// Latest Posts

Science, utility and responsibility

The value of science for society and the role of scientists in society has been debated for a long time (and in this context the word ‘science’ generally refers to the natural, physical, biological sciences). Just recently the topic has crept up on us yet again. Some have argued that, in the context of climate …

When epigenetics gets under the skin

A few days ago, on 12 August, I saw the following conversation on twitter between Martyn Pickersgill and Muireann Quigley. It started with Martyn saying/sighing: “I’m probably going to start crying with frustration if I read the phrase ‘how the environment gets under the skin’ one more time today.” Whereupon Mauireann asked him what he …

The epigenetic muddle and the trouble with science writing

I have been interested in epigenetics, especially public portrayals of epigenetics, for about six or seven years. About three years ago I tried to get some funding to examine emerging and changing meanings of epigenetics in traditional and new media (including what one might call ‘alternative’ media), but unfortunately never got the funding. When writing …

CRISPR – and the race is on (again)

At the weekend I was reading an article in the Guardian about a team of Chinese scientists trying to use CRISPR/gene editing for the treatment of cancer; and I sighed. The article contained some of the standard and, I believe, quite worn-out tropes that pepper coverage of advances in biotechnology: playing God, designer babies…, as …

Camille Flammarion: Making science popular

Life on this planet is currently crazy, chaotic and confusing. In this context, I was thinking – wouldn’t it be nice to be able to poke one’s head out of the earthly firmament and look at the heavens beyond. This thought popped into my head because I had once seen an image depicting something like …

Jupiter and Juno

Once in a while I write a blog post about space missions – and there have been quite a few recently. I especially enjoyed the Rosetta mission to 67P and the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Now another mission has crossed my horizons, namely the Juno mission to Jupiter. While Pluto was believed to be …

The meanings of climate

This is a guest post by Martin Mahony (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and Nottingham Research Fellow, School of Geography) announcing a public lecture. The lecture sounds really interesting. Unfortunately, I am away and can’t got to it, but I hope that lots of others will be able to attend! *** What do we talk about …

That was the week that was

This week was one of the strangest weeks of my life. In the middle of the week I had two days of real enjoyment. On Tuesday, 21 June, current and former members of our Institute for Science and Society came together at an event organised for me by Sujatha Raman and entitled ‘Adventures in Science, …

Science and politics in an uncertain world

Our end of award conference is taking place on Wednesday 22 June and I know that I should be writing something cheerful and upbeat about our programme, what we have done and are still doing. However, the conference is happening at a difficult time, and somehow I have lost my blogging enthusiasm. The conference is …