What makes us listen to science? is a recorded conversation about how scientists can find new ways to convey important research findings and generate interest in their announcements. The conversation is about the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and scientific communication.

What are ways to generate interest in what science can tell us as humans? For example, can the performing arts and culture serve as a way to create engagement? What are the differences between how researchers have conveyed their findings about COVID-19 compared to climate change issues, and what can explain these differences? The conversation entitled What makes us listen to science? addresses these questions and draws conclusions on how to give today’s children and young people greater faith in the future through knowledge, education and perseverance.

The starting point of the conversation was environmental and climate researcher Johan Rockström’s Performance Lecture: Our brief moment on earth, at the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten) in Stockholm. Invited to participate in the conversation were Sir Richard J. Roberts, who received the Nobel Prize for his discovery of “split genes”, and Anna Sjöström Douagi of Nobel Prize Museum.

Professor Johan Rockström is a globally renowned researcher and frequent participant in debates about environmental and climate issues. He has twice been named the most environmentally influential person in Sweden and is a member of several scientific academies. The former head of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, he is now director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Rockström has written several books and has guest-hosted both the Summer and Winter talk programmes on Sweden’s P1 radio network.

Sir Richard J. Roberts was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of how a gene can give rise to several different types of proteins. Roberts has worked actively to clarify what genetically modified plants are, and how they can help ensure proper human nutrition. He is also strongly committed to human rights and gathers Nobel Laureates in various initiatives to highlight vital issues and leverage the power of the laureates to persuade people to listen.

Anna Sjöström Douagi is Vice President for Sciences and Programmes at Nobel Prize Museum. She works to develop the museum’s programme activities and initiated the Performance Lecture series in collaboration with Dramaten. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and is working on a major digital meeting that will take place in April 2021 − The Nobel Prize Summit: Our Planet, Our Future − which will bring together Nobel Laureates, scientists, decision makers and young leaders to elucidate what needs to be done in order for humanity to survive on earth.

The conversation What makes us listen to science? is a collaboration between Dramaten& (the Royal Dramatic Theatre’s side programming unit) and Nobel Prize Museum. It was supposed to take place on the main stage of Dramaten after the Performance Lecture About our moment on earth and was intended as a manifesto for science, climate and the future, featuring invited researchers and scientists. Due to the pandemic, it instead ended up as a recorded conversation that is now being published on Dramaten Play and the Nobel Prize Museum website. On these websites you can also find a recording of the Performance Lecture: Our brief moment on earth as well as abbreviated versions of the five other dramatised science lectures that Dramaten has produced in collaboration with Nobel Prize Museum − all free of charge.