Public Understanding of Science

Universities and Science Centres

Document identifier:
Publication year: 2001
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


The initiative for Heureka Science Centre, Finland was created by the University of Helsinki The Heureka Science Centre in Finland was founded by the University of Helsinki and other interest groups at the beginning of the beginning of 1980s. Heureka was opened in April 1989 and it has since grown a remarkable national and international institute. The 1st World Science Centre Conference in 1996 was hosted by Heureka. Its temporary exhibitions has been seen in more than 20 countries. Heureka is not an university museum, but the University of Helsinki is still the main figures of the Science Centre Foundation. This has made it possible to present recent and historical research for wider audiences in very successful way. Heureka is not presenting only natural sciences and technology, but its main missions is to cover the whole academic field. This can be achieved by developing interdisciplinary approach. In the USA, the background to the expansion of modern science centres was the Sputnik phenomenon. However, the roots of science centres are in the old science and university museums. The development of science centres and museums must be seen in the scope of wider development of society. Science centres are no longer isolated hands-on workshops created by a couple of science freaks, but have become part of a larger movement promoting public understanding of science: they are influenced by, and in turn affect the thinking of, not only the scientific community, but also the other groups of society. According the survey related to career choices among the first and the second year students at the University of Helsinki, 79,8% of the students had visited Heureka science centre before they had started their studies at the academic level. The preliminary results also show that the informal learning sources seem to have much stronger impact in academic career choices than has been recognised. Science centres have the potential for the universities as a motivational factor to create positive attitudes towards science and research among young people.


Hannu Sakari Salmi

Other publications >>

Record metadata

Click to view metadata