All the reports from the inquiries into the climategate issue are worth reading. It is the nature of thoughtful inquiries that not only are problems identified, claims checked and unjustified accusations refuted. There are also usually some suggestions for improvements.
I think the attention that has been paid to issues like peer review, importance of statistical analysis, making public data available and the handling of freedom of information requests has been worthwhile. Hopefully scientific institutes, professional bodies and scientific journals will pay attention.
The Independent Climate Change email Review which reported last week made interesting comments on the communication of science and the role of scientists in this. Mike at Watching the Deniers has written a thoughtful article on lessons we can draw from this report on this and other matters. It’s well worth a read – I recommend it (see The chief lesson of Climategate: the depths of our naivety).
Posted in blogging, politics, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged Carl Sagan, climate change, climategate, communication, global warming, Mass media, New Zealand, Public space, science blogging, Scientific journal
Book review: Am I Making Myself Clear?: A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public by Cornelia Dean
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (October 30, 2009)
I bet you can name some good science communicators. People like Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Carolyn Porco, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss among others
They stand out, don’t they? Probably because the rest of us are bad science communicators. We picture scientists as ponderous, given to continual qualification, lovers of jargon, bad speakers (as well as bad dressers) and not interested in communicating with the non-expert anyway. We don’t even want to communicate effectively with fellow scientists for a different speciality or research area.
Perhaps that’s a bit harsh. There are many scientists, particularly younger ones, who recognise science communication is important. Some of these probably consciously try to pick up relevant communication skills, and/or practise these in internet and other public settings.
Perhaps more importantly, there are many scientists who recognise science communication is important.
Posted in book review, New Zealand, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged Carl Sagan, Carolyn Porco, communication, Large Hadron Collider, Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Science in Society, scientific communication
WordPress now enables inclusion of TED videos – a great resource.
So to try it out I’m posting a video I recently watched of a talk by Bonnie Bassler – Discovering bacteria’s amazing communication system
It’s only 18 minutes long – but its fascinating.
Yes. I say this because of the science funding reforms of the 1990s – particularly as they effected the Crown Research Institutes. For better or worse (and it was both better and worse) the change in science funding forced scientists closer to industry. Stakeholders (a new word for many of us at the time) got input into science funding decisions and scientists became more motivated to form contacts and collaborations with these stakeholders.
Now scientists attend non-specialist industry conferences and workshops, speak about their work to industry groups and attempt to get coverage in relevant newspapers and magazines. This means scientists have had to improve their skills in communicating their findings and ideas to non-specialists.
Posted in blogging, creationism, culture, evolution, intelligent design, New Zealand, news, NZ blog rankings, politics, science
Tagged communication, science blogging, science communication, science21
Science communication, specifically science blogging, is the topic of an international conference in London later this month*. I wonder how many New Zealanders will attend. I hope some do as science communication is a real problem in New Zealand.
There is some great science being done here. Unfortunately we rarely hear about it – and then only selected bits and pieces. I think that is sad. Especially as there are widespread criticism in our community of the scientific enterprise. Creationism/intelligence design ideas are only one aspect of this. There are also irrational and anti-scientific ideas behind much of the alternative health fads and products. And then there are the faith healers and spiritualists.