Of Schemes and Memes Blog

The Best of Nature Network: 26 June-2 July 2010


Nature Network started the week in playfully confrontational mood, as Jennifer Rohn launched a riposte to the science-smearing articles by journalist Simon Jenkins. Her opening broadside sets the scene:

He slammed the outgoing President of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, for defending the Large Hadron Collider and the importance of science to society in his Reith lectures. He heaped vitriol on the new UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation building going up in London because it is apparently a “cathedral of science, justified by faith, not reason”. He actually said scientists, and I quote, “just want money”. Money, folks, is the only reason why we’re in the science game. (Someone just told me how much Jenkins earns for writing his columns, and I can assure you that it’s far more lucrative than my post-doctoral stipend.)

She then encouraged other bloggers and tweeters to construct humorous anti-science rants as a satirical counter to Jenkins’ opinions. The ensuing Spoof Jenks Day was picked up by national media, including the Guardian. It also attracted contributions from several Nature Network bloggers, including sterling efforts from Richard Grant, Stephen Curry and Bob O’Hara, as well as Jennifer’s own piece.

Sticking with perceived attacks on science, Carlyn Zwarenstein talks about the current Canadian government’s track record on science funding and promotion. Hint: it’s not good. Nor are the job opportunities for many young scientists. Mico Tatalovic discusses the prospects for recent science communication graduates. Austin Elliott picks up the theme of communication with some thoughts on how professional scientists (as opposed to communicators) can reach out and listen to the public.

Finally, Cath Ennis ponders the mixed blessing of the grant deadline, and Ayusman Sen speaks on the differences between experimental and theoretical scientists.

Lindau Conference

Coverage of the ongoing meeting between Nobel Laureates and early-career scientists continues on the official blog. You can also find various accounts on Nature Network, including a cartoon from Viktor Poór and an appeal by Vishal Kalel to give the Nobel Peace Prize to the Lindau conference itself!


Nature Network stories are now being featured regularly on Nature’s Facebook page, which has over 11,000 fans. We’ll be highlighting the more opinionated, discussion-provoking or otherwise cool content, so this is your chance to reach a wider audience via blog posts and forum topics.


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