This week sees the launch of Calls of the wild, a new mass participation experiment as part of National Science & Engineering Week 2013, which asks members of the public to contribute to psychologists’ understanding about how noises from nature can affect mood. National Science & Engineering Week has a rich tradition of interesting and popular mass participation experiments, where ordinary people can contribute to building the body of knowledge that we call science.
Alongside the preparations for the Calls of the wild experiment, there seems to be a wave of interest in ‘Citizen science’ projects, in which members of the public actively collect or analyse research data.
Our recent evaluation of the Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre, which helps policy makers to understand and use public dialogue to inspire, inform and improve policy decisions around science and technology, showed that some projects undertaken would have benefited from including data from previous public engagement on the topics.
So, over the next few months we’re going to focus on gathering ‘social intelligence’ on a range of areas in science and technology. As I was recently asked whether social intelligence was the same as emotional intelligence I’d better just say that for the purposes of this piece of work our definition of social intelligence is what we know about public attitudes toward a particular subject, what the media has reported on that topic, and any significant buzz there has been about it on social networks.
After a crazy few months of planning and seeing through the British Science Festival in 2012, I decided to take a well-deserved break to Nepal, where I volunteered at an orphanage in Kathmandu. The orphanage is home to 26 children, ranging from age five to 17, and is supported by a UK based charity, Namaste - Children’s Homes Nepal. Organised by a couple of friends, Sarah Lawton and Dave Kerr, the charity pays the food bill for all 26 children, which is around £300 a month.
Conservation charity Froglife have organised some of the most successful and engaging events to celebrate National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) in recent years. Sam Taylor, Deputy CEO and Communications Coordinator for Froglife, tells us their secret on how they have been so successful.