The decade of 2020 is shaping up to be a big one for science.
The Blue Wave of 2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of the formation of the World Wide Web, the first major technological leap that allowed for instantaneous access to the internet.
And it also marks the first time that the US government is officially acknowledging that the internet is, in fact, a global infrastructure.
But it’s also a time of change in the way that science is presented.
“The way we do science is changing,” says Steve Shubin, the director of the Center for the Study of Global Change at Columbia University.
“It’s really becoming more complex, but it’s not changing in a way that we expected.”
The shift is due to a series of technological innovations, says Shubis, such as the introduction of smartphones and cloud computing.
But, he adds, there’s a “real change in how we think about the way we communicate science.”
And it’s happening in a context that’s “not necessarily the most welcoming to new ideas”.
“It is a very different time than the 1960s,” says Shulgin.
“There’s a sense of a lot of openness, a lot more experimentation, and a lot less skepticism about science.”
In 2020, the US is leading the way for science to be increasingly understood in a digital age.
“I think that there’s been a lot in the last 10 years of the 21st century that has been kind of a watershed moment for science,” says Richard Dawkins, the co-founder of the world’s oldest science-focused atheist organisation, the Science Museum of Ontario.
“What has been remarkable is the way it has been communicated.
It’s been really good for science.”
Shubins point out that the new media also has a role to play.
“A lot of the ideas that were happening then were being discussed and debated,” he says.
We’re seeing a new era of science where people are really able to get the word out, to share ideas and to really understand the science behind what they’re seeing.”