From 2 November 2020, the autumn semester 2020 will take place online. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence.
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851-0107-00L  Science and the Public: A Problem of Mediation that the Media Have to Solve?

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersU. J. Wenzel
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionGerman


AbstractWhat can, what should, what do "laymen" want to know and understand from scientific findings? How and what is "conveyed" in reporting on science? Does science journalism have to follow scientific criteria? How do the natural sciences differ from the humanities and social sciences in terms of "comprehensibility" and public visibility?
ObjectiveGaining insights into the relationship between the sciences, the public and the media, into their historical development and current problems - with particular reference to the "Wissenschaftsfeuilleton".
ContentThe feuilleton of the «Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung» of 27 June 2000 has gone down in the annals of recent media history. The last sequences of the fully mapped human genetic code were printed on six large-format pages: the letters A, G, C and T in various combinations and sequences - a «readable » but incomprehensible jumble of letters. What at the time was astounding journalistic coup and met with enthusiasm as well as head shaking can (also) be read as an allegory of the tense relationship between science and the public. What can, what should, what do «laymen» want to know and understand from scientific findings? What role do the media play, does science journalism play in this? How and what is «conveyed» in reporting on scientific findings? And does science journalism have to follow scientific criteria in such reporting? How do the natural sciences, medicine and technology differ from the humanities and social sciences in terms of «comprehensibility» and public awareness? Are we really dealing with two diverging «science cultures» - and two different ways of presenting them in the media?
These questions will be explored on some excursions into recent and also older media, scientific and cultural history.