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Uses of wonder in popular science : Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and the origin of life

Helsing, Daniel LU (2016) In International Journal of Astrobiology 15(4). p.271-276
Abstract

This paper analyses the use of wonder in the TV-series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980). Popular science has been studied extensively (e.g. Broks 2006; Leane 2007; Perrault 2013), and wonder has been studied moderately (e.g. Daston & Park 1998; Fuller 2006; Vasalou 2015). However, there are very few studies of wonder in popular science. This paper explores how and why wonder is used in Cosmos, with the wider aim of understanding uses of wonder in popular science. The studies that discuss wonder in popular science (Fahnestock 1986; Perrault 2013) argue that wonder is used to enthuse the audience about science, but they do not discuss why wonder has this ability, nor whether wonder has other functions. This paper argues that Fuller's... (More)

This paper analyses the use of wonder in the TV-series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980). Popular science has been studied extensively (e.g. Broks 2006; Leane 2007; Perrault 2013), and wonder has been studied moderately (e.g. Daston & Park 1998; Fuller 2006; Vasalou 2015). However, there are very few studies of wonder in popular science. This paper explores how and why wonder is used in Cosmos, with the wider aim of understanding uses of wonder in popular science. The studies that discuss wonder in popular science (Fahnestock 1986; Perrault 2013) argue that wonder is used to enthuse the audience about science, but they do not discuss why wonder has this ability, nor whether wonder has other functions. This paper argues that Fuller's (2006) psychological and evolutionary account of wonder can elucidate why wonder has the ability to enthuse; it discerns three senses of ‘wonder’ (related to objects, emotions and attitudes); and it discusses other functions of wonder (existential, aesthetic and ethical). Due to the centrality of astrobiological questions in Cosmos, this paper also highlights the relation of these questions to the senses and functions of wonder in Cosmos.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Carl Sagan, Cosmos, popular science, wonder
in
International Journal of Astrobiology
volume
15
issue
4
pages
6 pages
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84964075283
ISSN
1473-5504
DOI
10.1017/S1473550416000124
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ab2dece4-0f75-460e-bdf8-dde442352cbe
date added to LUP
2016-07-26 08:52:16
date last changed
2016-10-03 14:39:17
@misc{ab2dece4-0f75-460e-bdf8-dde442352cbe,
  abstract     = {<p>This paper analyses the use of wonder in the TV-series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980). Popular science has been studied extensively (e.g. Broks 2006; Leane 2007; Perrault 2013), and wonder has been studied moderately (e.g. Daston &amp; Park 1998; Fuller 2006; Vasalou 2015). However, there are very few studies of wonder in popular science. This paper explores how and why wonder is used in Cosmos, with the wider aim of understanding uses of wonder in popular science. The studies that discuss wonder in popular science (Fahnestock 1986; Perrault 2013) argue that wonder is used to enthuse the audience about science, but they do not discuss why wonder has this ability, nor whether wonder has other functions. This paper argues that Fuller's (2006) psychological and evolutionary account of wonder can elucidate why wonder has the ability to enthuse; it discerns three senses of ‘wonder’ (related to objects, emotions and attitudes); and it discusses other functions of wonder (existential, aesthetic and ethical). Due to the centrality of astrobiological questions in Cosmos, this paper also highlights the relation of these questions to the senses and functions of wonder in Cosmos.</p>},
  author       = {Helsing, Daniel},
  issn         = {1473-5504},
  keyword      = {Carl Sagan,Cosmos,popular science,wonder},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {271--276},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x893d2e0)},
  series       = {International Journal of Astrobiology},
  title        = {Uses of wonder in popular science : Cosmos: A Personal Voyage and the origin of life},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550416000124},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2016},
}