cultural landscape today. But not long ago, public narratives of scientists were largely controlled not by scientists, but by TV producers. In the 1970s, science on the BBC was the domain of a few dozen producers, who brought us classic programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and Horizon. These programmes inspired many to pursue careers in science, but the driving force for BBC commissioners was entertainment, not education.
As viewing figures for these series made the public interest in science clear, scientific programming moved into the mainstream, and significant additions to the output followed. Gradually, the process of science, its personalities and issues became legitimate topics of public interest and scrutiny. Demands were made on scientists to explain and debate the significance of their work – while television executives, accustomed to being called to account over perceived political bias, were now under attack for misinterpretation and misrepresentation of evidence in subjects such as brain death and BSE.
Using programme clips and illustrations from her research paper, Perceptions of Science, Caroline van den Brul MBE will look at the challenges and rewards of balancing information, education, entertainment, and statistics when communicating science to the public.
About the speaker
Caroline van den Brul MBE had a distinguished 30-year career with the BBC as a programme maker and as the creativity leader for an ambitious culture-change programme. Her credits include Tomorrow’s World, Horizon, Meet the Ancestors and the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. She is now a narrative skills coach, specialising in helping scientists communicate their ideas and the value of their work to colleagues, the public and funders. She has published a paper, Perceptions of Science: How Scientists and Others View the Media Reporting of Science, and is also the author of Crackle and Fizz: Essential Communication and Pitching Skills for Scientists. Since April 2017, Caroline has been a Trustee of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Date for your diary: Wednesday 27 November 2019
Venue: SCI HQ, 15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS
Reception opens at 18.00 and the lecture starts at 18.30. This is a free event.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About SCI: where science meets business
The Society of Chemical industry (SCI) is a learned society, established in 1881 specifically to promote the application of science into industry for the benefit of the public. SCI’s founders were scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs who went on to form industrial businesses at the heart of the 20th Century Industrial Revolution. The society is unique, being a multi-science, multi-disciplinary, and international community. SCI today continues to work at the interface between science and industry, conducting a range of activities that focus on supporting innovation and the commercialisation of science.