The chemistry of public perception

The chemistry of public perception

Author: Chiara Ceci, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), United Kingdom

Co-authors: Massimiano Bucchi, Martin W Bauer

Chiara Ceci (PR Executive, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
Public attitudes to chemistry in the UK
In June 2015 the Royal Society of Chemistry published the results of study on what the UK public thinks and feels about chemists, chemistry and chemicals. It is a qualitative and quantitative research, including a national public survey, with 2,104 face-to-face interviews with UK adults (16+). I’ll look at the top line results and highlight how they show that chemistry may have an image problem but it’s not the one chemists thought it had.

Massimiano Bucchi (Science and Technology in Society, Uni Trento)
A chemist is not really a chemist (and a hostile public is not really a hostile public)
What do the results of the Royal Society Chemistry survey suggest in terms of public perception of scientists and their social roles? How can science communication build on common sense stereotypes and how can surveys of public perceptions challenge the stereotypes of the public held by scientists and communicators?

Martin W Bauer (Social psychology, LSE)
How special is the public perception of chemistry in the societal conversation of science?
In early 2015, the Royal Society of Chemistry conducted a national survey of public perceptions. Many items used were adapted version from general science attitudes. I will compare responses on items that are similar worded, but replace the word ‘science’ by ‘chemistry’. This comparison should throw some light on how the perception of chemistry differs or not from the perception of science in Britain of 2015.