Role of communication in popularization of science

Role of communication in popularization of science

Communication is the mode of sharing thoughts, information, emotion and ideas through gesture, voice, symbols, signs and expressions from one person to another. Three things are most important and essential in any communication process i.e. communicator, receiver and the medium. Communication is of four types basically: Intra personal communication where a person is interacting himself or busy in self-assessment, Interpersonal communication where two persons are interacting, Group communication where more than two people are interacting and Mass communication where some information is shared with mass by the communicator.

Mass communication is the basic building block of popularization of science to the common people. Scientific community publishes their work in peer reviewed scientific journals of repute, they write text books, commentaries and other scientific writings but the target audience or readers of this information are a very limited number of people who have advanced knowledge of science. Various scientific researches are going on a routine basis which have significant impact on the life of common man but which is not easy to understand by common people. A huge gap is still existing between the science, scientific community and the masses. Bridging this gap can do wonders in the life of the common man. However, there is only one way to bridge this gap which is communication of science among masses in a more simplified manner that anyone can understand. Popularization of science is of utmost importance as generating scientific temperament in Indian citizens is one of the fundamental duties. There are various ways of communicating science i.e., pictographic, cartooning, storytelling, advertisements, print media, digital media, seminars, workshop, blog writing, outreach activities for common people etc. These ways are completely depending on the type of target audiences, for example, the Indian population comprises a vast variety of receivers or audiences – uneducated, less educated, subject specific and people who understand regional languages only. In these circumstances it is a huge responsibility of a communicator that the information should be delivered in a manner which is acceptable to all the groups.

It has been largely observed that Indian students fail to digest the basic science knowledge and therefore the focus should be on grass-root investment for teaching science at school level. Often, informal learning and self-learning have been the major sources of acquiring scientific knowledge. So on the lines of developed countries like the USA, Canada, UK, etc., India needs to initiate more sources of science exposure like broadcast programmes, museums, etc., in order to increase public understanding of science. Government has taken various initiatives to communicate science to common people of India for example establishment of agencies like National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) for communicating science and technology, National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) which provides an opportunity for children age group of 10-17 years to utilize their scientific temperament and knowledge to achieve their goals, Vigyan Prasar to promote and propagate scientific and rational outlook and to act as a resource-cum-facility centre for S&T communication. Similarly, development of Science Museums, Science Centres and Science Cities at various places of the country showcasing contemporary and imaginative exhibits, minds on experiences, working models, virtual reality, activity corners, labs and live demonstrations to provide an understanding of science and technology to the common man and school going children. Institutions like NISCAIR are doing great in communicating science at grass root level. Another interesting means of communication in popularizing science is celebrating important science days as festivals e.g., National Science Day, National Technology Day where conferences or theme based exhibitions offer an opportunity to young talents to share their knowledge and learn more.

One of the very important modes of communication nowadays is digital media and social platforms where the scientific fraternity is directly interacting with the masses via their blogs and providing a very effective platform where a lot of scientific information is available to learn. Keeping all the above in consideration, it is now clear that the role of communication by all means is well understood for the popularisation of science among masses.–

Dr. Anu Singh

School of Biotechnology

Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi-110067



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