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Science outreach, also called Education and Public Outreach (EPO or E/PO) or simply public outreach, is an
umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the m ...
for a variety of activities by
research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing research. Research institutes may specialize in basic research or may be oriented to applied research. Although the term often implies natural science ...
s,
universities A university () is an of (or ) and which awards s in several . Universities typically offer both and programs in different schools or faculties of learning. The word ''university'' is derived from the ''universitas magistrorum et scholari ...

universities
, and institutions such as
science museum A science museum is a museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that Preservation (library and archival science), cares for and displays a collection (artwork), collection of artifacts and other ...
s, aimed at promoting public awareness (and understanding) of science and making informal contributions to
science education Science education is the teaching and learning of science to non-scientists, such as school children, college students, or adults within the general public. The field of science education Education is the process of facilitating le ...
.


Scope and history

While there have always been individual scientists interested in educating the public, science outreach has recently become more organized. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
) now requires all of its projects to organize suitable outreach activities. Also working to inform the public are organizations such as Communicating Astronomy to the Public and the Washington Declaration on Communicating Astronomy to the Public that organize conferences for the public on science issues and make efforts to put outreach on a more general institutional footing. Recently, an increasing number of projects have hired designated outreach scientists (part-time or full-time) that handle public relations for their project. There are also specialized outreach providers such as the Education branch of the
Space Science Institute The Space Science Institute (SSI) in Boulder, Colorado The City of Boulder is the List of cities and towns in Colorado#Home rule municipality, Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the List of cities and towns in Colorado, most po ...
in Boulder, Colorado and the Education and Public Outreach Group at
Sonoma State University Sonoma State University (SSU, Sonoma State, or Sonoma) is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership or receives significant Government spending, public funds through a nationa ...
which offer to organize a project's outreach activities on a contractual basis. In addition to outreach by research institutions, an important part of informal science education are outreach programs such as
science museum A science museum is a museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that Preservation (library and archival science), cares for and displays a collection (artwork), collection of artifacts and other ...
s and
science festival Image:Whatitmeans wsf2008.jpg, Panel discussion "What it Means to Be Human" at the 2008 World Science Festival in New York City A science festival is a festival that showcases science and technology with the same freshness and flair that would be ...
s.


Examples of science outreach activities

Science outreach can take on a variety of forms.


Public talks/lectures/discussions

Lectures are probably the oldest form of science outreach, dating back to the 1820s when
Michael Faraday Michael Faraday (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge ...

Michael Faraday
organized the first of the
Royal Institution's
Royal Institution's
Christmas Lectures The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are a series of lectures on a single topic each, which have been held at the Royal Institution in London each year since 1825, missing 1939–1942 because of the Second World War. The lectures present scie ...
. Public talks can be part of a lecture series, given at a
science festival Image:Whatitmeans wsf2008.jpg, Panel discussion "What it Means to Be Human" at the 2008 World Science Festival in New York City A science festival is a festival that showcases science and technology with the same freshness and flair that would be ...
or in cooperation with a special interest group such as a local astronomy club. Public presentations can have a variety of formats, including straightforward lecture formats with or without experimental demonstrations, guided live interviews, and discussions with several participants and a moderator. There are also less formal initiatives such as
Café Scientifique Café Scientifique currently exists in more than 60 towns and cities across the United Kingdom and world-wide. It was the idea of Duncan Dallas, from Leeds, who was impressed by the Café Philosophique session he saw in France. Café Scientifique ...
, in which a café or bar is the venue for regular meetings involving guest scientists that come to talk about their work or take part in discussions with members of the public, and collaborations with museums


Visiting primary and secondary schools

School students and teachers are an important target group for science outreach. Outreach activities can include scientists visiting schools, giving talks at assemblies, discussions with students, or participation in events such as
career fair A job fair, also referred commonly as a job expo or career fair or career expo, is an event in which employers, recruiters, and schools give information to potential employees. Job seekers attend these while trying to make a good impression to p ...

career fair
s and science and technology camps. One organization that focuses on this kind of science outreach is Robogals. Many universities also have science outreach programs that are dedicated to building relationships between high school students, university scientists, and
K–12 K–12 (spoken as "k twelve", "k through twelve", or "k to twelve"), from kindergarten Kindergarten (, ) is a preschool educational approach based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of t ...
teachers. A few of the most prominent university science outreach programs include Carolina Science Outreach, the Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science, the Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program, the Present Your Ph.D. thesis to a 12-Year Old Outreach Project at
University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin, UT, or Texas) is a public university, public research university in Austin, Texas, founded in 1883. The University of Texas was included in the Association of American Universities in 1929. The i ...
in
Austin Austin (, ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices and ...

Austin
, the Discover STEM Polymer Day and Energy and U at the
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organ ...

University of Minnesota
, and the
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
Office of Science Outreach. Using
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
as an example, it has been estimated that with sufficient organization, every classroom from kindergarten through graduation could in practice receive a visit from one or more scientists annually with participation from only 10-15% of the scientific enterprise. Some examples of science outreach programs in Canada include: Let's Talk Science, Actua, The Chemical Institute of Canada, and Science Rendezvous.


Workshops/schools for teachers and/or students

Inviting groups of school students to a research institution for a workshop is another popular form of outreach. Formats range from a one-day visit to more involved week-long events such as
Perimeter Institute Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI, Perimeter, PITP) is an independent research centre in foundational theoretical physics located in Waterloo, Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Can ...

Perimeter Institute
's International Summer School for Young Physicists, a two-week-long programs for a total of a hundred Canadian and international students from grade 11. Another method of science outreach invites school teachers to participate in workshops where they are able to learn effective strategies to engage students in science. This approach was especially embraced by the
Canadian Space Agency The Canadian Space Agency (CSA; french: Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC) is the national space agency of Canada, established in 1990 by the ''Canadian Space Agency Act''. The agency is responsible to the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Econom ...
(CSA) which held an annual "Space Educators" conference up until 2012 to provides teachers with access to resources to educate their students in space-related science.


Supporting science fairs and similar events

Besides organizing independent events, many outreach organizations sponsor existing events that promote sciences awareness. A notable examples are
science fair A science fair is a competitive event, hosted by schools worldwide. The distinguishing characteristic of a science fair is that project entries employ the scientific method to test a hypothesis. Science fairs are not exhibits or mere displays of p ...
s,
public science Public science is a term for research that is conducted amongst, or includes, the public. Two traditions of public science have emerged, one based on participatory action research and another based on science outreach. Participatory action research ...
events in which working scientists can participate both as judges and as sponsors of student projects.


Online aggregation of science activities, resources, and programs

The internet is a rich source of science activities, resources, and programs. For example, research laboratories often maintain educational outreach projects aimed at translating their science into something meaningful for the general public, often
K–12 K–12 (spoken as "k twelve", "k through twelve", or "k to twelve"), from kindergarten Kindergarten (, ) is a preschool educational approach based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of t ...
students, as an effort to increase research broader impacts required by funding agencies such as the
National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group)The Independents were a group of ...

National Science Foundation
(NSF). These may include activities using fast-growing plants that exhibit distinctive mutants with unique
phenotype In genetics Genetics is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular inter ...

phenotype
s useful to teach K–12 students about both
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Mendelian
and
molecular genetics Molecular genetics is a sub-field of biology that addresses how differences in the structures or expression of DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image ...
. Some institutions and organizations maintain large or small aggregations of their activity resources, outreach programs, upcoming events calendars, and partnering programs.


Awards

A number of awards honor commitment to science outreach. Examples include: * Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology,
American Association for the Advancement of Science The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American international non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution ...
* Descartes Prize for Excellence in Science Communication,
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
*
Michael Faraday Prize The Royal Society of London The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a ...
for communicating science to a
UK
UK
audience (
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
) * Communicator award,
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft The German Research Foundation (german: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft ; DFG ) is a Germany, German research funding organization, which functions as a self-governing institution for the promotion of science and research in the Federal Republic ...
* Synapse Mentorship Awards, often given for exceptional contributions to science outreach,
Canadian Institutes of Health Research The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR, french: Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada) is the major federal agency responsible for funding health and medical research in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of Nor ...
* Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach,
American Physical Society The American Physical Society (APS) is a not-for-profit membership organization of professionals in physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motio ...
Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach
/ref> * Charles A. Black Award, for exemplary contributions to public understanding of food and agricultural science *
Kalinga Prize The Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is an award given by UNESCO for exceptional skill in popularization of science, presenting scientific ideas to lay people. It was created in 1952, following a donation from Biju Patnaik, Founder ...
for popularisation of science is an award given by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
since 1952 for exceptional skill in presenting scientific ideas to lay people


See also

* List of Astronomy Outreach Resources in Europe *
Science museum A science museum is a museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that Preservation (library and archival science), cares for and displays a collection (artwork), collection of artifacts and other ...
*
Science festival Image:Whatitmeans wsf2008.jpg, Panel discussion "What it Means to Be Human" at the 2008 World Science Festival in New York City A science festival is a festival that showcases science and technology with the same freshness and flair that would be ...
*
Popular science Popular science (also called pop-science or popsci) is an interpretation of science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predic ...

Popular science
*
Public science Public science is a term for research that is conducted amongst, or includes, the public. Two traditions of public science have emerged, one based on participatory action research and another based on science outreach. Participatory action research ...
*
Physics Outreach Physics outreach encompasses facets of science outreach and physics education, and a variety of activities by schools, research institutes, universities, clubs and institutions such as science museums aimed at broadening the audience for and awarene ...
*
Scientific literacyScientific literacy or science literacy encompasses written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), en ...


References


External links

* Science Communication Observatory
Stanford University Science Outreach Office – links to outreach programs for teachers, students, and the general public




at the
Space Science Institute The Space Science Institute (SSI) in Boulder, Colorado The City of Boulder is the List of cities and towns in Colorado#Home rule municipality, Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the List of cities and towns in Colorado, most po ...

Scientists in education

NASA Science

Science for All Americans
(from the AAAS)
Sonoma State University E/PO group

Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal

International Year of Astronomy 2009

Vanderbilt University Center for Science Outreach

Let's Talk Science

STEMout

Actua

iBiology Free resource for scientists, educators, students and the general public
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Sense About Science
{{Science and the public, state=autocollapse Science in society Science communication