Issue 4


In this issue there are two papers on different aspects of science education. Michael Martin looks at the tension between different philosophical positions on science and how this spills over into the education of science students. In promoting a view of science put forward by Bas van Fraassen, where empirical adequacy rather than truth is important, he highlights the need to investigate how much of what is learnt by students is transferable to actual scientific practice after they have left the classroom.

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick summarizes findings from an investigation into how students’ concepts in science change as a result of taking history of science courses. He finds that teaching must be well-targeted and actively engage the student in ideas about the nature of science. Courses in History of Science do not, in themselves, necessarily promote understanding in science, especially if lessons about the nature of science are embedded or implied by the historical narrative.

Breaking down barriers is one of the most important aspects of improving communication between scientists and other groups – particularly the press. Jenni Metcalfe and Toss Gascoigne have been running for many years Media Skills Workshops, which bring scientists and journalists together. Their paper details the benefits to all parties and to science generally of improving attitudes between scientists and the press.

One way to study something is to study it in its pathological state. For communication this would be “deception”. There are many different forms of and degrees of deception, and in science communication we cannot say that no form ever occurs. Magda Osman discusses deception in terms of general notions of rationality.

Nigel Sanitt


Constructive Empiricism and Science Education Michael Martin
History and Nature of Science: Active Transport might work but Osmosis does not! Fouad Abd-El-Khalick
Media Skills Workshops: Breaking down the barriers between scientists and journalists Jenni Metcalfe and Toss Gascoigne
How rational is deception? Magda Osman