Axiomathes 19 (4):401-415 (2009)

The need for European citizens to be more involved in scientific research has emerged from the conclusions of the studies commissioned by the EC and by independent bodies. In the first part of this contribution, I will discuss the question of whether a dialogue between society and science is desirable. I will attempt to claim that at least one of the reasons why the dialogue between science and society should be defended has been underestimated in the course of most of the studies carried out: the fact the scientific knowledge helps to a create a better, more rounded, more aware human being which can only benefit society. Subsequently, I will deal with the various genres of scientific literature. While in modern times, communication of scientific discoveries has been reduced to the article, in the nineteenth century scientists made use of more varied literary forms such as journals, letters and narrative essays which were more accessible to those who were not specialists but nevertheless curious about scientific matters. I believe that these more popular forms of writing helped to close the gap between the public and science.
Keywords History of science  Science and society  Scientific essays  Science writing  Charles Darwin  Alfred Wallace
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-009-9087-y
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