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Engineering Physics Colloquium

Tuesday, April 30

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

106 Engineering Research Building

Speaker: Dr. Dominque Brossard, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Media, Nuclear Energy, and Risk Perceptions Pre-Post Fukushima."
Abstract: A common assumption among technical stakeholders is that media coverage is largely responsible for negative public perceptions toward nuclear energy. I will challenge this assumption through the discussion of two recent studies. The first examines risk perceptions toward nuclear power pre- and post- Fukushima using a nationally representative survey sample of American adults. The analysis goes beyond a simple look at aggregate risk perceptions, instead focusing on how specific subpopulations responded to the disaster event. In order to capture the role of social media in public discourse, the second study provides a systematic and comprehensive analysis of posts about nuclear energy on the popular microblog Twitter between December 2010 and May 2012. Implications for effective communication about nuclear energy will be discussed.
Biography:  Dr. Dominique Brossard (Ph.D., Cornell University) is a Professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is on the Steering Committee of the UW-Madison Robert and Jean Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and a member of the UW Center for Global Studies. She is also the leader of the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology group in NSF--funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC). Dr. Brossard's research program concentrates on the intersection between science, media, and policy. One of the Board members of the International Network of Public Communication of Science and Technology, Brossard in an internationally known expert in public opinion dynamics related to controversial scientific technological innovation, such as biotechnology, stem cell research, nanotechnology and nuclear energy.
Event Note: 3:45pm refreshments will be served.