The Relationship between Live Chemistry Show Characteristics and Their Effect on Science Museum Visitors’ Attitude to Chemistry

Accessible, high-quality science education is central to positively shaping public opinion of science. Public perceptions and understandings of chemistry have often been associated with negative attitudes, misconceptions about the nature of chemicals, and sometimes misdirected anxieties about their effects on humans. These negative images are compounded by the fact that chemistry is under represented in science museums compared to the other major sciences. Reasons for this include chemistry being exceptionally challenging to present as a hands-on exhibit that attendees can explore unattended, and that chemists are less likely than other scientists to participate in outreach activities. However, chemistry lends itself exceptionally well to live shows, and the demonstrations available to trained individuals are numerous and varied. This project will assess chemistry shows currently being performed in science museums and then use the results to explore new ways to perform science shows at Science World that are better at positively shaping the public’s perception and understanding of chemistry and science in general.

Intern: 
Susan Michaela Vickers
Faculty Supervisor: 
David Anderson
Province: 
British Columbia
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