Our contemporary life is governed by scientific information. Debates on the safety of genetically modified food or the efficacy of "natural" supplements to fight off depression or swine flu have caused a feeling of insecurity among the general public. Global warming and medicine are forcing us to re-think how we want to live, get older, and die.
In Japan the media have inundated the general public with many scientific jargons that are totally unfamiliar to them especially after the accident of the nuclear reactor in Fukushima on 3.11. Along with them a number of "science experts" appeared on TV or newspapers. While many of them were genuinely attempting to be objective, with so little information available in the immediate aftermath of the disasters, their analyses were often speculative and contradictory for the viewers to be convincing.
At the symposium we will debate: What is needed to establish the credibility of scientific matters that are discussed in society so that the general public can make informed decisions about how they live? Governments with a system to analyze all the scientific information that is pertinent to the public? Mass media with capacity to enlighten the public using their own scientific insights? Media-savvy scientists who can communicate without resorting to jargons? Or, could it be just a matter of "science-literacy" on the part of the general public?
In this symposium, scientists, representatives of research-based companies and journalists from Germany and Japan will discuss the way science and society should communicate and come up with recommendations on what each stakeholder in science communication should do to enable the public to act on reliable information rather than groundless rumors even at times of emergency.