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We are, to be categorical, firmly enclosed within the scientific world, whether we like it or not. We cannot allow that the future course of science is diverted because of limited interests and narrow minds. It is our responsibility to break the mould that created these feelings of divided loyalties which we have inherited since the times of Galileo.

Robin Dunbar

The Universitat de València and the Cañada Blanch Foundation signed an agreement on 29th January 2002 to create the Chair of Dissemination and Public Communication for Science (shortened as Chair for Scientific Dissemination). This Chair will deal with the promotion of teaching and research activities as well as public dissemination of scientific knowledge amongst the general public.

Universities play a key role in the debate that has been increasingly growing important in the relation between science and society. With the Chair for Scientific Dissemination, the Universitat de València deals with the issue of scientific and technological dissemination as one of its main priorities. They draw from the premise that scientific dissemination is not only a growing factor for science but a social necessity, a contribution through the increase of the standard of living. As any other sociocultural activity, science must have an impact in economic development and the well-being of the population.

In the words of John Ziman, “science generates knowledge”, but the distance between the creator of knowledge and the general public should be shortened, as well as the gap between society and the scientific community – and scientific dissemination is fundamental in all of this. It goes without a doubt that we are growing more attached to technology, which makes it extremely important to rely on objective, critical and meticulous information about scientific progress. Citizens must hold enough information to judge and form an opinion on these advances, debate in politics and take actions in all these fields. The lack of knowledge and information cannot be tolerated in our society, and the resources addressed to science and technology should be pointed out to the public, as well that the attitude before current topics such as sustainable development, research in stem cells, transgenic food, energy resources and so on.

The different activities intend to sensitize the public and improve the image of science, encouraging all people who have the necessity and vocation to promote participation in scientific knowledge. Scientific dissemination should not only be carried out by a group of researchers because we are all responsible to collaborate in this fundamental task (scientists, educators and professionals). As Jean Marc Lévy-Leblond once said, “doing science is not only researching – a wider gaze is required”.

The main goal of the Unit of Scientific Culture is to achieve than people values science and, above all, participates in scientific thought, understand its main concepts and takes a certain attitudes before it, facilitating a genuine scientific culture. However, the unit will also take care of filling the gaps in our education system and of contributing to a permanent education with courses taught by professionals and highly regarded people.

We will carry out actions as different as exhibitions, documentaries, cinema, talks, conferences, round tables, and activities for secondary education students, calls for awards… Any activity which can set the path for the dissemination of scientific culture.

 

 
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