Everyone claims it’s a major societal problem, but what does science literacy exactly mean? What does past research suggest are the valid definitions of this frequently used term? Similarly, what is meant by the “public understanding of science”? Is it the same thing as “public engagement”? As I explain in our Framing Science article at Science and in the Speaking Science 2.0 road show, these definitions matter when it comes to effective public communication.
Over at my blog Framing Science, I repost a 2005 column that I wrote for Skeptical Inquirer Online. The short piece offers a lot for thought and discussion. Ultimately how we come to define these terms has direct bearing for how we choose to engage the public on controversial areas of science.