Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Science Communication in 20th Century Europe

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Projekte | Science Communication in 20th Century Europe | From Science Theatre to Science on the air in Hungary

From Science Theatre to Science on the air in Hungary

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Gabor Pallo (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary)


[Urania Budapest]

1. Urania scientific theater

  • Multimedia character: visual elements overwhelm

Knowledge type: historical and natural description

  • Enthusiasm to modernity
  • Moving toward film


2. The Telephone Broadcaster 1893

  • Special Hungarian invention, speaking newspaper
  • Technology: broadcast a program from one center to many listeners
  • Legal and commercial position: private company
  • Clock workshop. Indicating the right time
  • The character of programs,

News, music, theater, lack of natural science
Special genre: lecture reading


3. Radio as knowledge transmitter: 1925-1935

  • Nationalization of the telephone broadcaster and connection with the experimental radio
  • Dual character of the radio: commercial and political context

i. commercialism requires amusement
ii. political: no direct intervention, ideological commitment through the personnel
iii. sociology of the listeners

  • Program: continuity with the telephone broadcaster

i. lecture reading, pedagogical context  

  • Type of transmitted knowledge: practical, non-theoretical approach

i. Pedagogical goals
ii. Humanistic character: history, literature, arts
iii. Practical character: Medical advices, cooking advices, agricultural advices, language courses, exercises, shorthand writing
iv. No sign of Curie, Darwin, Einstein, and other media star scientists


4. Interpretation framework: literacy and orality

  • Toronto school of communication in 1980s
  • Features of oral and written texts
  • Radio as archetype of secondary orality



Further Reading
  • Gabor Pallo: Genres of popular science: Urania and the scientific theater. In: Popularizing Science and Technology in the European Periphery 1800–2000, edited by Faidra Papanelopoulou, Agustí Nieto-Galan and Enrique Perdriguero, Aldershot: Ashgate 2009, p. 157-174.