Science is essential to informed decision-making, both in the personal realm and at the national level. The media is the public’s primary source of information on science, technology, and contemporary lines of thought in the social sciences and humanities. The Academy maintains that researchers’ involvement in public science communication is of prime importance for the entire academic system, as it would flourish in a supportive environment in which the intellectual fruits of research are disseminated among the general public that has invested in it.
Recognizing the importance of communicating science in the media and public discourse, the Academy supports the organizational, practical, and research aspects of various science communication measures in Israel. Following are some of its activities in this realm.
The Forum for Science Communication in Israel
Established in 2014, the Forum’s goal is to provide a platform for promoting science communication and identifying specific activities to which Academy and other Forum members can contribute. The full Forum assembles once or twice a year, with activity-specific, smaller task forces meeting throughout the year. Academy member Prof. Dan Shechtman presides over the Forum, which includes representatives from academia, traditional and new media entities, and informal science organizations deeply committed to the topic.
Science Communication Meetings
The Academy, together with the Technion’s Department of Education in Science and Technology, initiated a series of meetings reviewing science discourse in the public domain. The meetings bring together leading communicators and scientists from Israel and foreign science reporters, media researchers, academic policy makers, and science educators, effectively creating a community of science communication practitioners and researchers. The meetings’ unique structure includes, in addition to lectures and panels, workshops and master classes for scientists and communicators.
The 5th conference, “Science, Knowledge, or Opinion,” which was organized in collaboration with the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University, was held in November 2013 and focused on the practical role of Israeli media as a conduit of scientific knowledge to society.
Visits of Foreign Science Reporters and Editors
Wishing to expose Israeli science to international audiences, the Academy arranges visits to Israel of foreign science communicators. The 2013 joint initiative of the Academy, the Jerusalem Press Club, and Mishkenot Sha'ananim brought foreign science journalists, editors, and bloggers from the U.S., Italy, Germany, Guatemala, and Japan to Israel. The group visited Israel’s leading research institutions, met with Nobel Prize laureates, Israel Academy members, and other leading scientists, and explored the SESAME project site in Jordan