Information overload. As if there weren’t enough problems.
With science facing so many challenges right now (EU membership referendum and comprehensive spending review, among others), it is important for all of us stay tuned (scary articles regarding the science funding are published almost daily, you wouldn’t want to miss out, otherwise, where will you get your horror stories?).
While tabloids will get the main message across, you might want to look at these 14 blogs that will give you an idea on what happens behind the scene in science policy. Continue reading →
There is a huge appetite for science stories in the news, however, we cannot help but wonder whether everything we read is accurate or rather just a marketing ploy (some of the stories do sound too good to be true). We have all seen headlines that don’t always reflect the content due to the lack of evidence to support it, or worse yet – no evidence at all.
At our recent Policy Lunchbox Dr Chris Peters, scientific liaison at Sense About Science, shared an overview of their work, and in particular, his experience running Plant Science and Energy Panels – public spaces where anyone who has a question on these topics (eg. GM, bees and pesticides, biofuels, fracking) can submit a question to be answered by a specialist researcher. Continue reading →
If you are a third year student, you will be familiar with the question “so, what are you doing after you graduate?” You are getting frustrated just by reading that, aren’t you? Some people have known what they want to do since their first day at university and never change their minds. However, most of us aren’t that lucky – we have a vague idea of our future, but as our studies progress we see the picture in our head change, often causing a fair bit of anxiety because you had it “all figured out” and now you feel lost.
There have been many student societies throughout history: some small, some public, some secret and some that housed the great minds of future scientists. The Plinian Society was a student club at the University of Edinburgh back in the early 19th century that witnessed the early stages of many great scientists’ careers, including Charles Darwin’s. Despite it being a student society, regulations were very tight, with an elaborate code of laws and a highly selective joining process. Members, once voted in, would meet in an underground room at the university, discuss papers and sometimes even present their own research, usually in a form of critiques of the work of established scientists.
The format of student societies might have changed a lot since the 19th century, with this slightly macabre, underground atmosphere giving way to a more open and social environment, but the principle behind them is the same: a society remains a safe place to discuss scientific ideas, and to promote collaboration and engagement in science.
The festival was buzzing all weekend, attracting over 3000 attendees on Friday alone! It was a great way for families to add variety to their summer holidays by engaging in games and other activities, attending talks and even having 3D toys made for them during the festival (we had a glimpse at some brilliant 3D geckos being made, so fascinating!).
The Society of Biology stand was one of the most popular ones at the festival, engaging over 200 children with their parents, more than half of whom made a fortune teller and played the matching pairs game. It is quite an art in itself to neatly fold a fortune teller, which is then followed by picking a number, folding the fortune teller as many times as the number picked and revealing a scientist with his or her most significant discovery. While folding a fortune teller needs concentration and dexterity, matching pairs game was all about memory and speed! Children could open only two cards out of sixteen at a time to try and find their scientist from the fortune teller with the matching discovery. Kids were very excited about the games, as some of them had already tried them at school, and those who hadn’t – picked it up very quickly and sometimes even came back for another one! Read more