Prof Peter Weingart (right) of the Institute for Global Society Studies at the University of Bielefeld in Germany chats to Dr Richard Hill (environmental and geographical science). Weingart was a guest speaker in the postgraduate seminar room where he discussed science communication with members of UCT's research fraternity. Scientists had a long way to go in accepting the public as an equal partner in their endeavours, he said. "Science is often regarded as an elite institution or estate." While it attracted public funds, there was often the perception that it was not responsible to the public. He said the increasing abstraction of ideas and the emergence of a specialised language increased the division between experts and laypeople, making science even more inaccessible to the broader public.
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