Science is Vital
In a special edition of this weekly summary, we’re putting the Science is Vital campaign to the top of the agenda. Most Nature Network readers will already be familiar with the campaign, instigated by UCL researcher (and NN blogger) Jennifer Rohn. But the message is vital and bears repeating. In the face of drastic cuts to UK research, the SiV campaign seeks to mobilise scientists into fighting for funding. Jennifer provides an update on progress to date, including a collaboration with the Campaign for Science and Engineering and an early day motion in parliament. Stephen Curry is also a trenchant supporter, recording a short example of how basic research can lead to remarkable applications. Ed Gerstner, meanwhile, has written to his MP and publishes the letter on his blog. And keep an eye on the Nature Network Science Policy in the UK forum, where this and other matters are being discussed.
If you’re British, or work in the UK, here are some things you can do to help:
- Join the Facebook group and follow on Twitter for regular updates.
- Sign the petition.
- Write to your MP.
- Join in the demonstration on 9 October.
- Attend the lobbying session at Westminster on 12 October.
A warm welcome to Bárbara Ferreira, Nature Network’s newest blogger. Bárbara’s Dinner Party Science blog will tackle the ‘conversation pieces’ of science…the bits you could bring up at the dinner table. As Bárbara explains…
This blog’s inspiration is a Portuguese expression: “desbloqueador de conversa” (literally, conversation unblocker). Something you say at a dinner party when silence kicks in or when some of the people at the table are having a heated argument and ruining the atmosphere. A snappy way of changing the topic of conversation: “Did you know that the penis of the blue whale can be 8 feet long?”. Go figure, my favourite ones are related to science. Actually, what I find interesting is the science behind the fact so that is what I plan to write about. Use it if you need it.
Our ‘must-read’ pick of the week has to go to Eva Amsen, who proclaims, both vocally and sartorially, that no one cares about your blog. Her tale is perhaps the only critique of science communication ever to be told from the perspective of a crumpled up T-shirt.
In a hugely varied pool of other highlights, Jim Caryl ponders plasmid puzzles, Ayusman Sen attempts to give nanobots memory, Brian Derby discusses the construction of nuclear reactors, and Frank Norman records his thoughts on the use of e-books by researchers (a session he chaired at the recent Science Online London conference).
For anyone who’s ever struggled to keep up with the various acronyms, product groups and online properties of NPG (that’s Nature Publishing Group, by the way, and not the National Portrait Gallery), here’s a handy guide to help.