Science matters (whether you are a scientist or not)

In the last few days I’ve come across a couple of articles talking about science communication. This is not a new topic, it periodically comes up, but it’s always interesting to hear new views and opinions.

The first article I’m referring to appeared on Nature and proposes the engagement with the public as a new year resolution for scientists and researchers. There are plenty of reasons to do it. We all know that president elected Donald Trump has denied many times climate changes. Even if this is probably the most limelight example, it isn’t an isolate situation. A growing number of people is no longer vaccinating their children (the reasons for me are totally not understandable) and, thinking of my country, I can’t forget the damages that the “Stamina affair” did to many italian families, politics, scientists and public opinion.

The second one appeared among my retweets the other day and, I think, it gives a good perspective on why to engage science communications. Just to mention one of the point of the article: “science communication is often the dissemination of the results of research that has been funded by public money. Scientific grants are funded by government budgets, which in turn are fuelled by taxpayers’ money. If the public deserves to know how their tax money is used to maintain roads, run schools and improve infrastructure, then why should they be kept in the dark about how their money is being used to advance science?”

I think this blog is far away to be an influential source of science communication (give me time! some of the reasons that pushed me to start this blog are pinpointed here), but what I can probably do right now is to suggest my favourite pool of science communicators (in any particular order).

  1. Christmas is over. Christmas lectures are not! I’ve discovered them only this year but they are a real institution in the UK. Royal Society Christmas lectures began in 1825 to introduce a young audience to a scientific subject through spectacular demonstrations. Initially lectures were spread during the year but then they were concentrated in the Christmas break. Faraday is the person who gave most lectures reaching the impressive number of 19 times. You can find more about Christmas lectures here. So don’t lose time and catch up with all the ones you missed (as I’m going to do)!
  2. The naked scientists, the_naked_scientists_logoa podcast run by Cambridge University scientists.They are brilliant. You simply have to listen to them.
    Their showis about an hour long every week and every time it goes so fast. They often host Questions&Answers sessions so if you have a curiosity you just need to let them know and they will find the answer. Recently I’ve particularly enjoyed the show in which they have analysed the genome contained in a smoothie. Everything is really very well done.
  3. Compound Interest. Think about…whatever! Well, probably Andy Brunning has made an infographic of it. From the chemistry of food to wine and spirits, from the smell of books to fireworks pollution. His work is amazing and according to me, should be used in all schools across the world during chemistry classes (but can be really useful to everyone).Molecular-Cocktails-Gelification.png
  4. Reactions. I follow them in particular through their youtube channel. They mainly produce video to explain chemistry reactions (also in this case, food is one of the favourite topic). Since we are still recovery from Christmas Parties and boozes, clicking this link you could find out the chemistry of an hangover. But this only an example.
  5. Pint of Science brings science to the pub. Researchers, along 3 days of May, pint-of-scigive lectures about their research in the pubs drinking beers and talking to a lay audience. The initiative was born in UK but has now spread worldwide. Many country are holding Pint of Science so get ready for 2017 edition and if you are curious have a look the the website.
    Find your but enjoy a beer and enjoy science.
  6. Vivid Biology. I’ve discovered the website only few months ago. They take cutting edge science and turn it into illustrations, infographics, and animations. I find their work very direct. Also science needs colours.

    screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-18-44-00
    Neurons

These are only few examples. The Web is full of well explained science, but sometimes it’s difficult to find reliable informations. I certainly miss lots of things. What is your favourite blog, website, podcast? Can you suggest me something?

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