Panel Discussion: How to Trust the Incomprehensible - Public Science Communication in Mathematics and Computer Science

John E. Hopcroft, Volker Stollorz, Ilka Agricola, Susan D'Agostino, Eva Wolfangel

How can the public trust science it cannot understand? The case of science communication on research in mathematics and computer science is a very tough call because the essence of formal languages and theoretical concepts cannot be “explained” to nonscientific audiences. So, how do researchers or science journalists deal with this dilemma: informing the public while the underlying scientific concepts remain in a black box? The panelists will discuss ways how science journalists craft their stories, what mathematicians try to in order to reach nonscientific audiences. Does the digital revolution allow for new ways to handle science communication worldwide? Is there actually a problem if people cannot understand the science, but can nevertheless establish trust with scientists?

Panelists:
Ilka Agricola - is a full professor of pure mathematics at the University of Marburg
Susan D'Agostino - is a mathematician who became author and science writer
John Hopcroft - is a computer scientist at Cornell University and a recipient of the ACM A.M. Turin Award 1986
Eva Wolfangel - is an award-winning freelance science, tech and reportage journalist

Moderator:
Volker Stollorz, Chief Editor Science Media Center, Germany