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28/11/2014

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Blog

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.

Brigitte Nerlich is Professor of Science, Language, and Society at the Institute for Science and Society at the University of Nottingham. She will be speaking at the Science Communication Conference in May in the session on 'bridging theory and practice'.

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There have been two incidents recently that have brought to the fore some tensions between the theory and practice of science communication. One incident was the so-called Cox/Ince debate and the other was what I shall refer to as the Glaser/Cox incident.

Cox/Ince

The Cox/Ince debate began when Brian Cox, physicist and science communicator, and Robin Ince, comedian and science communicator, published an article in New Statesman on 18 December last year, entitled ‘Politicians must not elevate mere opinion over science’ (for an overview of the debate that followed, see this blog by Peter Broks and this blog by myself, focusing on science communication). One follow-up blog post by ‘Gavin’ in particular was interesting, as it encapsulated my general impression of what was going on. The blogger wrote:

Brian Cox

Last night the National Science + Engineering Competition Finals 2013 were officially opened at the Welcome Event and first Live@Lunch with Greg Foot.

Giving a whistlestop tour of what we can expect in the coming days, the Live@Lunch show gave our latest batch of finalists an exclusive look at some of the highlights of this year’s Fair as well as some talks from past competitors.

Science presenter Fran Scott shares some top tips for finding ideas for inspiring but feasible science demonstrations.

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Hello, I'm Fran; a science translator, demo developer and presenter. I'm a qualified scientist who can describe the subject to everyone and anyone who's interested, and even those that think they're not! I play with the subject, stripping it down to its exciting and curious bare bones.

Over the past decade I've designed science demonstrations for various venues and shows including the Science Museum, BBC live stage shows and numerous television productions. I have even exploded hydrogen in a Nobel-prize winner’s hands (those belonging to Sir Paul Nurse, in case you were wondering).

Sian Lloyd, weather and TV presenter, discusses the British obsession with our weather and climate.

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Here in the UK we’re famous for being obsessed with the weather, and I’m no exception to that. My fascination with the weather started from a young age because my father had a passion for the outdoors, so we were always out in all weathers.

Kate Quillin is a 15-year-old student from Watford in Hertfordshire. She is currently in Year 10 at Watford Grammar School for Girls, and is studying for 12 GCSEs. She completed a Bronze CREST Award a couple of years ago, and is now finalising her Silver Award by using her research from her Bronze Award. She says that she is yet to decide on a career path, but that science is a definite possibility.

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Kate QuillinSomewhere in the hundreds of fascinating stands at the Big Bang Fair 2012, my friend and I were presenting our Bronze CREST Award project – ‘Does hairspray weaken human hair?’ Over the three days, there were hundreds and hundreds of parents, teachers, children and science enthusiasts that passed our stand – probably because of its proximity to the café, but I like to think that some were genuinely interested.

Adam Mansell, who will be judging at the National Science + Engineering Competition finals, to award the UKFT Textile Edge Prize, shares his thoughts on the textiles industry.

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by Katherine Mathieson

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.

By Sue Hordijenko

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.

George Osborne speaking at the Royal Society last November

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.

By Farrah Nazir

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.

Adrian Fenton, Young People's Programme Manager at the British Science Association, reports from the 'Science and Mathematics Education: The Way Forward’ conference in Delhi.

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