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23/04/2014

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October 2013

Welcome to the blog, you can read all about the latest news for the sections and take a look in our archive. Scroll through the latest posts below, or select a section from the dropdown.

by Matthew Tosh, science presenter, pyrotechnician and education consultant. He tweets at @MatthewTosh

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Bonfire Night is upon us and it’s one of the busiest nights of the year for pyrotechnicians. For the discerning pyrotechnician, creating a fireworks display is a creative union of science and art in which the night sky is the pyro artist’s canvas.

By Suzi Gage, a final year Epidemiology PhD student from the University of Bristol, looking at the relationship between drug use and mental health. She was the 2012 UK science blog prize winner and her blog, Sifting the Evidence, is part of the Guardian's science blog network. She has also just completed a Media Fellowship with the BBC. This post is part of a series of posts for the Public Attitudes to Science 2014 study.

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A friend of mine, trying to get a rise out of me, once told me that he’d rather see me writing in the Daily Mail than for the Guardian, where my science blog is hosted. Though he was perhaps being facetious*, the underlying point is important. When we as scientists want to communicate the work we are doing to the public, who are our intended audience? And how do we reach them?

By Laurie Winkless

Laurie is a physicist and science communicator. She is now working as Editor (International Programmes) at Nobel Media - the media arm of the Nobel Foundation.

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Admit it. Plenty of us have pictured how we would respond to THAT phone call from Stockholm, telling us that we’d been awarded a Nobel Prize. But it’s good to know that many of the science Nobel Laureates admit to having had that same daydream too!

Nancy Mendoza is a science communicator and PR professional. She is currently working with the Society for Applied Microbiology and blogs at http://www.nancywmendoza.co.uk/blog

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"There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

—Richard Shaull, drawing on Paulo Freire

Tim Silman is a Research Assistant at Ipsos MORI and is part of the team responsible for designing, managing and analysing the survey element of Public Attitudes to Science (PAS) 2014.

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In June, Patrick Sturgis, Principle Researcher for the Wellcome Trust Monitor (WTM), posted this blog, advocating “gold-standard” sampling approaches for public opinion surveys on science issues. He’ll be pleased to hear that BIS and Ipsos MORI have taken on board his and other academics’ feedback in designing PAS 2014, moving to a random sampling approach.

Andrew Macdonell is a chemistry PhD student entering his last year at the University of Glasgow. He works with polyoxometalates, trying to produce new materials which will save the world or, at the very least, get him his degree. In an effort to preserve some vestige of his social skills, he likes to talk to people about science (in appropriate settings) and convince them that it’s not all as bafflingly complicated as it might first appear. Being something of an addict for extracurricular activities, in his spare time, he normally likes to have a little lie down.

He is a contributor for the blog http://www.thescifact.wordpress.com

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My experience of the British Science Festival had been, for the first few days, fairly whimsical. Talks about animating dinosaurs, living forever and the science behind cosmetics were all serious science, but fairly light, fun subjects. This only served to throw the serious subject matter of Attitudes to men’s violence against women into sharper relief, and the results discussed provided very few reasons to be cheerful.

By Esther Lie, who worked as part of the x-change team at the British Science Festival 2013. Esther is a recent graduate in Biology and the History & Philosophy of Science from the University of Leeds.

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Newcastle Upon Tyne is not just acclaimed for its cheap and plentiful alcohol, or Greggs - we have the Greggs’ headquarters, the first Greggs Moments (a ‘posh’ version with sofas and Fair Trade lattes) and beautiful Northern stotties - it is also brimming with wonderful museums, interesting heritage, and a distinct and proud culture.