Press Advisory

ADVISORY: Framing Science

How We Can Enhance Scientific Understanding through Better Communication

Good policymaking depends on informed public debate. Too often, however, scientific knowledge is effectively distorted or misrepresented. Recent controversies over issues such as evolution, embryonic stem cell research, and global warming demonstrate the need for better public communication about science.

Please join the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, June 19th at 9:00 am for a presentation by Matthew C. Nisbet and Chris Mooney on how scientists and their allies can “frame” scientific knowledge to connect to the American people. Scientists often approach public communication as a technical discussion. But Nisbet and Mooney argue that this focus on details actually impedes the delivery of scientific knowledge. Using a series of case examples, they will suggest a new approach for science communication that employs language with broad appeal and emphasizes shared values.

Featured Speakers:

Matthew C. Nisbet, professor of communication at American University

Chris Mooney, Washington correspondent for Seed magazine and author of The Republican War on Science

Introduction by: Joseph Romm, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Program: 9:00am to 10:30am Admission is free.

Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m.


Center for American Progress 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC 20005 Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

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Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Communication at American University. His research tracks scientific and environmental controversies, examining the interactions between experts, journalists, and various publics. Nisbet has published numerous peer-reviewed studies, and his work has been cited more than 100 times over the past couple of years.

In addition to his research, Nisbet has co-authored with Chris Mooney several much-talked-about articles in Science, the Sunday Washington Post, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He has also written for other popular outlets such as Foreign Policy and Geotimes magazines. Nisbet contributes the semi-regular “Science and the Media” column for Skeptical Inquirer online, and he tracks current events related to strategic communication at his blog Framing Science, recently named “a top political blog” by the NY Daily News.

Nisbet is a frequent invited lecturer at conferences and meetings across the United States and Canada, and he is often called upon for his expert analysis by major news organizations. He has served as a consultant to several leading government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Nisbet holds a Ph.D. in communication from Cornell University and an A.B. in government from Dartmouth College.

Chris Mooney is the Washington correspondent for Seed magazine and the author of The Republican War on Science, dubbed a “landmark in contemporary political reporting” by, a “well-researched, closely argued, and amply referenced indictment of the right wing’s assault on science and scientists” by Scientific American, and honored as a finalist for the 2005 Los Angeles Times book prize in the category of “Science and Technology.” Mooney’s next book, Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, will be published in July 2007 by Harcourt Books. His shorter writings have been nominated for a National Magazine Award and included in the volume Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006.

Mooney is an accomplished public speaker, having given numerous lectures at distinguished universities including the Harvard Medical School, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Rockefeller University, and Duke University Medical Center and at major venues such as the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and Town Hall Seattle. In 2006, Mooney was the keynote speaker for the 43rd Annual Dinner of Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties, the Edward Lamb Peace Lecturer at Bowling Green State University, and the “Preserving Core Values in Science” award speaker for the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals annual meeting. In 2007, he was the opening plenary speaker at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, Australia.

Mooney has also been featured regularly by the national media. He has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CSPAN’s BookTV, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, NPR’s Science Friday, and The Al Franken Show, among many other television and radio programs. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Joseph Romm is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he oversees the blog He is author of a recent book on climate science, solutions, and politics, Hell and High Water: Global Warming-The Solution and the Politics (William Morrow, January 2007). He is co-author of the Scientific American article, “Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction” (April 2006) and author of The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate, named one of the best science and technology books of 2004 by Library Journal.

Dr. Romm served as Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during 1997 and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 1995 though 1998. Dr. Romm helped lead the administration’s climate technology policy formulation, and he initiated, supervised, and publicized a comprehensive technical analysis by five national laboratories of how energy technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at low-cost: Scenarios of U.S. Carbon Reductions.

Romm holds a Ph.D. in physics from M.I.T. and researched his thesis on physical oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.