Just published: my latest journal paper, in the Journal of Science Communication, reporting the first results of a survey of 575 Doctor Who fans about the show’s impact on their relationship to science.
Punchline: some viewers were inspired to pursue science careers because of Doctor Who, while for others it contributed to their ideas about science ethics, the place of science in society, and more. But it varied, a lot.
Paper here (open access): here.
Data here, if you’re interested in looking, citing or collaborating with me on further analyses: here.
Conversation article summarising the main points: here.
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.
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.
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:
Republished blog post, first posted at Diffusion in January 2010.
Edited only to update some key dates and references, so the content reflects the time.
Posted for archival purposes.
The UK’s public broadcaster the BBC has this month [January 2010, the original date I posted this essay] commissioned a study into representations of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in its fiction and non-fiction programs (BBC News, 2010).
Of particular interest to science communicators is representations of scientists in fiction, and this study seems a timely prompt to ask: are there any queer scientist characters on telly?
Last year Ginger Gorman of local Canberra ABC radio 666 interviewed me about science in Doctor Who and my Doctor Who research on her program ‘Emporium’.
An edited version of that interview was today rebroadcast on Radio National on The Science Show, and can be heard at the program’s website.