Science, sensationalism and the dangers of over-selling research

This is a GUEST POST by FREYA HARRISON. Freya works in Steve Diggle’s group in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Nottingham, where she researches the ecology and evolution of cooperation. She spends most of her time exploring how communication and cooperation help bacteria to cause chronic infections, but she is also …

Bring on the Yawns: Time to Expose Science’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Guest post by visiting fellow, Jeff Tamblyn, film maker and director of Kansas vs. Darwin. As a visiting fellow in the “Making Science Public” project, I’ve had a great first week at the University of Nottingham, filled by conversations with social science scholars and capped off with the events of May Fest – a day in …

Debating empty chairs: creationism, climate and public engagement

This week, Making Science Public has been very proud to welcome US film director Jeff Tamblyn during his UK visit. On Wednesday we screened his amazing film, Kansas vs Darwin, a documentary charting the attempts by members of the Kansas School Board to introduce creationism and intelligent design into high school science teaching. The film …

Families of climate scepticism I: faulty science?

At last week’s British Sociological Association conference, I presented some initial observations from my research on climate change scepticism. My starting point was that climate change scepticism – or as it is often inaccurately described, denial – is not monolithic. Those people typically labelled as sceptics vary in their arguments. Sometimes may employ many different arguments, some may focus on …

The privatisation of science is not in the public interest

This Blog post is a summary and more extended reflection on some thoughts presented as part of the ‘Making Science Public’ launch event. In the afternoon we kick-started a debate about issues related to the privatisation of science with two short talks by Alex Smith (tasked with speaking in favour of the motion as set …

The Threat of Fracking: Real or Constructed?

Guest post by Dr. Rusi Jaspal, Research Fellow on the ESRC’s Climate Change as a Complex Social Issue programme in the School of Sociology & Social Policy. Global energy consumption is likely to rise significantly over the next two decades with some estimates indicating an annual rise of 1.6%. It is widely acknowledged that fossil fuels …

Inside climate science: the opening and closing of IPCC expertise

This is a guest post by the University of Nottingham’s Paul Matthews – outlining what he can (and can’t!) divulge about the IPCC’s peer review process. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the scientific body established by the United Nations to provide assessments of current knowledge in this complex and controversial field of …

The impact of earthquakes on making science public

Many articles have been written about the case of three seismologists, two engineers, a volcanologist and a public official who have been sentenced to be jailed for six years on 22 October in L’Aquila, Italy (although this sentence may be reduced on appeal).  These members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of …