Chris Toumey (1949-2022)

Chris Robinson has just told me the sad news that Chris Toumey (a cultural anthropologist who worked at the University of South Carolina) has died very suddenly. Chris was a kindred spirit and a fantastic science communicator. So, instead of writing an obituary, I’ll tell you a little personal story about engagement, energy, enthusiasm and …

Moving on and getting on with it

Phrasal verbs are interesting. You have verbs, like ‘move’ and ‘get’ for example. But you also have so-called phrasal verbs, verbs that are made up of a main verb together with an adverb or a preposition, or both, such as ‘move on’, in, out, over or ‘get on’, in, out, over etc., or even ‘move …

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 …

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 …

The Institute for Science and Society: Past, present, future

Many of you will have seen a new video of the brilliant work done at the Faculty of Social Sciences here at the University of Nottingham since about 1948. I was looking at this during my last days as Director of the Making Science Public programme and also through the eyes of a co-founder of …

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 …