In January 2008, an interdisciplinary committee of leading scientists gathered for a news conference at the National Academies headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose of the conference was to release Science, Evolution, and Creationism (National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine, 2008).1 As the news conference participants described, the booklet had been carefully designed to provide an updated account of evolutionary science that would be accessible to a diverse audience of school board members, journalists, teachers, activist parents, and clergy. Its contents covered three main topics: “Evolution and the Nature of Science,” “The Evidence for Biological Evolution,” and “Creationist Perspectives,” with the last section focusing on the scientific and legal arguments against the teaching of creationist perspectives in public schools. Committee member Bruce Alberts, editor of Science and past president of the National Academy of Science (NAS), told the audience, “Where evolution debates occur in the country, scientists and others call us for help and the major tool we provide is this booklet.” In an effort to ensure that the booklet would be accessible to diverse audiences, the committee commissioned focus groups and a national survey to gauge the extent of citizens’ understanding of the processes, nature, and limits of science. The committee also tested various “frames” or interpretative storylines that served as explanations for why alternatives to evolution were inappropriate for science classes (Labov & Pope, 2008). Although the committee had expected to find the most convincing storyline to be the authority of past legal decisions and the constitutional separation of Church and state, the data revealed that audiences were not as persuaded by this framing of the issue. Instead, somewhat surprisingly, the committee discovered that emphasizing evolutionary science as the modern building block for advances in medicine was the most effective frame for translating the importance of teaching evolution. The research also pointed to the effectiveness of reassuring the public that there was no conflict between teaching evolution and the beliefs of many religious traditions. Taking careful note of this feedback, the committee structured the 2008 revision

of the booklet to emphasize these two central frames; they also highlighted these frames in subsequent efforts to publicize the new edition (Labov & Pope, 2008). The National Academies’ innovative “audience-based” approach is part of an emerging paradigm shift in how the scientific community in the United States views public engagement. Left behind is the assumption that simply “informing the public” of scientific facts will meaningfully alter the perceptions of either policy makers or citizens. Instead, one can detect a growing recognition that communication is not simply a translation of facts-it is a negotiation of meaning (for more on this shift, see Chapter 1 of this book). In this light, science and its policy implications need to be communicated in ways that address an intended audience’s values, interests, and world views. Several decades of social science research on framing underpin this paradigm shift. On the topic of science communication in particular, work by Nisbet and colleagues has argued that there is nothing essentially unique about science policy debates, when compared to other political controversies. Given this interpretative reality, scientists-like any other actor in the policy process-must strategically “frame” their communications in a manner that connects with diverse audiences (cf., Nisbet, Brossard, & Kroepsch, 2003; Nisbet & Huge, 2006; Nisbet & Mooney, 2007).2 In that body of research, a consistent set of frames are identified and appear over and over again in science policy debates. The research suggests that these recurring frames offer an innovative public engagement technology to be harnessed by scientists, press officers, and organizations. As in the National Academies’ case, when target audiences have been carefully researched, the resulting messages can be true to the science, but also personally relevant and meaningful to a diverse array of publics. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is to synthesize findings from previously published studies and articles that have focused on the framing of science for public consumption. Drawing on the cases of nuclear energy, evolution, and climate change, the chapter demonstrates the generalizable ways in which framing can drive the dynamics of science controversies. For researchers, the chapter offers careful conceptualization and identification of campaign strategies, media messages, and their influence. For scientists and communication professionals, the chapter highlights lessons for effective public engagement strategies-although these lessons are not without several important ethical and normative considerations.