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28/07/2014

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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.

By Professor Louise Archer, from the Centre for Public Policy Research at the Department of Education and Professional Studies at King's College London and the author of the TISME report, “What influences participation in science and mathematics?

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‘Luna’, a friendly, thoughtful teenage girl, has always found science interesting and has done well in the subject. Throughout primary school she aspired to a career in science. But now, aged 14, she describes herself as more ‘arty’ and creative and feels that she is not clever enough to study science further.

Like many of her peers, Luna illustrates some of the burning issues facing science educators. Namely, what influences participation in science and maths? And how might we encourage more young people to study science and mathematics at A level and beyond? Our new report tries to answer these questions.

By Sue Hordijenko, Director of Programmes at the British Science Association and Louise Ogden, Web Editor at the British Science Association

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We have just evaluated the first ten months of Sciencewise-ERC – the expert resource centre that helps policy makers to understand and use public dialogue to inspire, inform and improve policy decisions around science and technology.

Sciencewise helps to set up and run sessions with members of the public, known as public dialogues, to discuss with them everything from their views on a particular area of scientific research, to their thoughts on a new or upcoming piece of policy, or to determine how informed they are on a topic.

Karen FolkesBy Karen Folkes, Chair of the 'Public Attitudes to Science' Steering Group and Deputy Head of Science and Society, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

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What do the UK public think about science? Are they interested in science? Do they value it? Do they want to hear more about it? Do they have any concerns about scientific developments and new technologies?

These are just some of the questions explored in Public Attitudes to Science – a series of studies which has been going since 2000 and is now entering its fifth iteration. The data, collected from both surveys and qualitative research, has been used by many different organisations to help measure the impact of their scientific, engineering and educational programmes.

by Katherine Mathieson, Director of Education at the British Science Association

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Last week, I went to a screening of a new social action film called GirlRising produced by Holly Gordon as part of the 10x10 campaign to improve the education of girls. The film depicted the stories of 10 girls and young women from around the world, interspersed with facts about the positive effects that educating girls can have in developing countries. For example, the World Bank reports that each additional year of education can increase a girl’s future earnings by at least 10%.  Yet around 66 million girls are currently not enrolled in education (UNESCO 2012).

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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