We seem to be in a second golden age when it comes to sharing science. If this article has caught your eye, the chances are that you are involved in some kind of public outreach activity. Compared with just 7 short years ago, when we battled against an absence of scientific voices in civil society, Sense About Science now works in a much more ‘can do’ environment, where researchers embark on their careers with some expectation of a public interface, where research grants regularly stipulate it, colleagues often support it and institutions run science programmes and festivals. Yet, if we look at all of the sharing and engaging activity according to its purpose, we find that, as a society, we have barely begun to explore popularizing science as a tool for empowering the public.

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