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Brigitte Nerlich

Brigitte Nerlich

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Posts by Brigitte Nerlich

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 …


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 …

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, …

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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 …

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3D printing: When science and technology take us by surprise

3D printing (or ‘additive’ or ‘digital manufacturing’) has been around for a while (and we’ll see for how long further on in this post); even 4D printing has been around for a while. However, 3D printing only really came into focus for me quite recently, when I came across the metaphors ‘3D printer of life’ …

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Making weather personal

I was idly reading The Observer on Sunday (2 March, 2014), when I happened to glance at an article about the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. I read: “The past few months, too, have shown how vulnerable an island community is when the weather becomes truculent”. Truculent I thought; that’s …

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Working across science cultures: A student’s experience

This guest post is the outcome of a twitter conversation between Brigitte and Stephanie Ashenden. It’s great to have a student guest-post on this blog! Attending my first ever lecture back in my first year of university was without a doubt, one of the biggest eye openers to the competitive nature of the job market. …

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Global warming is dead, long live global heating?

This post emerged from a weekend conversation between Mike Hulme, Brigitte Nerlich and Warren Pearce. It is also available as a pdf. There has been a lot of talk recently about a so-called ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in global warming. Some argue that it poses a serious challenge to established climate science and may undermine its …

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How to do things with GIFs: Some musings on online science communication

Some weeks ago my son said to me: “Mum, you should write a blog post about GIFs”. As I am a bit of a techno-culture-laggard, I asked him what these things were. He showed me a few and they made me laugh. They also made me think. Images, GIFs, infographics, short videos and so on …

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