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38. Should science and activism be kept separate? (Andrea Bandelli)

November 2023


This month’s episode is about activism and science communication, and whether or not they should be combined. There are obvious tensions here because science is meant to be as objective as possible, while activism is characteristically impulsive and political. And, of course, there can be activists on both sides of a debate. There can also be incomplete or poorly reported science, upon which that activism is based. On the other hand, could there be a role for scientists to guide activism, making it more rooted in fact, more strategic, and more appealing in its approach?

Andrea Bandelli is a science communicator, and former Head of International Relations at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. He helps to unravel this topic, pointing out that activism need not be “brutal”, and arguing for more overlap between science communicators and activists.

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