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Envisioning Tomorrow’s Earth (During a Rather Different Yesterday): Some Highlights of the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting

Abstract

Standing-room-only sessions. Crowds at receptions and forums. Clusters of people viewing exhibits and posters. Children, parents, and grandparents thronging to Family Science Days. Such was the 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Washington, on February 13–16. Themed, perhaps ironically, “Envisioning Tomorrow’s Earth,” the meeting occurred at a time very different from that weeks later, when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and organizations worldwide postponed their conferences or moved them online. The annual meeting content, which spanned many areas of science and its context, retains relevance, however. The current report presents highlights of some sessions on topics that are likely to interest science editors and others involved in the communication of science. Communicating Science Seminar A daylong seminar on communicating science preceded the formal opening of the annual meeting. The following sections discuss some highlights. In addition to the sessions summarized, the seminar included another plenary session, titled “Building Community for Inclusive Public Engagement with Science,” and other breakout sessions. Further information, including videos, is available at https://www.aaas.org/programs/annual-meeting/2020-communicating-science-seminar.1 Engaging with the Media on Science-Society Topics By Barbara Gastel This plenary session brought together researchers and practitioners to discuss communicating about science via popular media. It began with 3 presentations. Open discussion occupied the last half of the session. Robin Nabi, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, spoke on the role of emotion in influencing reactions to science news. She noted that although journalism research has focused largely on the cognitive aspect of […]

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