There has never been a greater chasm between the importance of science to society and society's understanding of it. Reporting on scientific discoveries and technological advances are often biased, inaccurate, or wrong. We will examine the relationship between science and the media and try to answer the following questions: Is scientific reporting fair, accurate, and informed? Is it sensationalist? Can the public evaluate the scientific information presented to them? How do scientists communicate their work? We will use case histories, primarily from the earth and environmental sciences to address these questions. We will cover the basic concepts and facts behind each case, and discuss its presentation to the public. We will use a variety of resources ranging from newspaper and TV reports to the Internet. Members of the university and local media will participate.
No prerequisites. High school science highly recommended. Evaluation will be based on midterm and final projects.