Making Science Public

// Latest Posts

Science, politics and epigenetics

This post by Shea Robison is reposted here with the permission of author. Shea originally posted it on his blog ‘The nexus of epigenetics‘ under the title “Epigenetics Minority Report Part I: Epigenetics, blame, precrime and politics“ *** If you picked up the movie reference in the title to this post, you are likely (hopefully) asking …

Anticipation and prediction: A conceptual odyssey

A group of us at Making Science Public recently discussed Responsible Research and Innovation and Anticipatory Governance. During this conversation a colleague reminded us that anticipation is not the same as prediction (see also here). This made me think about the meanings of these words and in order to get to grips with them I …

Dark matter: A mystery metaphor that turns genomic junk into gold

I have become intrigued by a new metaphor, most recently used in an interesting Aeon Magazine article. The authors state that the human genome can’t be, as was so long assumed, a blueprint for building a human being, as “science has served up the confounding paradox that the bulk of our genome appears to be …

Fermenting thought: A new look at synthetic biology

I have become involved in a new project related to synthetic biology. The University of Nottingham has received funding for a big Synthetic Biology Research Centre. I am a social scientist within the new team and in charge of keeping an eye on ‘responsible research and innovation’. This is not what this post is about …

Mind change: Some thoughts on the moral implications of metaphors

This quick post was prompted by Andrew Anthony’s article in The Observer on Susan Greenfield’s forthcoming book Mind Change and subsequent exchanges on twitter. Some background Metaphors are essential to the development of science and indispensable to science communication. I have been fascinated by metaphor for a long time, well before I became fascinated by …

Rosetta and the rubber duck: How we got to know a comet

I can’t really let Rosetta pass by without a little blog post… This was brought home to me when Alasdair Taylor tweeted on 2:21 PM – 6 Aug 2014: “Sexiest, crazy bonkers, rubber duck, chaotic town, Disneyland, big roller coaster, scary ride: all terms used to describe #Rosetta”. This made me curious about how people …

Black sky research

A few days ago I chatted with an industry-based innovations manager who, in passing, mentioned the word ‘black sky research’. We didn’t get a chance to explore this concept further but the phrase stuck in my mind. Then Philip Moriarty tweeted a link to an article on the threat of the impact agenda to blue …

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? …