National Science Week 2012: focused on society
National Science Week 2012, which will take place in September, will be focused around “Society” as its overall theme. The festival will seek to shed light on the human condition – on people’s lives as individual people, as members of groups and in relation to the world at large.
Researchers in the humanities and social sciences will have a major role to play in this year’s programme. Among other things, they can provide insight into how the majority and smaller sub-groups think that people should live, how people have lived before us, and how they live in other parts of the world. While each of us has in-depth knowledge about our own friends and family, the researchers can help us to view our lives in a wider context.
Researchers from all fields
There is a human and social dimension in virtually all fields of research, including technology, consumption, migration, law, architecture, organisation and management, economics, language-studies, logistics and transport. Innovation and research in each of these fields shapes and changes society and our lives.
Researchers from all fields are encouraged to make an extra effort to highlight the human dimension of their research activities during National Science Week. Researchers in technology fields, for example, can focus more on how technology is used rather than how it works.
The link between research and politics
The common rules and services underlying a society in areas such as education and health care are determined by politicians. But before they take their decisions, they often consult the work of researchers, who provide an overview of current status, recommending new solutions as well as ways to implement them.
National Science Week 2012 will showcase what is commonly termed applied social research. How is this type of research carried out? What kinds of input do researchers give to politicians and business leaders and public administrators? And are their proposals even followed?
Different types of society
The Nordic countries are all welfare states. “Welfare” here involves housing and urban development, labour, education, medical services and safety nets for health, care and social services. What must be done to maintain and develop the welfare society? And what can be done to promote a welfare society in other countries where residents are not afforded such protection?
Other relevant topics include important isolated phenomena such as why certain groups become extremists and turn to acts of terrorism. Research on conflict, conflict resolution and interactions between different groups of people will all be an integral part of the National Science Week programme.
Our physical society
Just how high should city skyscrapers be allowed to reach and how much land should be set aside for parks and recreational areas? The shaping of the built environment has a major impact on city dwellers and on how society develops, and is thus highly pertinent for National Science Week 2012, as are fields such as cultural, sport and leisure activities..
Historians will also have an important role to play. Historical experience and comparisons may reveal profound insights about why society is the way it is, and may also help to delineate potential paths for the future.
National Science Week 2012 is designed to provide an arena for all subject fields and seeks examples of interdisciplinary cooperation in particular. Now it is up to research institutions and companies to find the research activities and dissemination channels that will hold the greatest appeal.
|Norwegian Science Week|
The National Science Week in Norway (Forskningsdagene) is a nationwide public-oriented initiative held every year in September. Events range from science fairs, demonstrations, lectures, “stand-up scientist” performances, “researchers’ Idol” exhibits and discussions, to tours, information stands, and cultural and hands-on activities.
National Science Week is organised as a project and is administered by a secretariat under the Research Council of Norway.
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