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Brigitte Nerlich

Brigitte Nerlich

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Posts by Brigitte Nerlich

Paddling in the shallow end of knowledge

This post was prompted by two things. I, a social scientist of sorts, recently tried to read two books, Smashing Physics by Jon Butterworth and Synthetic Biology: A Primer by Paul Freemont and Richard Kitney. I also listened in to some conversations where people spoke about how problematic they find it to understand social science …

Philae: Where space science meets language science

As those who care about that type of thing will know, Philae, the robotic lander on board the Rosetta spacecraft, will try to touch down on the surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12. While we await the next episode in this space adventure, another episode in an adventure here on earth is unfolding …

The invisibles: Science, publics and surveys

This is a guest post by two science communication researchers, one working at the University of Otago, New Zealand, the other at the University of Queensland, Australia: Fabien Medvecky and Joan Leach. How much can large-scales surveys tell us about attitudes to science and what can we say about the categories of publics constructed around …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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