The language and politics of hope

Yesterday, feeling rather under the weather, I whiled away my time as a sniffling wreck by sitting on twitter and watching the world tweet by. I also diverted myself by watching the James Comey testimony in the US. Then I watched the exit polls for the General Election in the UK. Then I fell asleep and woke up to …

Reflections on retirement

So, I am about to retire and become Emeritus Professor at the end of the month. That makes one think! The problem is I have been thinking for a while – but to no avail! People ask me what I’ll do and I say I don’t know – and I really don’t. I’ll still supervise …

That was the week that was

This week was one of the strangest weeks of my life. In the middle of the week I had two days of real enjoyment. On Tuesday, 21 June, current and former members of our Institute for Science and Society came together at an event organised for me by Sujatha Raman and entitled ‘Adventures in Science, …

Science and politics in an uncertain world

Our end of award conference is taking place on Wednesday 22 June and I know that I should be writing something cheerful and upbeat about our programme, what we have done and are still doing. However, the conference is happening at a difficult time, and somehow I have lost my blogging enthusiasm. The conference is …

The ‘Making Science Public’ blog: What is it for?

Our ‘Making Science Public’ blog puzzles some readers, and perhaps rightly so. One blogger in particular pointed out recently that he found what we are doing ‘confusing’. This confusion emerged in particular in the context of us posting some guest-posts on climate science and climate politics (and climate scepticism) and also in the context of …

Making thoughts public: One year on

This is the end of the year and a time for reflection. I have now been blogging for just under a year and, looking back, this has been quite a learning curve, about blogging, myself, and the various topics I have blogged about.  At first I had been rather reluctant to take up blogging and …

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Some family memories

It will soon be time for our family to sit down and watch the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. This is a ritual that is almost as important as Christmas itself. When I came to Oxford in 1985 from Germany, having studied French and philosophy. I had never heard of the Christmas lectures and ‘science’ was …

The scientist as political tourist: the perils of pairing

On Wednesday last week (31 October 2012), BBC Radio Four’s ‘Today’ programme featured a scheme run by the Royal Society to promote interaction and engagement between civil servants, Parliamentarians and scientists. According to their website, the ‘Pairing Scheme’ seeks to match participating scientists ‘with either an MP or civil servant and the Royal Society supports …

The story of ‘of’

Since moving away from linguistics and into Science and Technology Studies (STS), I have often been asked what I am (a question I dread) and what I do (a question that is slightly more easy to answer). These questions came back to me recently when reading a very interesting article in New Scientist about the …