This grant funds a two-year study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) to help improve our understanding of public attitudes to science—especially how people encounter science in everyday life—and to suggest ways to improve outreach, particularly to underserved communities. This effort is part of a three-year Academy initiative, The Public Face of Science, to address various elements of the relationship between scientists and the public.
The AAAS team will first compile data on public engagement with science, broadly defined to include watching film, theater, and other storytelling media with science and technology themes, as well as attendance at zoos, aquaria, and science museums, and use of the internet and social media to access scientific content. After conducting and publishing the baseline study, the AAAS will commission six papers from leading researchers to identify gaps in the existing data and ways to address them, with an emphasis on reaching underserved communities. These six papers will be presented and discussed at an Academy workshop in 2017, which will then generate a final report with recommendations for addressing gaps.