Accepted paper:

A proton walks into a bar: Humour and science communication


Hauke Riesch (Brunel University London)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The use of humour in public discourse about science has grown remarkably over the past few years, and when used in science communication activities is being seen as a great way of bringing science to the public through laughter. However, barely any research has been published yet either on the often assumed beneficial learning effects of humour in informal science education, nor the wider social functions and effects of humour about science and how humorous public discourse about science can influence the public understanding of science and the science - society relationship.

I will review some of the literature on the psychology and sociology of humour and comedy and try to apply some of its insights onto what effects humour might have when used in science communication. Although not intended to be anti-humour, this paper attempts at least to start a more critical conversation on the value of humour in the communication of science.

panel C1
Studying science communication