Thursday, December 17, 2009

Alice's Adventures in Algebra...

Read the New Scientist article about Melanie Bayley's research here.

CFP - Science and the Public 2010

Imperial College, London, 3rd and 4th of July 2010.

Now in its fifth year, the Science and the Public conference aims to bring together the various strands of academia which consider science’s relationships with groups generally called ‘the public’. Delegates come from a wide range of disciplines: science and technology studies, history of science, geography, psychology, cultural studies, media studies, sociology, development studies, English literature, science policy studies and more.

The range of topics covered may include (but are not limited to):
* Surveying public knowledge and attitudes.
* Science and the arts (including science fiction).
* Science, publics and personal identity.
* The role of industry and/ or the third sector in public engagement and scientific research.
* The challenges of ‘upstream’ engagement.
* Popular science and professionalization.
* Specific public-science issues: e.g. climate change, MMR, energy policy, GMOs.
* Studies of specific media: e.g. film, books, the internet, museums, radio.
* Science, religion and the ‘New Atheism’.
* Politically engaged scientists.
* Churnalism vs. investigative science journalism.
* Edu-tainment.
* Scientific advisers, spin and secrecy.
* Patients and publics in health services.
* Science and the sceptics.
* Amateur science.

Potential contributors should email a 300 word abstract to by 1st March 2010. Please include full contact details (name, affiliation, email) of all authors.

Panel proposals should include a panel abstract and individual abstracts for each of the papers on the panel as well as contact information (name, affiliation, email) of the presider (moderator) and all panel members.

All submissions should be emailed to by 1st March 2010. All other enquires also to this address.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

LitSciMed Social Space

Join the new Social Space of the Theories and Methods: Literature, Science, Medicine group here. For further details see here.

Boojums All the Way Through

I thought I'd add to the blog a reference to the book I mentioned at the group's last discussion -- David Mermin's delightful and fascinating collection of essays, "Boojums All the Way Through: Communicating Science in a Prosaic Age". Here Mermin explains his coinage of the Carollian term "boojum" for a particular configuration of a spherical drop of superfluid Helium-3 remaining after a precursor has "softly and suddenly vanished away", his heroic campaign to get "boojum" into Physical Review Letters, and another skirmish with the editors of Physical Review over the acceptability of referring to a paper as "charming". The volume also contains a relativistic tragicomedy that has been termed "the only [known] Elizabethan drama that is explicitly Lorentz invariant", some very nice pedagogical introductions to quantum entanglement and nonlocality, and much else for anyone involved or interested in science or scientific exposition to enjoy.

Adrian Kent

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Alternatives Théatrâles

A while ago, we spent a very successful and enjoyable couple of terms discussing science and drama. One of the participants, Liliane Campos, has now co-edited a special issue of the journal "Alternatives Théatrâles", entitled "Côté Sciences" and dedicated to this topic. The issue includes articles by three of us -- Liliane's own contribution, one by Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, and my decidedly experimental attempt to say something about Frayn's "Copenhagen" from the perspective of a quantum physicist. Other contributors include John Barrow, Bruno Latour and Lewis Wolpert. More details and a full list of contributors here. The issue was launched late last month at Le Laboratoire.

I'm looking forward to reading the other contributions -- and maybe to the group returning to science and drama some time soon.

Adrian Kent

CFP - Science Communication Conference

24-25 May 2010, London

The British Science Association is working in partnership with the Wellcome Trust to organise the 2010 Science Communication Conference. The event will take place from 24-25 May in central London and we are now looking for people and organisations to propose sessions.

The conference addresses the key issues facing science communicators in the UK and each year brings together people who are involved in public engagement - a diverse group of people from a broad range of backgrounds. It is a fantastic opportunity to network, share ideas and good practice.
The theme for the conference will be ‘audiences for engagement’ and can involve experts from other disciplines who have engaged successfully with certain audiences, not necessarily about science.
Conference sessions are generally 60-75 minutes long and run in parallel with between two and five other sessions. This allows for smaller group discussion and better sharing of learning. We wish to encourage a range of formats at the conference. It is more likely that your proposal will be successful if you use a format other than a traditional panel of a certain number of speakers and a chair. We are particularly interested in showcasing activities within the sessions.

If you are interested in submitting a session idea please visit:
www.britishscienceassociation/ScienceCommunicationConference for more information. Here you can view programmes and reports from previous conferences.

Please note that the deadline for submissions is Monday 21 December 2009. If you would like to discuss your idea prior to submission then please contact Alice Taylor-Gee on 020 7019 4940 or email

If you would like to receive updates about the conference then please sign up to our e-lert list by emailing with 'SCC e-lert' in the subject line.