Attitudes towards outreach within the CMS Collaboration
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This paper presents the preliminary analysis of data collected as part of a research project into the attitudes within the particle-physics community towards outreach in particular (known academically as “public engagement”) and science communication in general. The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Collaboration at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was chosen as the sample to represent the population of particle-physics researchers (which includes engineers and students working in particle physics). The collaboration, which operates and analyses collision data from the Compact Muon Solenoid particle detector, has, as of June 2015 (when these data were collected), more than 4000 scientists and engineers from around 200 institutes based in over 40 countries. The analysis shown here concerns the data collected via an online survey distributed to the whole of the CMS Collaboration in early 2015. The survey received 391 valid responses. Of the many topics covered in the survey, results concerning two are included here: (1) With regards to funding and support for outreach, there was high agreement that outreach is important because research is funded by taxpayers although few felt that outreach plans should be a component of grant applications. (2) There was high agreement that, when it came to the benefits of doing outreach, participating in such activities made one a better scientist and gave one job satisfaction but few thought it helped advance one’s career.
The paper is part of the author’s research towards a PhD in Science Communication.