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CERN Hosts Science Communication Conference

Geneva, 24 January 2001. In recent years science communicators and scientists have made an enormous effort to improve the understanding of science and technology amongst the general public. What are the results? Has anything changed?

More than 70 communication professionals will try to answer these questions at the conference "Bridging the gap between theory and practise" which takes place at CERN* on 1-3 February 2001. This conference is promoted and organised by the Public Communication of Science and Technology network (PCST), an international organisation of individuals interested in all aspects of the relationship between science and the public.

More than 250 people from all over the world are expected to attend this event, which will be an important meeting place for communication professionals covering the social, political, technical and cultural aspects of science and technology communication.

Since scientific and technological matters have become more and more important in people's daily lives, demand for information is increasing. This need reflects the fact that science plays a crucial role in many aspects of modern society, such as economic prosperity and government policy.

The PCST conference will offer communication professionals and the CERN scientists the chance to exchange opinions about the present state and future of science communication. The choice of locating the PCST conference at one of the largest scientific laboratories in the world reflects the need to integrate scientists into the communication process. A workshop will be dedicated to institutional science communication and its role in helping people understand the meaning of scientific research.

The state of the art in science and technology communication will be considered from both theoretical and practical angles. The sociological and political aspects of science communication will be covered as well as research and practise in science museums and science centres. Great attention will be dedicated to Web communication, to explore the potential of this new medium.

A public debate, "What does Science do for Society?" ("Que fait la science pour la société?"), will take place at 20.00 hrs on Friday 2 February in the Arditi-Wilsdorf room, 1, avenue du Mail, Geneva. Charles Kleiber, Swiss minister of Science and Research, J.M. Gago, Portuguese Minister of Research, Catherine Cesarsky, Director General of ESO (European Southern Observatory), Alain Vaissade, Mayor of Geneva and Robert Cailliau, co-inventor of the WWW will participate in the discussion. The event is supported by the Ville de Genève, Etat de Genève, Euroscience Léman and the Fondation pour Genève.

For full information please consult the conference website.

All journalists are welcome to attend this conference. Please contact the Press Office on +41 22767 4101 (or 2141) .

1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.