John Besley, Associate Professor and Ellis N. Brandt Chair in the Advertising + Public Relations department, was the lead writer for the National Science Board's (NSB) chapter on public attitudes and understanding of science and technology, which appears in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators, the NSB's biennial report to Congress on science and technology.
Using the best available data from the United States and around the world, the chapter Besley helped write provides an update on what Americans think about science and technology in comparison to previous years and other countries.
"The Indicators chapter has been the definitive, biennial statement on what Americans think about science and technology for a long time and I'm honored to have served as the lead writer for the 2014 version," Besley said
The Science and Engineering Indicators report was released Feb. 6 and provides the most comprehensive federal information and analysis on science and technology in the United States. It offers quantitative information on science, mathematics and engineering education at all levels, the scientific and engineering workforce, domestic and international research and development performance, U.S. competitiveness in high technology, and public attitudes and understanding of science and engineering.
The publication is subject to extensive review by outside experts, other Federal agencies, NSB members, and the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science Engineering Statistics (NCSES) internal reviewers.
Besley will discuss the Indicators chapter during a 45-minute news briefing at the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting on Friday, Feb. 14, in Chicago.
"What I think the chapter shows is that, while scientists may not know as much about science as we might like, they have held scientists in high regard for several decades," Besley said. "The challenge is for the scientific community to continue to engage Americans in meaningful discussion to honor and enhance that trust."
Besley joined the Advertising + Public Relations faculty in 2012. His research studies how views about decision-makers affect perceptions of new technologies with potential health or environmental impacts. This focus includes consideration of both mediated exposure through newspapers, television programs and web content, as well as face-to-face public engagement (e.g., public meetings). His work emphasizes the need to look at both citizens' perceptions of decision-makers and decision-makers' perceptions of the public.
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