Bacteria, metaphors and responsible language use

A lot has been written about the war on bacteria, especially in the context of antimicrobial resistance. Some articles reflect on the metaphor of war in medicine and in microbiology more generally, others deal with the metaphors of bacterial communication and communities. A few papers look more closely at the way bacteria are anthropomorphised in the …

Antimicrobial resistance and climate change: Communication, governance and responsibility

Last week I was reading some tweets from an international science communication conference held at Dunedin, New Zealand. As I have blogged and written about hype, I was particularly interested in tweets about a fascinating Roundtable convened by Tara Roberson entitled: “Can hype be a force for good? – Debating the benefits and drawbacks of science …

Eyes, erosion and expertise

Over the last month or so I have been struggling with some eye problems. Several times I found myself in Eye Casualty and observed the sun rising over the Queen’s Medical Centre buildings. I am glad they exist just around the corner from where I live. It took a long time to get the bottom …

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 …

AMR and the ‘rhetoric of resistance’

Today Helen Lambert, the ESRC‘s AMR champion, posted a blog post under the title ‘Rhetoric of resistance‘ on the AMR Social Science Champion Blog ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (UNGA) meeting about which she also tweeted during the day. “The primary objective of the meeting is to summon and maintain strong …

Antibiotic resistant infections in the news

In 2015 issues relating to antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial resistance have been widely discussed in the media, by medical experts and policy makers. 2015 ended with reports that antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea is becoming increasingly difficult to treat and that scientists in China discovered a gene in E. coli that makes it resistant to a class of …

Infectious futures

On Sunday (9 August) I did something for the first time. I went to a ‘con’ or convention: the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2015. How did this happen? A few months ago, Lydia Nicholas from Nesta approached me with a fascinating project. In collaboration with Joshua Ryan-Saha, the Assistant Manager of the Longitude Prize, she had …

Advanced fermenters

I recently dipped my blogging toe into the microbiome, lured there by Jon Turney’s book I, Superorganism. A few days ago, while trying to find an old email on a completely unrelated topic, I came across a comment by Denis Noble that he had sent me when we were corresponding about the microbiome in around …