The Pleasure of Pursuit

Author: Autumn Brown – Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Reshaping the global culture of science through a pleasure-based pursuit of knowledge.

Science is often contrasted with arts and humanities as an endeavour of utility. We study and we memorise scientific methods and phenomena because we have to, or because these concepts are useful. But how might the way we communicate science be changed if we re-conceptualise the pursuit of scientific understanding as pleasurable. The intensity of illumination, or revelation will never be replaced by a facile delivery of impersonal scientific concepts. If we as science communicators are to be effective, it is imperative that our practice be not only elucidating but include an element of enchantment.

Informed in part by the works of Maria Popova, and the theoretical perspectives of Bentham and Mill, this talk explores new methods for reshaping our understanding of science as a pursuit often impacted and guided by desire and aesthetic longing. With examples from the history of science and technology it will invite attendees to consider this approach as a philosophically and empirically supported method for effectively communicating science. We will also go into new comprehensive approaches to measuring psychological pleasure both quantitatively and qualitatively for impact reporting.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Transformation