This blog has a ton of readers from the Madison, Wisconsin area. It's not surprising given that the university town is a major international hub for interest in science communication and public affairs.

For Madison-area readers, tonight offers a great opportunity to discuss first hand many of the research principles and arguments that have been made here at Framing Science. My colleague Dietram Scheufele will be giving a presentation titled "Does Science Have a Marketing Problem? The Convergence of Science, Policy & Communication."

Scheufele is a professor of Life Sciences Communication at Wisconsin and co-authored with me last year's cover article at The Scientist magazine (PDF). Details are below. If you can make the presentation and discussion, I can guarantee you it will be well worth it. And following the talk, feel free to log on and leave your thoughts in this comment space.

UW Life Sciences Communication Forum
Special Interests
Lecture series, "Does Science Have a Marketing Problem? The Convergence of Science, Policy & Communication," by Prof. Dietram Scheufele

When: 08/07/08 @ 7:00pm
Cost: Room 1100
Call: 262-1464

More Information:
Summer 2008
1100 Grainger

Google co-founder Larry Page last year bluntly told scientists that they have "a serious marketing problem." While his keynote speech was meant to be provocative his point is well taken. Scientistsoften have a hard time connecting with the general public about the importance of their findings and their relevance for their everyday lives. And this gap widens as new technologies raise ethical, legal, and societal questions for which we have no easy answers. How do we balance the sanctity of life with the great promise of stem cell research? Does the economic and scientific potential of nanotechnology outweigh potential unknown risks? And how can scientists get their information across in public discourse without engaging in public relations wars with interest groups or partisan players in the policy arena?

These issues are not trivial ones. Many citizens look at emerging technologies, such as stem cell research or nanotechnology, as much more than scientific issues. In fact, emerging technologies often have social, legal and ethical implications that many citizens see as much more important than scientific aspects when forming attitudes about science policy and funding. Unfortunately, scientists all too often reject such concerns as irrelevant to the scientific debate and blame them on a lack of understanding of the technical and regulatory facts related to nanotech.

This forum brings together bloggers, scientists, journalists, and social scientists to brainstorm solutions to the marketing problem Larry Page talked about. We will hear from people in policy, media, and academe about campaigns and outreach efforts that worked, issues that remain unresolved, and broader implications for Wisconsin and beyond.