education, communication, medicine, and decision science. The second colloquium, reported here, incorporated social and cognitive psychology, political science, mass communication, cultural anthropology, business, and social network analysis. It, too, will be captured in a special issue of PNAS, with articles summarizing relevant research areas in those sciences and applying them to domains as diverse as climate change, nanotechnology, and medicine.
Following 2 days of talks and panels, the second colloquium hosted day-long work sessions, bringing together subject-matter experts, researchers in the sciences of communication, and communication professionals. Together they developed communication strategies for four topics: climate change, nanotechnology, obesity and nutrition, and evolution. More than 500 people attended the colloquium, while over 10,000 joined concurrent webcasts or visited the archived recordings.2
As reported here, speakers encouraged scientists to approach communication in new ways and to create the infrastructure needed to link scientists, communication professionals, and their audiences. Speakers provided evidence-based guidance on how to listen to others so as to identify their information needs, ways of thinking about the world, and the cultural stereotypes regarding scientists. They delved deeply into the incentive systems that shape what scientists study and how they report their work, the subtle changes in “framing” that can influence how messages are interpreted, the complex channels that determine how messages flow, and the potential politicization of scientific evidence.
Speakers were also challenged to go beyond their disciplinary pursuits in order to understand the problems that face those scientists who attempt to communicate their work and collaborate with scientists from other disciplines. In the spirit of the Sackler colloquia, those collaborations can lead to research that would not have occurred without working together in a common cause. As a result, the enterprise can be as beneficial for the sciences of communication as for the communication of science.
Finally, the colloquium organizers would like to thank the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science, and COMPASS for their valuable financial support of the colloquium summarized in these pages.
Ralph J. Cicerone
Alan I. Leshner
Barbara A. Schaal
Dietram A. Scheufele Co-organizers