Climate History Network

Conference Report: Climate and Weather – Science as Public Culture

(Cross-post from the Climate History Network)

From the 7th – 9th January, 2013 a diverse group of scholars met in Oxford for a conference on aspects of the communication of weather and climate from the 18th to the 21st centuries. Organised and hosted by the Maison Française D’Oxford in partnership with the Museum of the History of Science Oxford, the conference began with a reception at the Museum of the History of Science where attendees were treated to a private viewing of the exhibition, “Atmospheres: Investigating the Weather from Aristotle to Ozone.”


The conference, the third and final in a series on scientific communication and its history, consisted of panels split along three themes; commodification of meteorological knowledge, media, and historicizing climate history. Each panel consisted of several short papers on the theme, delivered by a broad range of senior and early career academics from a variety of disciplines, followed by extensive question and discussion sessions. On the evening of the 8th, a keynote lecture was given by Pascal Lecomte of the European Space Agency who spoke about how the agency collects, calibrates, and disseminates data to the general public.


The conference’s small, cordial, and interdisciplinary make-up meant that discussions went on long past the allocated slots and lively debate was had by all. The opportunity for historians, science communicators, and practicing scientists to discuss and debate at length their research and ideas on the communication of weather and climate was greatly appreciated. An edited volume representing papers from the three conferences on scientific communication is currently in development, and beyond this I am sure that many lasting connections, collaborations and projects will in time emerge as a result of this conference.


For more information on the conference, including a programme of the papers given please see