Fakultät für Soziologie

Research Focus 1: Science and the Media - Public Understanding of Science

The Meaning of the Media for the Reputation of Scientists

One of the indicators of the independence of the media is that although they orient themselves in their reporting on science to scientific reputation, which they take as a sign of reliability and competence of the scientists. They depart from it and create media prominence for certain scien-tists. This project with students focused on the growing impact of media prominence of scientists on the reputation of such media stars in science. Results of the project are on the internet ( http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/iwt/mw/lf/). A special case, the German media coverage of the Goldhagen debate, is published in:

Recent Publications:Weingart,P., & Pansegrau,P. (1999): Reputation in Science and Prominence in the Media - The Goldhagen Debate. Public Understanding of Science, 8, 1, 1-16.
in German: Weingart,P., & Pansegrau,P. (1998): Reputation in der Wissenschaft und Prominenz in den Medien: Die Goldhagen-Debatte. Rundfunk und Fernsehen, Sonderband: Die Medien der Wissenschaft(2-3), 193-208.

Public Understanding of Science and Technology

The aim of this project is to establish the field of research and study of ,Public Understanding of Science' at the University of Bielefeld. The main activities are to initiate research on the changing relationship between science and the media, to promote and carry out teaching of respective courses for graduate students, to provide practical experiences by acquiring and coordinating internships for students, and to initiate the communication between scientists and journalists. This project is funded by the Ministry of Science and Research of Northrhine-Westfalia for the period 2000-2003. It provides for two doctoral fellowships.

Recent Publications:Weingart,P. (1999): Aufklärung von oben oder Pflege des Dialogs - die plötzliche Entdeckung von Public understanding of science in Deutschland.  (3), 64-67
Weingart,P. (1998): Science and the media. Research Policy, 27(8), 869-879

Science in Film

Film and Television as the most influential media have attained a crucial position in shaping public perception. Implicitly, and sometimes even explicitly, they compete with science in setting the agenda on major issues of policy relevance. This function of media in general has been recognized by scientists, this function of film in particular is rarely appreciated. The aim of the project is to study systematically the treatment of science in feature films, way in which to explore the filmmakers translate popular perceptions of science into film plots and the mechanism which shape their own perceptions about the world of science, their decisions to represent this world in stereotypical ways. Research is directed to a) setting up a comprehensive data bank of movies that treat science, the results and/or the process of research and the actions and motives of scientists, b) constructing interpretative schemes that allow inter-individually reliable analysis of the patterns of depicting science in film.


  • 25 Seitenaufrufe seit dem 25.9.2009