Making Science Public

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Climate realism: What does it mean?

During the publications of the various IPCC reports between September last year and today, I have increasingly come across the words ‘realism’ and ‘climate realism’. Here are just some examples: In a BBC report Roger Harrabin says about a draft of the IPCC WG3 report that it “adopts a new tone of realism”. This echoes …

Climate change on Twitter 2013: who tweeted what about the IPCC?

Climate change is a fiercely debated public issue, with much of that debate taking place in various online fora. In a new paper for PLOS ONE with Kim Holmberg, Iina Hellsten and Brigitte Nerlich – Climate change on Twitter: topics, communities and conversations about the 2013 IPCC Working Group 1 report -  I explore the …

Adaptation

There has recently been a lot of talk about adaptation in the context of climate change. The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5), published last week, certainly referred to adaptation quite often. This is not surprising, as WG2 deals with “pervasive risks” posed by climate change and opportunities for …

Moving Responsible Innovation Upstream: GM insects and the exclusion of alternatives

‘Responsible innovation’ was the focus of an earlier post by a colleague of mine, Sujatha Raman, who argued that the concept needs to be linked to a range of policy mechanisms to become more ‘policy relevant’. I’d like to explore this idea further. While framed as a concept that has the potential to shape the …

Development interventions need to be more responsive to citizens’ priorities in the global South

GUEST POST BY TEMILADE SESAN, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN The marble plaque commemorating the founding of the primary health centre in Oboto, a peri-urban agrarian community in Ondo state, Nigeria, declares the facility open ‘to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind’. In the decade or so that has elapsed since its opening, the …

‘Energy for All’ and the Challenge of Responding to People’s Needs

GUEST POST BY DANIELLE GENT, LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY Meet Doña Maria.  She is a mother, housewife, agricultural worker and shop-keeper, who lives with her two daughters in a rural community, located approximately 30 kilometres from Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua.  Until recently, she was one of 1.4 billion people on this planet without access to electricity. That …

Responsive Research: Which Research? Whose Responsibility?

Over the past couple of months, I have been mulling over why the apparently simple idea of responsive research is so challenging. I began a policy thought-leadership project for Sciencewise-ERC aiming to investigate a key principle, namely, that research should be responsive to public needs and priorities. Admittedly, this definition of ‘responsive research’ is more …

Harry Collins on gravitational waves

About 10 days ago a team of scientists at the South Pole made, it seems, a new discovery related to the Big Bang, inflation and gravitational waves. I quickly penned a blog post about this in which I looked at how this discovery was framed through the use of various metaphors. While writing the post, …

Big bang, inflation, gravitational waves: A journey through metaphorical space

Today, on Monday 17 March, scientists announced that they had found evidence for ‘inflation’ in the shape of gravitational waves (paper). In cosmology inflation refers to an exponential expansion of the universe that occurred for a fraction of a second just after the Big Bang. The link between the theory of the Big Bang, cosmic …