Improving the Public Understanding of Science
In response, several initiatives have emerged from the science research community to engage the public and improve public understanding about how science works, why it matters, and who scientists are. Two such initiatives welcome participation from the geoscience community. (1) The Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots effort whose goal is to engage sectors of the public in science to increase their understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. A primary activity of COPUS is the Year of Science 2009 a national, year-long celebration of science. (2) Coordinating with COPUS, Understanding Science is an NSF-funded, collaborative project of the University of California, Berkeley and the Museum of Paleontology. At its core is a freely accessible website that provides an accurate portrayal of how science really works and how to incorporate this process into our teaching. Unfortunately, many textbooks encourage impoverished and uninspired views of science. This project offers a new approach for K-16 teachers.