News & events


25 years of Public Understanding of Science Research in India

20 October 2016
12:30 - 13:30

Date:          20 October 2016
Time:         12:30  – 13:30
Venue:        VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban


Prof. Gauhar Raza
Former Chief Scientist, AcSIR, National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, India

This seminar may be attended via the HSRC video conferences in Pretoria, Cape Town , Port Elizabeth and KwaZulu-Natal. The speaker will be located in Pretoria.

You may also join via Vidyo on your computer or mobile device via the link:

A truly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary area of research started emerging in nineteen eighties. ‘Attitudinal survey studies’, ‘Scientific Literacy’, ‘Public Understanding of Science’, Public Understanding of Science, Technology and Engineering’, ‘Public Engagement of Science’, ‘Scientific Culture’ are some of the names that have been given to this discipline. Experts from various established disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, statistics, political science, education, history, sociology, economics, etc., directed their efforts to constitute this new area of research.

Though nomenclature still remains contested, the institutionalization was gradual yet unambiguous. Regular surveys, publications of research papers and books, seminars, national and international conferences  specialized journals and groups of researchers working on various aspects of PUS, are some of the landmarks that legitimize its institutionalization as a discipline on the borderlines of science and social science.

During the past 25 years, the area has passed through many phases and a number of experts who specialize in Public Understanding of Science Research have carried out consistent debate -yet a transdisciplinary approach could be witnessed in any international conferences even now.
Public Understanding of Science Research, as a discipline, has emerged in a given international-socio-political context. However, the national needs and prevailing cultural context have a strong bearing on its orientation and research framework in various countries.

The presentation, in three parts, deals with the international context, the Indian discourse on scientific temper and its science movement, and analyses the shifts in Public Understanding of Science in India during the past twenty-five years. It will be argued that there exists a cultural distance between science and peoples culture and any scientific idea needs to cross this distance in order to become part of peoples’ cognitive structure. Different cultural groups can be placed at different distances from a given scientific idea, therefore a uniform strategy to communicate science to various cultural groups or sub-groups may not work in popularizing science

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

KINDLY RSVP BY 19 October 2016

Cape Town : 116-118  Merchant House, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or  

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail;

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: