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Brigitte Nerlich

Brigitte Nerlich

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Posts by Brigitte Nerlich

‘An Inconvenient Truth’: Exploring the dynamics of making climate change public

Warren Pearce and I wrote a guest post for And Then There is Physics. I am reposting it here with permission. *** In 2006, Al Gore’s climate change documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ (AIT) was released, garnering substantial public attention. In a forthcoming chapter of a book on Science and the Politics of Openness (part of …

The mystery of the missing Martians

When the present is depressing and the future uncertain, it is sometimes nice to retreat to the past, especially to past futures. I recently tried to distract myself from the present by staring at Venus, Moon and Mars illuminating the evening sky. I then led my eyes wander around the internet and I inadvertently came …

Building bridges in mind, language and society

On 2 January Mo Costandi tweeted: “’Be the neurotransmitter in your world. Diffuse ideas & human connections.’ Talking, the new world changing concept”. The quote within the tweet was taken from an article by David Rowan, Editor of Wired, in response to the 2017 question posed by Edge: What scientific term or concept ought to …

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Science communication: Mary Somerville

Every so often, and yet again just before Christmas this year, little skirmishes erupt on the history of science scene when somebody says that the word ‘scientist’ was first coined for Mary Somerville. The claim is then rebuffed by pointing out that the term was first used in print in 1834 in a review of …

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Ernst Haeckel, Christmas Cards, and Fake News

This is a brief post inspired by a tweet which led me down a rabbit-hole…. I was looking idly through my tweets this morning when my eye landed on one by Mo Costandi saying “Before his ‘Artforms in Nature’ (, Ernst Haeckel designed greeting cards”. This led me to a flickr page where John Holbo …

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Making Science Public: 2016 blog round-up

This has been a weird and momentous year. For me personally and, even more so, for the world. In June this year we celebrated the almost end of the Making Science Public programme, which I directed between 2012 and 2016. At the end of September I retired, after working for more than 25 years at the University …

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Climate Change on the Bathroom Wall: How Vice, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post report on environmental issues

This is guest post by Mike S. Schäfer, Professor of Science Communication at the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research (IPMZ) and Director of the Center for Higher Education and Science Studies at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. This article was first published in the European Journalism Observatory, Dec 14, 2016. *** Shouting protesters …

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Origins of life; origins of synthetic biology

I was sitting on a train to London the other day reading a fascinating article on the early history of synthetic biology. In this post I just want to share some interesting insights I gleaned from that paper, as it’s always a good thing to know a bit more about the history of a field …

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Making sense of plasticity

I recently got an invitation to a workshop on ‘Plasticity and its Limits’ (which will bring together scholars from the social sciences, humanities and life sciences). When I accepted the invitation I had, I have to confess, not given much thought to the concept of plasticity – I had, however, written some blog posts about …

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