la tua ricerca!


Archivio / panel

Guns, Germs, and Covid-19. Why science communication needs metaphors

Saturday 26th September 2020

17.00 (CET) - Live on Facebook and Youtube

An online roundtable with Stephen Flusberg, Elena SeminoGianluca BrigugliaDagmar PaulusMarina Chiara GarassinoRoberta Villa

Metaphors can help to make complex ideas clearer, thus representing a valuable ally for science communication. However, most of them can also have further meanings in addition to those for which they were chosen, making them vulnerable to misinterpretation.

Also, metaphors may recall one’s positive or negative emotions, experiences, attitudes, and religions, as well as political beliefs, thus increasing the risk of misunderstanding.

In the past months, we have been witnessing one of the worst health crises of all time. As a result, journalists, politicians and even scientists all over the world, with only few exceptions, have reached for the imagery of conflict to describe the coronavirus pandemic: nations of all over the world have been - and still are - at war with an invisible enemy.

War metaphors are common in discussions of everything, from political campaigns to battles with cancer and other diseases, to wars against crime or drugs. Why are warfare metaphors so common? Although being ubiquitous in discussions of everything, do they always work?

Join us, in collaboration with the Horizon2020 project "Quality and Effectiveness in Science and Technology Communication" (QUEST), in the online roundtable with experts from different fields and disciplines to discuss the impact of metaphors on science communication, especially when dealing with war-metaphors related to health and find out on which cognitive, social, and sometimes cultural reasons metaphors lay on.

Online roundtable with:

Stephen Flusberg, Associate Professor of Psychology at Purchase College in New York.

Elena Semino, direttrice del Center for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, Lancaster University

Gianluca Briguglia, Professor of History of Political Doctrines at Ca 'Foscari University of Venice.

Dagmar Paulus, senior teaching fellow at University College London (UCL).

Marina Chiara Garassino, Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Unit at Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori of Milano.

Moderator: Roberta Villa, journalist and research fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Event open to the public. Join us live on Facebook and YouTube.


The event is in Italian and English. You will have at your disposal the simultaneous interpreting service ENG<>ITA. To use the service, we kindly ask you to download the "VEASYT Conference" app, available for Android and iOS devices, to your smartphone or tablet.

You can therefore remove the volume on your computer and listen to the translation service in the desired language by entering the code 20035. During the webinar you can listen to the webinar in the original language from the computer, or mute the computer audio and listen to the simultaneous translation by the headphones from the smartphone.