SciComm Studio 013: Can Science Save Democracy?

Explore the importance of science communication in shaping public policy.

Adapted from "March for Science" by Molly Evans, CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


November 09, 2018 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


Free, apply to participate

“The most important political problems of the 21st century are also scientific problems. If you don’t bridge the gap between science and the public, you can’t really understand what’s happening in the world.” – Yuval Noah Harari

As the pace of scientific innovation accelerates faster than the public can make sense of it, there is a widening knowledge gap between scientists and the general public. In an era where the public is increasingly skeptical of expertise, can scientists and policymakers find a way to engage in meaningful dialogue? swissnex San Francisco welcomes experts working at the crossroads of science communication, public policy, and bioethics to help us answer these questions and more. 

Formerly the Chancellor of State in Geneva, Anja Wyden Guelpa (civicLab) will discuss her experiences in policy making and the importance of trust in a Democracy — and how to involve citizens and “users” not only while defining problems, but in the research and design of solutions.

From the University of Zurich, Johann Roduit will present his “Constitutions Time Machine,” developed as a foresight tool to aid the creation of a new Constitution in the Swiss Canton of Valais. By digitizing older Constitutions of the Canton, the Time Machine creates a map of past, present and future Constitutions, aiding the analysis of how different laws might affect the future — and how different futures could affect the law.

Stephanie Fine Sasse will reflect on her work in community organizing around science-related advocacy, such as the March for Science in San Francisco and Washington, DC, and the upcoming S|GNS (Science | Government, Institutions & Society) Summit in Chicago.


6:30pm — doors open
7:00pm — discussion
8:00pm — networking
9:00pm — doors close


Kishore HariKishore Hari is a science educator who specializes in producing innovative live science events. He is the former director of the Bay Area Science Festival, which is based out of the University of California, San Francisco.

Hari hosts Mother Jones’ weekly science podcast Inquiring Minds and is the science correspondent for Adam Savage s Kishore is a former chemist who previously founded an environmental services company that specialized in treatment and removal of mercury.




Stephanie Fine Sasse

Stephanie Fine Sasse is an educator, community organizer, and designer. Trained in neuroscience and psychology research at Harvard University, she has co-published on human development and decision making in leading academic journals, created and taught award-winning courses on information literacy and science communication, and spearheaded nationwide campaigns to increase diverse representation in and of STEM fields. In early 2017, Stephanie joined the March for Science in San Francisco and Washington, DC and quickly became one of its lead organizers. She subsequently co-authored “Science Not Silence”, a collection of science advocacy stories released by MIT Press in Spring 2018. In addition, Stephanie produced the S|GNS (Science | Government, Institutions & Society) Summit in Chicago in July 2018, which brought advocates from around the world together in support of equitable, evidence-based policy. Most recently, Stephanie founded The Plenary, a nonprofit educational design studio that uses art and technology to create nonpartisan experiences for adults to learn the science behind current issues such as human bias, health, and sustainability.

Johann Roduit

With expertise in bioethics, science communication, and the humanities, Johann Roduit is committed to creating spaces for innovative projects to emerge and drive reflection on the ethical implications of new technologies. He is an Affiliate Researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Zurich, and the author of The Case for Perfection, Ethics in the Age of Human Enhancement.  In addition, he is a founding member and current Chairman of NeoHumanitas, a think tank fostering discussion about future and emerging technologies. He worked at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Zurich from 2010 to 2018 and is currently a board member of the Swiss Society for Bioethics. From 2014 to 2018, Roduit was Managing Director of the Center for Medical Humanities at the University of Zurich, and a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine.

Anja Wyden Guelpa

Anja Wyden GuelpaAnja Wyden Guelpa was the first woman elected as Chancellor of State in Geneva in 2009, reelected for a second term in 2013. Fascinated by innovation, she began her career at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs as project manager and went on to work for IBM Business Consulting as project manager. In 2003, she joined the public administration of Geneva, first as Deputy Director, then as General Director of the Social Policy division. As Chancellor of State, Anja Wyden Guelpa manages projects related to the modernization of the administration and ensures the organization of voting and elections processes. She also leads major innovative projects such as the partnership between public and private entities in the field of philanthropy or promotion of the active participation of young population in public debate. After almost nine years as state chancellor and member of the government, Anja Wyden Guelpa decided to found her company civicLabShe is an independent board member, teaches innovation and design thinking at the University of Applied Science in Geneva.

swissnex Salon

The swissnex Salon is a new model for dialogue on how the future of our society is shaped: a platform that includes multiple perspectives and provides a critical lens on possible emergent futures. Taking inspiration from the values articulated within the Preamble of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, we examine the role of technology in shaping, distorting, and expanding societal foundations.

SciComm Studio

The SciComm Studio is swissnex San Francisco’s meetup for lovers of science seeking a community to experiment, explore, and connect around science communication and public engagement. Hosted at swissnex San Francisco at Pier 17, these meetups create a space for our community to cultivate science communication skills. We inspire and challenge participants excited by science to share their knowledge through storytelling and interactivity. It’s a win-win: exchange knowledge while developing your own toolkit for scientific outreach.

The Pier 17 Science Studio has support from the Exploratorium, Bay Area Science Festival, TED speakers, museum professionals and art-technology curators. The Science Studio “SciComm Studio” events take science communication out of the box and into the streets. If you find yourself involved in any area of scicomm, or if you are interested in being a part of the movement, join us for our next event!

Photo adapted from “March for Science” by Molly Adams, CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr.