Celebrating the Culture of Science

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Science  11 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6022, pp. 1242
DOI: 10.1126/science.1204773

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There is an increasing worldwide consensus on the vital importance of Science for personal, social, economic, and political development. This has spurred many countries to increase their investments in science and technology. But funding research is not enough: Nations must also promote cultures that celebrate science and its values of reasoning, openness, tolerance, and respect for evidence, just as they celebrate the arts and humanities that enrich everyone's lives. Not only formal education but informal outreach is critical in achieving this goal. Today, there is a great deal of creative experimentation with different methods of engaging the public with science. Our own experiences in organizing science festivals in the United States and Egypt illustrate the potential of one important form of public engagement.