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Attitudes Towards Outreach within the Particle-Physics Research Community
  • Achintya Rao
Achintya Rao
University of the West of England
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Abstract

This paper presents early results from research into the attitudes of the particle-physics community towards science communication (specifically, towards "public engagement" or "outreach").
To represent the population of particle-physics researchers, the sample chosen was the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Collaboration, one of the four large collaborations performing research at the Large Hadron Collider located at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics.
Named after the Compact Muon Solenoid particle detector, the collaboration counts among its members over 4000 scientists and engineers from nearly 200 institutes representing more than 40 countries.
The paper focuses on analysis of quantitative data, which were collected via an in-depth online survey distributed to the entire CMS Collaboration in early 2015.
Over the data-collection period, 391 valid responses were recorded.
The results shown here relate to two topics among many covered in the survey:
(1) Concerning outreach activities, the majority of the respondents stated that they had participated in some form of outreach in the past.
(2) When asked to classify potential audiences, colleagues were ranked as the most important, the most knowledgeable and the easiest to communicate with, when it comes to matters of their (the respondents') research topics.

The survey was part of the author's research towards a PhD in Science Communication.