UWA SCIENCE COMMUNICATION SEMINAR SERIES- 4th September 2009

Our speaker for next week will be Sean O’Halloran who will be speaking on the topic of his PhD, “The role of scientific expertise in developing legislation addressing drugs and road safety”. 

The story of the implementation of legislation dealing with the effects of drugs on road safety is an interesting case study at the boundary of policy and science. The story helps to demonstrate that science is not always the dominant influence in political decision-making, even when scientific issues affect the assessment of the problem or the solutions proposed.  Technocratic assessments of risk are necessarily balanced by public perceptions of risk, where politicians are under pressure to act, or at least be seen to be acting, to combat perceived threats to community health and safety. Traditional expectations of scientific expertise are also challenged by a 'democratisation' of expertise, where 'appropriate' scientific evidence is considered more important than 'reliable' scientific evidence.  Rhetorical strategies for communicating the many scientific complexities surrounding the effects of drugs on road safety also help to demonstrate the framing of risk, not only of road safety, but in many different contexts - GMO, climate change or uranium mining, for example.  Risks associated with illicit drugs are often framed in value-laden and emotionally charged language where science is co-opted to legitimise problem framing and legitimise invalidated technological solutions.

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THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

WHO: Sean O’Halloran: The role of scientific expertise in developing legislative frameworks

WHEN: Friday September 4, 2009 at 4pm

WHERE: The University of Western Australia, Crawley campus Centre for Learning Technology; Ground floor Physics building, near Fairway entrance #1 Enter via ramp between Physics and Geology, go down stairs to basement.

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REMINDER FOR THIS WEEK…

WHAT: COMM3317 Practicum presentations by Jacqueline McNally (“Behind the Scenes - Producing 'Eyes to Telescopes'”) and Rita Costa ("Inside a Greenie communication campaign: a practicum with Save Our Marine Life")

WHEN: Friday August 28, 2009 at 4pm

WHERE: The University of Western Australia, Crawley campus Centre for Learning Technology; Ground floor Physics building, near Fairway entrance #1 Enter via ramp between Physics and Geology, go down stairs to basement.

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COMING UP

The schedule of upcoming seminars and events can also be found on the UWA Science Communication blog: http://uwasciencecomm.blogspot.com

(Please note that some events later in the semester are still tentative but will be finalised closer to the event date)

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Stephanie Watts
On behalf of the Science Communication Seminar Coordinators
Email: uwasciencecomm@gmail.com
http://uwasciencecomm.blogspot.com