ASTC and Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre, jointly organized an international seminar of science and museum professionals on Science Engagement in Action, held March 20 at Heureka and webcast live. The panel debated the following questions: What are the most challenging issues facing humanity today and into the future? What is the role of science in helping to solve these challenges? What can science centers do to engage citizens in the debate and action needed?
One challenge identified was that society is changing, partly due to networking technologies, and these changes will fundamentally affect the ways in which people behave. The panel discussed the need for science centers to be on top of these trends towards a decentralized, empowered, participatory, and knowledgeable society, engaging citizens by providing a forum where the general public, scientists, and policy makers can meet. Additionally, science centers, now existing mainly in the industrial world, are particularly needed in the developing world and in countries where fundamentalist ideologies impair scientific advancement. It was concluded that science centers play a role in building a sustainable knowledge base in our societies by providing forums for debate and dialogue while fostering a passion for science.
Video of the conference is available here.
About the image: SEA panelists and moderators from left to right:
Rosalia Vargas, Charlie Trautmann, John Falk, Ford W. Bell, Claudie Haigneré, Per-Edvin Persson, Stig Gustavson, Alan Leshner, Lesley Lewis, Anthony Townsend, Marja Makarow. Photo courtesy Saila Puranen/Heureka