What do we actually mean when we say ‘science’?

Location
Central Library
251 Dundas St

Date/Time
Monday, February 5, 2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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Or: when I say ‘evidence-based’, what do you think I am saying?

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What does the word ‘science’ mean to you? Try this experiment: ask 10 different people to describe ‘science’ and then count the number of different responses you receive. Today we talk a lot about ‘evidence-based policy’ in government, academia, and in the media, but is there a widening gap in the way we define ‘evidence’ as a society?

Is ‘science’ just another segment on the evening news?

How do we, as a general public, decide when to trust science? Do you believe the studies that say chocolate and coffee are good for you…or the other ones? How do you validate your beliefs about immunizing children?

In this panel discussion, we’ll talk about some of the ideas and definitions that have historically defined science as science. We’ll unpack some foundational concepts like falsifiability, empiricism, statistical significance, and the null hypothesis. Then we’ll talk about how these traditional hallmarks of the scientific method are interfacing with society and popular culture today.

Our guests are people who are grappling with big questions about how scientific knowledge moves and shapes the world. What is the baseline scientific understanding that governments, policy-makers, and citizens need in order to make informed decisions? How is knowledge generated and who needs to use it?

The Panel

Christopher Blain is a Public Health Promoter at the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU). He holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences Degree, with Specialization in Health Promotion from Western University. He also has a Knowledge Broker certificate from McMaster University. He uses health promotion strategies to change behaviour and applies population health principles to develop resources and deliver programs.

Aniruddho Chokroborty-Hoque (@senseiofscience) is a scientist turned story-teller. As a biologist for the past fourteen years, Dr. Aniruddho Chokroborty-Hoque has poked, prodded, measured, examined life around him. Now, he’s turning his love for the English language and science into a career as a science communicator. His recent work includes writing articles and creating science workshops for the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He is passionate about portraying science in a way that educates, informs and engages the public, promotes scientific literacy and increases the visibility of scientific research.

Nadine Wathen (@nadinewathen) is a Full Professor in the Health Information Science Program in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University. She is a Research Scholar at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in Western’s Faculty of Education. Nadine holds an affiliate appointment in Western’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and is also cross-appointed to the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing. Her research develops and evaluates interventions for women and children experiencing violence, and seeks to enhance the science of knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) to ensure that new knowledge emerging from research is made available, in appropriate ways.

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