// Latest Posts

Triangulating the history of science communication: Faraday, Marcet and Smart

This post first appeared on the History and Philosophy of Language Sciences blog. I am reposting it on the Making Science Public blog with permission, where it can rub shoulders with other posts relating to science communication. ••• The 19th century was a time of monumental change in science, industry and also communication. In this …

Open Day: Planning, talking and inking

This is a re-post from Charli Vince’s blog. It continues the story of ‘Open Day’, a graphic novel about 3D printing with atoms and university life. You can read about how Open Day came to be and how it has been developing here. *** Open Day has been chugging along since the project began many, …

Cars and cancer: Metaphorical musings on the occasion of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Metaphors are weird. They are crucial for the expansion of human knowledge. However, they don’t really impart knowledge. They only tell a story. And that story can only be understood by people who already have some knowledge. When I say ‘life is a journey’, I expect people to understand that metaphor, as people generally know …

How has Science Communication Research Developed? Results from a Citation Analysis

This is a guest post by Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zürich) & Adrian Rauchfleisch (National Taiwan University). The article summarised in this post first appeared in the Journal of Science Communication. This post contributes to the ‘science communication‘ strand of this blog. It can be read together with an older (2012) post which reports on how Rick Borchelt …

Epigenetics: Grappling with definitions

Definitions of epigenetics are notoriously slippery. This does not seem to hamper basic research. But it might hamper public understanding. The words ‘epigenetics’ and ‘epigenetic’ have undergone quite substantial changes in meaning over time, leading up to a meaning which is now popular but open to misinterpretation. This history and increasing confusion has been charted, …

Phage and fiction

We have known about bacteriophages for over a century. I myself became vaguely aware of them around 2004 when I started to be interested in bacteria and antimicrobial resistance and later on when my mother had Clostridium difficile, a health-care associated infection related to antibiotic use. However, I never actually looked more closely at phages until Carmen …

Groundhog day in the hothouse

On 6 August Will Steffen and others published a paper entitled “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene”. The paper explores “the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a …

Science and trust: Some reflections on the launch of the International Science Council

The Ecologist published an article on 19th July about the launch of a new International Science Council, ISC, entitled “Paris launches the International Science Council with aims to rebuild trust in science”. ISC is a merger of the “International Social Science Council (ISSC), formed in 1952 to promote the social sciences, including the economic and …