This course provides a history of communication technologies, the use of the media by science and representations of science in the media from the ancient world to the present.
From the first Babylonian astronomical records on cuneiform to the public understanding of science on television and the Internet, the various media have long been crucial to the success and spread of science. This course provides a history of science in the media from the ancient and medieval use of geometrical diagrams, astronomical figures and anatomical illustration through early modern printed texts, popular broadsheets and colour botanical plates all the way to the ubiquity of science in literature, cinema, journalism and online. It focusses on the technologies of communication, the use of the media by science and the ways science and scientists are represented in the media. The expanding presence of science in the media is examined against the backdrop of five revolutions: literary and artistic (writing and the visual arts), mechanical (the printing press), electric (telegraph, telephone and cinema), electronic (radio and television) and digital (computing and the Internet). Specific themes considered include the increasing accuracy of scientific illustration, the rise of scientific journals, public scientific demonstrations, science in poetry and prose fiction, science and art, radio and television documentaries, the advertising and marketing of science, scientific apocalypses and techno-utopias, bioethics, environmentalism, Soviet-era technological iconography, science fiction from Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to Jurassic Park and Interstellar, and science in computing and cyberspace.