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Thursday, November 2 • 15:30 - 17:00
504-510 – Changing perceptions: engaging the public with scientists in the era of alternative facts/ Changer les perceptions : susciter la participation du public auprès des scientifiques en période de faits alternatifs

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Panel Organizers: Jesse Rogerson, Canada Aviation Space Museum and Stephanie Deschenes, Canadian Association of Science Centres

According to the report Science Culture Canada (Council of Canadian Academies,2014),Canadians in general have a very positive attitude toward science and technology. With42% of us having a basic level of scientific literacy, Canada is ranked first among 35 countries.However, a later survey by the Ontario Science Centre found that, though most Canadiansbelieve they are science literate and use science to form opinions, a high proportion said theyfelt that the science of climate change is unclear (35%), that vaccines are linked to autism (18%)and that genetically modified organisms are not good for our health (57%). In this time of“alternative facts,” it is more important than ever to engage citizens in the understanding of thescientific process by which facts are established.

Classically, museums and science centres would showcase, through exhibits, artifacts, andprogramming, various scientific principles and phenomenon. The classic scientific researchinstitutions would employ scientists to develop their research and answer fundamental orapplied scientific questions. The gap between knowledge generation and knowledge transferpartially contributes to misconceptions in the public’s mind about who scientists are, how theyemploy the scientific method to answer questions, and how modern scientific research is carriedout. In an effort to reduce this metaphorical and physical gap between scientific inquiry and thepublic, many cultural institutions have begun developing programs that incorporate scientistsinto the museum experience.

This session will look at how Canada’s science centres and museums a) use the science behindscience communication to encourage audiences to look deeper at the plethora of informationavailable to form opinions based on fact; b) develop partnerships with other STEM-basedorganizations, the research community, academia and industry to engage Canadians of all ageswith an end goal of increasing science literacy; and c) demonstrate how delegates can developsimilar partnerships to help battle the era of “alternative facts” using solid science.

avatar for Dr. Jesse Rogerson

Dr. Jesse Rogerson

Science Advisor, Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Jesse Rogerson is an avid science communicator, particularly in the fields of astronomy, aviation, and space sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from York University in 2016. While there, he contributed heavily to the education and public outreach programming at the University’s... Read More →

avatar for Dr. Chantal Barriault

Dr. Chantal Barriault

Director, Science Communication Graduate Program, Laurentian University and Science North
Dr. Barriault leads the only Science Communication Graduate Program of its kind in Canada, offered jointly by Laurentian University and Science North. She spent most of her early career working at Science North where she led many science communication projects. Now a master lecturer... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Marianne Mader

Dr. Marianne Mader

Managing Director, Royal Ontario Museum
Dr. Marianne Mader is a Planetary Scientist, Science Communicator, a Managing Director at the Royal Ontario Museum, and Co-Founder of the STEAMLabs community makerspace in Toronto. At the ROM, Marianne develops engagement strategies, leading multidisciplinary initiatives to help people... Read More →
avatar for Stephanie Deschenes, she/her

Stephanie Deschenes, she/her

COO | Directrice des opérations, Canadian Association of Science Centres, L'Association canadienne des centres de sciences
avatar for Dr. Rachel Ward-Maxwell

Dr. Rachel Ward-Maxwell

Research/Programmer, Astronomy and Space Science, Ontario Science Centre
Dr. Rachel Ward-Maxwell received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from McMaster University. During her academic career she has consistently developed new and interesting outreach initiatives, such as within the York University Astronomical Observatory and Sidewalk Astronomy with McMaster... Read More →

Thursday November 2, 2017 15:30 - 17:00 EDT
ROOM 210 Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J2