Gene drives and metaphors

I have been writing about developments in the biosciences for twenty years. In that time, I have covered a wide variety of topics, such as cloning, genomics, the human genome project, the microbiome project, faecal microbial transplants, synthetic biology, epigenetics, genome editing and now gene drive. I was lucky enough to get many reflections on …

IPCC reports, climate change and language work

This blog post is not about climate change communication. It is about what I call the ‘language work’ carried out by scientists when writing the various IPCC reports. Introduction On 9 August 2021 the first part of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, namely the Contribution of Working Group 1 …

Science Communication Research: Past Patterns and Future Perspectives

This post was first published by Alexander Gerber on the Public Understanding of Science Blog on 7 January 2021. It is cross-posted here with permission. This post provides an overview of a book Alex and his team recently published (open access) entitled Science Communication Research: An empirical field analysis. *** Just like other research fields …

Gene drives and societal narratives

Some days ago, I came across an interesting virtual conference (HT @Sarah_A_Hartley) about gene editing which includes a session on ‘societal narratives’. I have written quite a bit about societal narratives of gene editing, but more recently I became involved in the issue of ‘gene drive’, that is, “a system of biased inheritance in which …

Covidcomm

We have all heard about the epidemic of misinformation, even the epidemiology of misinformation, that is emerging and spreading alongside the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Staring this tsunami in the face, I began to wonder: is there anything good out there as well, something we can be proud of in terms of information and communication? I …

What R we talking about? Pandemics and numbers

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought us many new words and phrases, words and phrases that are reshaping our lives, such as ‘social distancing’, furlough, WFH (working from home), which I always read as WTF, zoom meetings, PPE and so on. It has also brought with it lots of numbers and graphs and other mathematical and/or …

Chanting to the choir: The dialogical failure of antithetical climate change blogs

This is a guest post by Jennifer Metcalfe on a paper she just published. The article explored the potential for people commenting underneath two very different, even antithetical, blogs dealing with climate science, to chat about and engage with climate science. *** My paper, Chanting to the choir: the dialogical failure of antithetical climate change …

Moral Dilemmas in Science Journalism about Genetics Research: The case of gene drives

Guest post by Rebecca Hardesty, Ph.D. Rebecca Hardesty is a postdoctoral scholar in science education and communication at UC San Diego in its Division of Biological Sciences and the Teaching + Learning Commons. *** The New York Times Magazine rang in the New Year with a featured piece by Jennifer Kahn recounting the promises and …