Doctor Who engages viewers with science, but not all the time and not consistently

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.

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Science fiction as a potent policy tool

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.

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First article for The Conversation: Doctor Who’s female scientists through time

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.

Very exciting!