859   Visual presentation

Chain reactions for science communication

Author: Miguel Garcia-Guerrero
Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico

The Science Museum at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas has a long tradition, of 36 years, of public communication of science activities that include visits to its exhibits, lectures, temporal expositions, and science recreation workshops. At first, the efforts were intended for the local community in the city of Zacatecas but in the 1990's we started working to reach communities on different towns in our state (Zacatecas has the size of Belgium and Netherlands combined). Soon we realized that our team, consisting of 3 hired science communication practitioners and 30 volunteers, was too small to reach 1.5 million people distributed in 77 thousand square kilometers. We had to try a new strategy, one designed to establish new science popularization programs all over the state, which could lead to further activities for the public.

Our goal was to start a chain reaction: train new teams to perform science communication activities in the inner state, which in turn could get more people -and sites- involved in these efforts to reach a growing number of places and people in Zacatecas and other states of Mexico. We used science recreation workshops, interactive activities where participants get to manipulate, discover things and discuss their ideas, as the main engine for this effort.

In order to develop the aforementioned chain reaction, we looked to collaborate with several organizations (schools, cultural centers, museums, public libraries, science councils, and volunteer groups), through different projects that include a traveling science museum, different science recreation kits, as well as our latest endeavor that will establish 30 permanent Science Clubs in our state (in addition to 8 in other sites in Mexico). This paper will address the mistakes, experiences, learnings, and challenges we have taken from our journey.

Co-author: Bertha Michel-Sandoval
Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico

Co-author: Miguel Garcia-Guerrero
Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico

Co-author: Viridiana Esparza-Manrique
Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico

Return to:   Session parallels: draft program   |   Visual presentations: draft program