Making Science Public

// Latest Posts

Basic science and climate politics: A flashback to 1989

We were trying to empty a room for refurbishment. So we rummaged through some old papers which included amongst many others: an inaugural lecture transcript from 1991 (Robert Dingwall, former Director of our Institute for Science and Society), Karl Popper’s last paper entitled “Towards an evolutionary theory of knowledge” (with the enigmatic scribble: ‘Popper’s last …

A cut too far? The ritual slaughter debate in Britain

The World Food Summit, in 1996, agreed a definition of food security that included the requirement that food met the food preferences of communities. Indeed, it is evident that food preferences reflect aspects of culture including religious identity. Where food preferences include the consumption of animals, debates about animal welfare also arise which can come …

Science, politics and science communication

I sometimes get asked why I write blog posts about science communication and even sometimes practice science communication, given that science communication is not really the focus of our ‘Making Science Public’ programme of research (which was drafted in response to a Leverhulme Trust call for proposals on ‘science and politics’). Despite its title, the …

Science communication and ‘vulgarisation scientifique’: Do words matter?

A Spanish colleague and friend recently sent me a Portuguese caricature about ‘science communication’ with the following title: “Como a maioria do jornais divulga ciência” (How the majority of newspapers disseminate science). I’ll only translate the first two panels, as the third one is a bit coarse: Scientist: We have destroyed 10% of cancerous cells …

Hottest year on record

Media reporting on climate change has heated up a little bit over the last ten days or so, after an announcement by NASA and NOAA which read like this:  “NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record”. This was taken up by the media and, between 15 January and 25 January 2015, the phrases …

Synthetic biology markets: Opportunities and obstacles

As some people know from my previous posts on synthetic biology, I am interested in tracing how synthetic biology is made public in the news media and whether or how it is becoming a matter of public debate. “Synthetic biology is an emerging area of research and is broadly described as the design and construction …

Scientific citizenship

I recently read an excellent thesis on scientific citizenship by soon to be Dr Beverley Gibbs (whom you all know from her posts on this blog!). She uncovered various as yet under-explored aspects of scientific citizenship, focusing in particular on membership, rights & responsibilities and participation (and I hope she’ll write a blog post about …