Joanna Carpenter looks at the latest in the world of sci-com.
The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has advised scientists communicating risks to legislators, the media, and the public to distinguish between risk and hazard. `Each of our kitchens is full of hazards,’ he told the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology, continuing, `We manage each of those hazards by limiting our exposure… It is a difficult area of communication.’
Female scientists seemed more at ease with the dimensions of colour, mood and creativity in abstract artworks than their male counterparts, according to research commissioned by pharmaceutical company Bayer. University of Reading researchers analysed responses to carefully selected artworks, and found that. Nicole Farmer, senior scientist, Bayer UK, said: “Female scientists are more likely to be open to a more ‘anarchic, creative and radical’ approach to science.”
Citizen Science has high potential value for citizens and policymakers, a European Commission report Environmental Citizen Science has found, but this potential is largely untapped. Most projects are organised and led by scientists rather than citizens, and more inclusive approaches to engaging citizens are needed to ensure all sections of society are represented in projects, according to the report.
David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, has told a committee of MPs that it was `shocking and dramatic’ that `only 25 per cent of girls who get an A* in GCSE physics stay on to do it at A-level’ - although many `engineering courses require physics A-level’. The government is `working with universities to communicate the value of crucial facilitating subjects,’ he said.
A group of MPs has called for the government to review the academic career structure and increase the number of longer-term positions postdoctoral researchers, to improve retention of women in scientific careers.
‘We have found that what benefits women benefits everyone,’ the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology said.
The committee also called for mandatory diversity and equality training for recruitment and promotion panels and line managers, and for the government to monitor the effects of cuts to diversity funding.
The US National Science Foundation has released a set of 10 videos on the science and engineering of the Winter Olympic Games 2014, currently taking place in Sochi, Russia.
Topics include the physics of slopestyle skiing, injury and recovery, the science of snow and of ice, and Olympic movement and robotic design.
The videos are made in partnership with NMC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News.
The public has strong negative views towards climate engineering, according to the first systematic large-scale evaluation of public opinion in the UK and New Zealand.
Where there are positive reactions, they favour approaches that reduce carbon dioxide over those that reflected sunlight.
‘It was a striking result and a very clear pattern,’ said lead author, Professor Malcolm Wright of Massey University, New Zealand.
The study was carried out by Massey University and Southampton University, UK.
The Wellcome Trust is accepting applications until 21 February for its Engagement Fellowships to support and develop upcoming stars in public engagement with science.
Fellows are given the freedom, resources and environment to develop their skills and practice in encouraging the public to examine, explore and debate society’s big scientific challenges.
Applicants should have with a strong track record of engaging the public with ideas around biomedical science and/or medical humanities.