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Has the 'Public Understanding of Science' movement been bad for science?

In recent years a movement presenting itself under the banner of the 'Public Understanding of Science' has sought to response to a perceived decline in public trust in science and respect for expert opinion.

While it has been able to influence the public programmes of important institutions, it has been less successful in winning the hearts and minds of the public. Perhaps it is setting about its self-appointed task in the wrong way. Perhaps it is doing more harm than good.


Professor Jim Bennett is Director of the Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford, and currently President of the British Society for the History of Science.

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