Aliyah Weinstein's Influence Of The Public Perception Of Science

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In a recent article published by the American Society for Cell Biology, scientist Aliyah Weinstein (2014) argues that the public perception of the contemporary scientist has “spilled over into the practice of science in the laboratory and the focus of research that is performed”. According to Weinstein (2014), these perceptions have largely been informed by the media. Something Weinstein did not include in her article, however, was the extent to which she felt public perception has made an impact on the contemporary scientist and his laboratory -- and how much of a role the media plays in the establishment of this perception. In this paper, I will explore not only how public perception of science has been developed by the media, but also…show more content…
Because of this, I would argue that many people within our society -- the public -- feel as if the scientific community has the power to decide why and how this research is conducted and used. Following this line of logic, the relationship between the common man and the scientist seems to be skewed. It’s as if scientists are acting independently within a vacuum as we, the general public, are left to be passive onlookers. What I find particularly interesting, however, is that there are a multitude of cases, many of which we have discussed in this class, that the public utilized its power and used it to influence how science has developed.
I believe the dynamic relationship between public perception and the development of science is multifaceted. Firstly, I would argue that public influence is both constructed and directed by public perception. Essentially, this means that the public’s perception of something happening in science, whether deemed acceptable or unacceptable, can lead to public action and the push for change on behalf of the public. Public perception is usually shaped by an external force; as mentioned by Weinstein, the media has the means available to communicate what’s happening in science to the public as a
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