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ISSUE 1 - October 2007

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The IYA2009 and the Re-enlightenment (page 23)
Carla Gonçalves, Pedro Russo

In 2009 we celebrate the International Year of Astronomy. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is, above all, a celebration of the fulfilment, growth and creativity of humanity in its quest to understand the Universe and the life within it. In recent decades the pseudo-sciences seem to have been overpowering science in the public understanding of the world around us (Sagan 1996). As a prominent example, astrology is more widely accepted by the population as truth than alternative scientific explanations (Kelly et al. 1989). This may be due to the dedicated language of science or, more importantly, a lack of public understanding of it. Eventually, this lack of understanding will result in a notable hindrance in the cultural and literal advancement of society’s comprehension of science
and science subjects. If we are not careful, scientific, cultural, social and economic progress
will be impeded and the modernization and prosperity of countries ultimately penalized. Therefore, now more than ever it is pressing to bring scientific and critical thinking back on to the agenda. The engagement of the scientific community, educators and the media is crucial in achieving this most important goal.

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