Popularizing the Calorie: the Belgian Press and the Dissemination of a Nutritional Concept, 1890 - 1920

Speaker: Peter Scholliers # Vrije Universiteit Brussel

27th Feb 2017

15:30 - 17:00

Staff room, 6th floor, Chrystal Macmillan Building

How does scientific knowledge spread in wide(r) circles? What knowledge is diffused and popularized, when, why and through which channels is this done? This talk addresses the crucial question of the mediation between science / scientists and society / general public. This question is tackled by considering a specific place, moment, and field: the way the new concept of the nutritional calorie appeared in Belgium just before and during the Great War. Newspapers are used to study the way "calorie" is presented to general and specific audiences. "Calorie" appeared modestly in the 1890, got more attention in the 1900s, but became quite popular during the war. Authors, rhetorical techniques, definitions, usage of statistics, and evaluations are features that will be considered.