Like it or not, popular fiction shapes policy debates
In 2017, Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel proposed all leaders be required to read science fiction to help them understand the past and future of science and technology as well as how new innovations might affect human society.
Similarly, in 2015, his predecessor Ian Chubb said science teachers could learn a thing or two from the television sitcom The Big Bang Theory about making science fun.
This isn’t just Australian contrarianism. Britain’s former science minister Malcolm Wicks suggested in 2007 that teachers use scenes from Doctor Who and Star Wars to kickstart discussion in science classrooms.
Check out this lovely article in Smithsonian Mag by Lorraine Boissoneault, featuring interviews with me and Professor Michael Lynn.
Lindy Orthia and Rachel Morgain
How do you get people to care about your science? Is anybody listening?
Science communication is more than great charisma or fun writing. Context matters. So we produced this infographic of 5 mnemonics to help.
If you want to know more about any of the 5, read on.
Click image to download or find it at slideshare here.
And my second post for The Conversation concerns similarities between this year’s federal election issues and the concerns of Sydney citizens writing into the Sydney Gazette in 1803 and 1804.
Today marks a significant event in any academic’s life – my first article for The Conversation.
Even more significant for a science communication academic who wants to practice what she preaches.
Rachel Morgain and I published a piece based on our Doctor Who, gender and science research paper which is already gaining traction in the number of reads.
Today I published in Minerva a review paper examining the reception of a classic 1993 history of science paper by Andrew Cunningham and Perry Williams that proposed a new big picture of the history of science to replace the prevailing ‘Scientific Revolution’-based big picture.
Cunningham and Williams proposed instead that ‘science’ (read modern, western science) was invented in the late 18th/early 19th century in an institutional and ideological sense. And therefore science is only modern and western, and needs to be de-centred within our big picture conceptions of the history of human knowledge-making, and seen more on a par with every other knowledge-making system across the world and through time.
I have been enamoured of their paper since I read it, and wanted to find out if other scholars have accepted, rejected or ignored it in the 20 years since they published it. In other words, should I take it seriously?
Hence my review paper, published here.
I’ve started an addictive new hobby – making designs for t-shirts (or coffee mugs, notebooks, throw cushions, and more) to celebrate my academic publications.
The fantastic platform Redbubble allows anyone to upload designs for free and then shows what they would look like on a t-shirt, coffee mug etc. Members of the public can then buy a t-shirt or coffee mug with your design on it, and you have the option to make some money out of it, but adding a percentage onto the sale price (you determine the percentage).
I have a 0% markup on all my items as I’m not interested in money. But I’ve become completely addicted to making and buying my own designs.
I’ve made one design to celebrate a forthcoming paper in Historical Records of Australian Science about science communication in colonial Sydney, here in coffee mug form:
In a new paper I co-authored with my PhD student Rashel Li, we show that viewers of The Big Bang Theory learn about aspects of the nature of science from the sitcom. The paper was published in the International Journal of Science Education Part B, and was based on data from Rashel’s PhD research. Continue reading
In 2011 I co-supervised Martina Donkers in an innovative honours project in which she put on a production of the play A Number by renowned English playwright Caryl Churchill, then undertook survey and focus group-based research to find out whether and how audience members engaged with the play’s theme human cloning.
We have now published that research in the International Journal of Science Education, Part B – available here.
If you can’t get past the journal paywall, you can try here instead.
As of today I am recognised as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
This allows me to add the post-nominal SFHEA to my name.
The recognition comes for my teaching work, including curriculum development, research supervision and program management.
I am very proud to have achieved this level of recognition for the teaching work I am so passionate about and that I believe is so important.
I thank Dr Beth Beckmann and Prof Michael Martin, Co-Chairs, ANU Educational Fellowship Committee, for their encouragement and support.