Making Science Public

// Latest Posts

Climate fiction: The anticipation and exploration of plausible futures

A few days ago Paul Collins asked me whether an emerging fictional genre, namely climate fiction or cli-fi, could help engage people with climate change. I had to confess that I had come across this new genre but had not thought about it in depth. This type of ignorance and confusion has never prevented me …

Thinking with animals: The microbe

This is a GUEST POST by Richard Helliwell, a PhD student at the Institute for Science and Society, who participated in a workshop on Thinking with Animals at the University of Nottingham on 20th June 2014. What does it mean to think with animals, in particular to think with microbes, my ‘animal’ companion of thought? …

Evidence-based policy: data has its limits

This post was originally published on the blog of the Alliance for Useful Evidence, an open–access network of more than 1,800 individuals that champions the use of evidence in social policy and practice. “Aaarghhh! Politics and policy-making is so frustrating! We spend so much time conducting careful scientific analysis in all kinds of fields of enquiry. The results are published …

Publicness and Öffentlichkeit – some linguistic musings

Since Roman times, the word ‘public’ has been deeply embedded in the English language, from republic to publican to public convenience; but it still causes problems, as we have discovered several times on the pages of this blog. ‘Public’ has multiple meanings; it is a staple of academic inquiry; but it is not a word …

You say regulatory science, I say mandated science; let’s call the whole thing off?

One issue of contention after the Circling the Square conference was the apparent confounding of science with regulatory science. I finally took a bit of time to dig into the history and use of the concept of ‘regulatory science’ and a related concept, ‘mandated science’. I should stress that there are whole courses on ‘regulatory …

Science, sensationalism and the dangers of over-selling research

This is a GUEST POST by FREYA HARRISON. Freya works in Steve Diggle’s group in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Nottingham, where she researches the ecology and evolution of cooperation. She spends most of her time exploring how communication and cooperation help bacteria to cause chronic infections, but she is also …

Autism, sociality and human nature

This is a post by Gregory Hollin originally written for Somatosphere (where it made a bit of splash!) and reposted here with the permission of the author. There are, I believe, a few reasons to suppose that autism is a particularly fascinating area to be studying at the moment.  What are those reasons?  Firstly, prevalence …

Kandinsky, New Objectivity, and ripping apart the furniture

This is a post by GREGORY HOLLIN who helped organise the Circling the Square conference and these are his reflections on some of the online discussions that followed on blogs and in comments. Circles, Squares, and nonrepresentational forms in Munich Recently I visited Munich and, at the behest of a friend who knows far more …

Making sense in science and in public

Over the last few weeks some of my colleagues within the Institute for Science and Society and the Making Science Public programme (and beyond) have probably got pretty annoyed with me, as I have become a bit argumentative in a debate about science and politics and the line between sense and nonsense. In the following …

Re-imagining the public / re-imagining the political

  Last month (15-16 May) I attended a conference organised by Michel Ledda, Robert Cowley, and David Chandler from the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) at the University of Westminster entitled: ‘New perspectives on the problem of the public’. Together with Sujatha Raman I work on the Leverhulme funded project ‘Models of Managing …