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28/12/2014

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Tales from the water cooler: June 2012

Barrie Cadshaw reveals the movers and shakers in public engagement

Movers
The British Science Association’s Regional Officer Dan Elwick has left to take up a role managing volunteers at the Careers Development Group, a London-based charity that works with long-term unemployed people to help them find jobs. Also in the regions Addam Merali-Hosiene, who has been covering Pam Buchan’s maternity leave, has moved on to become the Regional Volunteer Manager for Barnardo’s as Pam has returned to work.

Barrie Cadshaw reveals the movers and shakers in public engagement

Movers
The British Science Association’s Regional Officer Dan Elwick has left to take up a role managing volunteers at the Careers Development Group, a London-based charity that works with long-term unemployed people to help them find jobs. Also in the regions Addam Merali-Hosiene, who has been covering Pam Buchan’s maternity leave, has moved on to become the Regional Volunteer Manager for Barnardo’s as Pam has returned to work.

Elsewhere, clinical anatomist, author and broadcaster Alice Roberts has been appointed the first ever Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. Chloe Sheppard, RCUK’s Senior Policy Manager in Public Engagement with Research has moved to the Wellcome Trust to support Trust-funded researchers to engage with public audiences.

Chris Tyler has been appointed as Head of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), and Science Editor of the Times, Hannah Devlin, has given birth to baby Betty.

Men only
The government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, John Beddington, steps down at the end of the year and Whitehall is considering candidates who might succeed him. Pallab Ghosh announced the shortlist on the BBC website. It includes Director of the Wellcome Trust Mark Wolpert and Imperial College’s Roy Anderson – but not a single woman.

The Royal Institution responded by starting its own mock poll on Facebook allowing followers to suggest names for the list and vote on them. Their list includes several women, amongst them Athene Donald and Nancy Rothwell. At the time of going to press, a certain Brian Cox was in the lead.

Remains
The controversial Gunther Von Hagens is packing them in at the Animals Inside Out exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Museum chiefs grossly underestimated the popularity of the exhibition of plastinated animals. The Easter period saw huge queues along Exhibition Road and the Museum was gobsmacked when it welcomed 2500 numbers of visitors on the exhibition’s opening day instead of the 800 that were previously anticipated.

Should you choose a different destination for your body: how much do you think would represent good value for money to send 1g of your ash into Earth orbit? £300? More than £1500? Tick that box and others in a questionnaire about whether space burial might appeal to you! Which would be your preferred space burial destination? Choose between suborbital, escape velocity if you fancy between Earth and Mars, the Sun or even interstellar. The Moray & Highland branch of the Association is hosting the questionnaire at http://www.thinkbigactinnovative.org/forum.html.

On Twitter
Association CEO Roland Jackson has recently entered the Twittersphere provoking speculation as to whether it was the ‘real’ @Roland_Jackson… meanwhile Imperial College’s @alicebell has been struck with open access outrage at the PCST meeting in Florence. She reports on Twitter that the Editor of Public Understanding of Science journal Martin Bauer has confessed to not being entirely sure what a blog is. Alice Bell confronted the panellists demanding they say why the journal Public Understanding of Science is not open access. As a result, Cobi Smith from the Ri, Australia tweeted that she is boycotting the journal.

Now we are 10
Later this year the Science Media Centre – initially greeted with widespread scepticism - will celebrate its 10th birthday. It will throw a party in the IMAX Theatre in the Science Museum to mark its anniversary, with an event on Tuesday 2nd October for over 400 guests followed by a drinks party. The SMC is marking the event by making a short film and publishing a brochure on some of the things it’s done so far.

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Barrie Cadshaw
Barrie Cadshaw is at the British Science Association
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