Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Council promotes science with a new radio program


Believing that popularized scientific information is the driving force behind a knowledge-based economy, the National Science Council (NSC) plans to launch a mass media program later this month to help ordinary people better understand the world of science.

Wei Che-ho (魏哲和), minister for the NSC, said at a press conference yesterday that people's daily lives have been deeply influenced by ongoing scientific and technological developments. To most laypeople, however, the technical terms used to describe the developments are incomprehensible.

"Our new science education program will translate scientific jargon into plain language, shortening the distance between the public and scientific development," Wei said.

According to Lin Fou-lai (林福來), director of the council's Department of Science Education, the program -- Science 180 -- was jointly designed by both scientists and communication experts.

The program gets its name from the 180-second segments that are to be broadcast on the radio.

The lessons will cover different areas of scientific research -- including genetics, bio-ethics, semiconductors, information technology, ecological conservation, environment, astronomy, physics and nanotechonolgy.

All 180-second segments will be broadcast between the end of this month and early March by contributing media agencies, including Best Radio (好事聯播), GoldFM, National Education Radio, Police Radio Station, and Public Television Service (PTS).

Chao Ya-ly (趙雅麗), the project investigator and associate professors of mass communication at Tamkang University said that Science 180 can be a useful tool for the blind to learn science.

According to PTS, related teaching materials for Science 180 will be available to all elementary schools and high schools so that the program can be used in the classroom.

To ensure the quality of teaching materials, science teachers at leading high schools have been involved in the project, as has Sun Wei-hsin (孫維新), an associate professor at the Institute of Astronomy of National Central University.

Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗), vice president of Academia Sinica, said that science education is important in a civil society.

"We should review the relationship between science and the humanities all the time," Tzeng said.

Media representatives attending the press conference said that the task of the communicators is to persuade the public to regard science as part of their cultural environment.

"When conveying scientific knowledge to the public, mass media should play the role of supervisor -- reviewing the relationship between it and democratic cultivation or it and cultural preparation," said Chang Ta-chun (張大春), a well-known novelist and radio news program host.

Chang said that having specialized scientific understanding become common knowledge in a civil society takes a long time.

He said that the government's promotion of science education should be well thought-out and not be just an improvisation.

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