Studies of New and Emerging Technologies Editor-in-Chief: Christopher Coenen ISSN: 1871-4757 (print version) ISSN: 1871-4765 (electronic version) Journal no. 11569
Provides a needed forum for informed discussion of ethical and social concerns related to nanotechnology
Counterbalances fragmented, opinionated public discussion
Discussion is informed by the physical, biological and social sciences and the law
Nanoscale technologies are surrounded by both hype and fear. Optimists suggest they are desperately needed to solve problems of terrorism, global warming, clean water, land degradation and public health. Pessimists fear the loss of privacy and autonomy, “grey goo” and weapons of mass destruction, and unforeseen environmental and health risks. Concern over fair distribution of the costs and benefits of nanotechnology is also rising
Introduced in 2007, [emphasis mine] NanoEthics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale provides a needed forum for informed discussion of ethical and social concerns related to nanotechnology, and a counterbalance to fragmented popular discussion.
While the central focus of the journal is on ethical issues, discussion extends to the physical, biological and social sciences and the law. NanoEthics provides a philosophically and scientifically rigorous examination of ethical and societal considerations and policy concerns raised by nanotechnology.
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Here’s the text from the April 16, 2019 email announcement,
We invite papers for a special issue in the journal “NanoEthics: Studies of New and Emerging Technologies”.
AFTER THE HYPE IS BEFORE THE HYPE – FROM BIO TO NANO TO AI: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN NANOSCIENCES AND NANOTECHNOLOGIES?
Since the early 2000’s, Nanosciences and nanotechnologies (NST) have been massively promoted in many parts of the world. Two things were striking about these policies: first, the hype surrounding NST; second, the prominence of public engagement–citizen dialogue, deliberation and participation–in NST discourse and policy. Nanotechnology became a laboratory for the programmatic and practical development of a range of forms of public engagement such as “upstream” and “midstream engagement”, or policy approaches that prominently integrate public engagement such as “anticipatory governance”, “real-time technology assessment”, or “responsible research and innovation”.
From bio to nano: A major reason for this noticeable rise of public engagement in NST are the food scandals and technology controversies in the late 1990’s, in particular the controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These controversies came to be seen as the result of elites’ reductionist and arrogant approach to the public. To avoid a similar public backlash against NST authorities and decision-makers in science and politics should open doors for public engagement and humble dialogue. Obviously, the public crisis around GMOs had triggered a learning process.
From nano to AI: Today, the hype surrounding NST has waned and so have concerns that nanotechnology might fall prey to a public backlash. Nothing comparable to the public backlash against GMOs ever happened to Nano. In fact, NST hardly became controversial. Meanwhile, new technology hypes pervade the public discourse. Synthetic biology, genetic editing or Artificial Intelligence (AI) are recent examples. In each case, we observe parallels to the discourses on public engagement in NST. In the case of AI, for example, prominent researchers and think tanks warn against a public backlash if policy makers and funders fail to foster public support through public engagement.
From bio to nano to AI: We suggest that social learning processes intertwined with technology hypes pervade these and other arenas of technology governance. While the GM controversy had a visible (albeit not yet fully understood) effect on the NST field, today, we ask which lessons can be drawn – and have been drawn by science policy actors – from the NST field? Where do we stand today after 20 years of public engagement in nanotechnology and other emerging technologies, and what is there to learn for the “new governance” of most recently hyped technologies such as AI?
POSSIBLE TOPICS INCLUDE:
Societal effects and social learnings of Public Engagement (PE)
– How can we conceptualize the social learning processes which seem to manifest in technology governance over the past twenty years? Have new patterns of interpretation been established regarding the nature of a successful or failed technology governance? If so, how can they be described and distinguished from the “old” patterns of interpretation?
– Does the fact that NST mostly remained uncontroversial mean that the early emphasis on public engagement in the NST field made it more “socially robust”, “democratic” and “reflexive”? Have the right “lessons” been drawn (from the past for the future)?
– Why and how does the trend toward public engagement manifest itself in different national political cultures? How did certain public engagement formats travel across national borders in the NST policy field?
PE between hype and reflexivity
– What happens after the hype? With enthusiastic/dystopian discourse subsiding, do public engagement activities also vane? What happened to the engagement hype and to ambitious policy metaphors such as “upstream engagement”? Have they been forgotten? Will they reappear, or be reinvented, with the next big techno hype?
– For the social sciences nanotechnology has provided an opportunity to step up research and policy intervention. How can the role/agency of the social sciences in public engagement processes be conceptualized? In which way has this role changed in the past 20 years? Which role conflicts or normative dilemmas arise from it?
PE between strategic and transformative uses
– Did public engagement (ever) make a difference in the governance of NST or other emerging technologies? How have public engagement initiatives been integrated (or ignored) in the governance of NST and other emerging technologies?
– Has public engagement had identifiable impacts on policies or institutions related to NST or other fields of technoscientific discourse and policy? Did public engagement have the effect of problematizing, shifting or even reshaping epistemic and political demarcation lines between the public, scientific expertise and policy subsystems? What can we expect for the future?
Several formats are available. We specifically invite original research papers. In addition, contributions can come in the form of shorter discussion notes, communications and responses, letters, art-science interactions, interviews or anecdotes, and book reviews.
Not being familiar with either of the organizers, I also searched for them online.
Franz Seifert has been an independent social scientist since 2000 according to his CV (on academia.edu). At a guess, he’s based in Austria. I found his CV quite interesting, both it and his list of publications is extensive, all of it related to the topic of the special issue.
Camilo Fautz is a member of the scientific staff at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) and a PhD student, if his profile page is up-to-date. He too has a number of papers on ‘relevant to the special issue’ topics listed on his profile page.
Every two years, the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) holds Europe’s largest interdisciplinary meeting and City of Science festivities. The last ESOF/City of Science shindig was held in Toulouse, France in 2018. Organizers are now gearing up for 2020 in Trieste, Italy.
The ESOF meeting will be held from July 5-9, 2020 but there is much, much more as you can see at the proESOF 2020 website,
Mobilizing Central Eastern Europe towards Trieste 2020 In 2020 Trieste will host the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF), a biennial pan-European event created by the EuroScience association and dedicated to scientific research and innovation. ESOF is the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe. It is dedicated to scientific research and innovation and offers a unique framework for interaction and discussion for scientists, innovators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and the general public.
Trieste has been nominated European City of Science 2020.
Trieste boasts a long tradition as a dynamic hub for research, science and innovation, focused on sustainable growth and development, with an impact that extends beyond Italy to the rest of Europe and the developing world. It is internationally renowned for the high concentration of scientific institutions. The city hosts overall more than 30 national and international centres and companies working in research and higher education, 5000 permanent foreign scientists and some 13000 students and researchers.
For the first time in its history, ESOF will be reaching beyond the national borders of its host country. As a Central European city, Trieste is committed to strengthening the links with Central and Eastern European scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and citizens, thus making a crucial step towards a truly open and inclusive Europe.
The ESOF2020 conference will be held in the extraordinary area of the Old Port (Porto Vecchio), which has been for decades the commercial port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is now an outstanding architectural and industrial heritage site that the Trieste Municipality is redeveloping and requalifying.
ESOF2020 Trieste generally aims to:
PROMOTE science, technology and innovation as key drivers of a sustainable and responsible development that is people-centered;
STIMULATE discussions concerning science, its applications and impact, including ethical issues;
ESTABLISH a platform where the dialogue between research institutions, academies and governments is fostered.
ESOF2020 Trieste also has more specific goals:
TO STRENGTHEN a scientific and technological network among the Central Eastern European countries, the existing Trieste Science System and the rest of Europe.
TO INTEGRATE AND CONNECT this network within the Mediterranean, North Africa and Central Asia;
TO CREATE a museum dedicated to Science and Technology and its dissemination.
The mission of Trieste as City of Science will continue after ESOF, through the creation of a science center, The North Adriatic Science and Technology Centre, and an independent, multidisciplinary, non-profit Summer Institute aimed at fostering dialogue among scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and citizens, involving stakeholders from Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
The city’s natural spirit of openness and inclusiveness is expressed in the motto that Trieste has chosen for ESOF2020: “Freedom for science, science for freedom”.
FREEDOM FOR SCIENCE refers to the open-ended and unresolved questions that science is facing, with method and curiosity, without restrictions of credo or prejudices.
SCIENCE FOR FREEDOM, on the other hand, refers to the inclusiveness of science and its language, which goes beyond borders and conflicts and brings together people of any colour and gender.
The Festival, with its rich program of popular scientific events for the general public, will be held in Trieste from 27 June to 11 July 2020. In this interview Paola illustrates the main themes of the Science in the City Festival, how to participate and the impact of the event.
What will be the main themes of the Science in the City Festival? The Science in the City Festival is composed of three principles: the topic of the Conference of Scientists in ESOF, taken up thanks to the participation of some of the conference speakers; the legacies related to the excellence of the scientific system of Trieste and the region, for example theoretical physics; and finally, the great themes integral to the history of Trieste and part of Friuli Venezia Giulia, such as psychiatry, civil protection, karstism and caves, and literature. The crossover between science and art, science and poetry, science and society will also allow us to produce events with a strongly innovative character. It will therefore, be a rich and varied mix, and only partly a mirror image of the entire ESOF 2020 program.
What kind of events will be held during the Festival and by whom? The Festival will last two weeks and therefore, will host events of all kinds: from theatre to scientific cafés, laboratories, exhibitions, guided tours, conferences, and discussion games. We invite those who have original ideas to propose them by answering the calls already open on the website www.proesof2020.eu. Anyone can propose an event: research institutes, universities, associations, and companies – but also individual citizens. The Festival is able to offer the infrastructures – that is the locations, the technical and communication services, and the volunteers that can support the implementation of the events – but it cannot finance every single project, which must therefore at least in part stand on its own two feet. However, we are sure that many sponsors are interested in promoting events in the context of ESOF and the Festival.
What impact can those who decide to submit an idea for one of the proposed calls expect? The Festival can offer considerable international visibility for the quality and quantity of participants and speakers taking part in ESOF and the various events of the Science in the City Festival. Research institutions, research and innovation funding agencies and global foundations will be present in the City, as well as many tourists. The international presence will therefore, be a cornerstone of the event. Like all major festivals, this can also be the right place to experiment with new methods of communicating science and involving citizens.
Paola Rodari is a project manager for international projects on science communication and a consultant for the development of new museums and centres for the Sissa Medialab and the Universities of Trieste. For 10 years, she was responsible for the education sector of the Laboratory of Scientific Imagery of Trieste (Italy), of which she was one of the founders. Regarding other projects, Paola has contributed to the development of Infini.to – the Astronomy Museum and Planetarium of Turin (Italy) – and 10Lab, the science centre of the Technology Park of Sardinia. She is on the steering committee of the thematic group Human Interface and Explainers of Ecsite (the European Network of Museums and Scientific Centres) that deals with the professional growth of scientific promoters and facilitators. She is the author of numerous articles and books on science communication.
The debate takes place in New York City on Thursday, January 31, 2019. Ticket prices and more follow in the information from the January 17, 2019 IQ2US (Intelligence Squared) debates announcement received via email,
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates De-Extinction, in NYC and Online January 31 
While bringing extinct species back to life was once a sci-fi fantasy out of ‘Jurassic Park’, recent biological and technological breakthroughs indicate that reviving creatures like the woolly mammoth and the passenger pigeon could someday become a reality. De-extinction’s proponents argue that benefits include correcting mistakes of the past and helping to curb climate change. But others aren’t so sure de-extinction is ethical, or even feasible, they worry that the resources channeled to support de-extinction efforts could compete with current work to save the over 16,000 endangered species on Earth today. On Thursday, January 31, veteran debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. continues their explorations into science and technology with a live debate on the motion “Don’t Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life.” Environmentalist Stewart Brand, who founded the Whole Earth Catalog, and Harvard professor Dr. George Church, who is working to revive the woolly mammoth, will argue in favor of de-extinction. Debating against them and against de-extinction will be Dr. Ross MacPhee, curator at the American Museum of Natural History, and evolutionary biologist Dr. Lynn J. Rothschild, a senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
The debate will be held at NYC’s Kaye Playhouse and stream live online, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast “Intelligence Squared U.S.” On January 31 , online viewers can tune in at IQ2US’s website: https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org
WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Don’t Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life”
WHEN: Thursday, January 31 / 7:00-8:30 PM EDT
WHERE: The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 115 E. 68th Street, New York, NY
* Dr. Ross MacPhee: Curator, Department of Mammalogy, Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History Dr. Ross MacPhee is the former chairman of the Department of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has been curator since 1988. Known for his paleomammalogical research on island extinctions, he has focused his most recent work on extinctions occurring during the past 50,000 years, or “Near Time.” He is the author of the new book “End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals” (Norton, 2019). Dr. MacPhee has also collaborated with geneticists and molecular biologists to develop the new tool of “ancient DNA” for studying the ultimate collapse of Pleistocene mammals.
* Dr. Lynn J. Rothschild: Evolutionary Biologist & Astrobiologist Dr. Lynn Rothschild is an evolutionary biologist and astrobiologist who focuses on the origin and evolution of life on Earth, while at the same time pioneering the use of synthetic biology to enable space exploration. She is a senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center as well as an adjunct professor of molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry at Brown University. Since 2011, Rothschild has been the faculty adviser of the award-winning Stanford-Brown iGEM team, which has pioneered the use of synthetic biology to accomplish NASA’s missions, including the human settlement of Mars.
Arguing Against the Motion
* Stewart Brand: Co-Founder, Revive & Restore & Founder, Whole Earth Catalog Stewart Brand is a futurist, environmentalist, and proponent of de-extinction who promotes the use of science to preserve the planet. He is the co-founder of Revive & Restore, which facilitates extinct species revival, and the Long Now Foundation, of which he is co-chair and president. He was the founder and editor of the award-winning Whole Earth Catalog and is the author of several books, including “Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.” In 2013, Brand organized the TEDxDeExtinction conference in partnership with the National Geographic Society.
* Dr. George Church: Professor of Genetics, Harvard and MIT & Founder, Personal Genome Project Dr. George Church is a geneticist and molecular engineer who is working to revive the extinct woolly mammoth. He is the Robert Winthrop professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of health sciences and technology at Harvard and MIT. Dr. Church developed methods used for the first genome sequence and founded the Personal Genome Project. He has earned dozens of awards and honors, including Time’s “100 Most Influential People,” and is the author of 490 papers, 130 patent publications, and the book “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.”
ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED U.S. DEBATES (IQ2US) A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 150 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to “think twice” on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.
The only speaker who’s been previously mentioned on this blog is George Church. In particular, 2018 seems to have been his year although it’s possible 2019 may beat that record for appearances on this blog.
Etc.: use ‘George Church’ as the search term in the blog search engine for more
Coming January 30, 2019: Watch this spot for a link to the live stream: Here you go on January 31, 2019 at 4 pm PT or 7 pm ET: <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=“https://www.youtube.com/embed/N-1iqmKlTs8” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
There are two items today, an event in Vancouver (Canada) and an online competition.
From a September 14, 2018 Café Scientifique Vancouver announcement received via email,
Our next café will happen on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH at 7:30PM in the
back room at YAGGER'S DOWNTOWN (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the
evening will be DR. SUZANNE VERCAUTEREN the Director of BC Children’s
Hospital BioBank. Her topic will be:
GIVING PATIENTS, THE PUBLIC, AND HEALTH-CARE PROVIDERS A VOICE IN
Dr. Vercauteren is a hematopathologist and associate head of the
department of pathology and laboratory medicine at BC Children’s
Hospital. She obtained her MD and PhD at the University of Utrecht, The
Netherlands and did her residency in hematological pathology at the
University of British Columbia. Since 2013 Suzanne has been the
director of the BC Children’s Hospital BioBank, the first
institutional pediatric biobank in Canada to allow for a standardized
approach of patients and sample collections and ensuring high quality
samples and data and reduce consent burden for patients. “My research
includes ethical issues as well as public engagement and education in
biobanking. I believe that a systematic approach for the collection of
patient specimens and data is allowing groundbreaking research that can
quickly be translated into improved diagnosis and clinical care in many
areas of research.” She has published several papers regarding
pediatric biobanking and consenting [consent] and is a member of the Canadian
Tissue Repository Network Management Committee. She received several
grants to study public perception on (pediatric) biobanking topics.
You can find Dr. Vercauteren’s webpage on the BC Children’s Hospital website here.
One thing I’m curious about is this quote from her event description: “I believe that a systematic approach for the collection of patient specimens and data is allowing groundbreaking research that can quickly be translated into improved diagnosis and clinical care in many areas of research.” Since she started her biobanking initiative in 2011, have there been any breakthroughs? It seems to me that seven years later there might be some promising news and it’s surprisingly unmentioned in the event description.
Science Borealis’ Online Science Communication Competition
Science Borealis and our co-sponsor the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) are excited to present the nominees for the 2018 People’s Choice Awards: Canada’s Favourite Science Online!
This year you are invited to vote for your 3 favourites in 2 categories — Favourite Science Blog and Favourite Science Site. The winners of each category will get snazzy site badges, endless bragging rights, and will be featured in full write-ups on both our blog and SWCC’s site.
Once you’ve voted, join us on social media to cheer for your favourite blogs and sites using the hashtag #CdnSciFav.
The Palaeocast blog is where we let palaeontologists around the world tell their own stories in their own voice. Palaeocast is a free web series exploring the fossil record and the evolution of life on earth.
I’m an evolutionary ecologist and entomologist at the University of New Brunswick. Most of my current research has to do with plant-insect interactions and with the evolution of new biodiversity. But when I’m not doing research, I think about a lot of quasirandom things. I blog about some of them here.
I am a vertebrate paleontologist who specializes in the study of the tracks and traces of Mesozoic animals, specifically Cretaceous-age (145 million years ago to 66 million years ago) dinosaurs and birds!
Agile Scientific – Matt Hall, Evan Bianco, Diego Castañeda, Robert Leckenby, Kara Turner, Tracey Lothian
A bioscience and technology blog with a string focus on geophysics and geosciences, Agile also organizes hackathons, teaches coding for geoscientists and engineers, and promotes open discussion about pressing topics in science and industry.
CMN was established to collaboratively address the diverse challenges facing mountain regions by harnessing existing capacities and seeking new research relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and communities. Our aim is for CMN to become a national and global leader in inclusive, co-designed, interdisciplinary mountain-research that recognizes the interconnectedness in mountain systems between the environment, economy, and society, and encourages an integrated approach for long-term sustainability that serves the needs of mountain communities. CMN and its administrative centre is hosted at the University of Alberta.
Obesity Panacea educates people about the science (or lack thereof) behind popular weight loss products, and has grown to include discussions of the latest news and research regarding obesity, nutrition and physical activity.
This is a blog about spiders (and probably occasionally some other stuff, too)! The idea is that each post will feature accumulations of cool bits of information (‘bytes’) about spiders: spiderbytes. By the way, spiders (usually) do NOT bite, and one of my dreams (for this blog, and in life) is to shift perceptions about spiders from fearsome, aggressive, disgusting etc., to amazing, beautiful, sophisticated, charming, fascinating, elegant, resourceful, mysterious, and many more adjectives that could be used to describe these awesome arthropods!
I am an Assistant Professor in Plant Ecology/Genetics at Vancouver Island University. I teach units including Plant Ecology, Conservation Biology, Terrestrial Ecosystems and Computing for Biologists. I currently work and collaborate on projects ranging from genomics of eucalypts and mountain pine beetle, to speciation mechanisms in Stellaria, to dietary metagenomics in Vancouver Island Marmot.
Here are the 2018 contenders for the Favourite Science Site category:
At a guess, every single blogger is a member of SWCC and, oddly, all of them are scientists. It will be a great day, as far as I’m concerned, when regular people, assuming there are some out there, writing about science are in contention for these awards..
The Science and Technology Innovation Program welcomes applicants for academic calendar internships. STIP focuses on understanding bottom-up, public innovation; top-down, policy innovation; and, on supporting responsible and equitable practices at the point where new technology and existing political, social, and cultural processes converge. We recommend exploring our blog and website first to determine if your research interests align with current STIP programming.
We offer two types of internships: research (open to law and graduate students only) and a social media and blogging internship (open to undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students). Non-degree seeking students are ineligible. All internships must be served in Washington, D.C. and cannot be done remotely.
For graduate students, law students, or those accepted to a graduate-level program, we offer a research internship. This is normally project-based (see below for special solicitations), with current projects falling into roughly categories:
Some flexibility may be available, as STIP also overlaps with other Wilson Center Programs. We encourage anyone with cross-disciplinary interests to apply, specifying the names of two programs they wish to work with.
Assignments may include:
Conducting independent research on science and technology innovation issues relevant to STIP initiatives
Co-authoring a journal article or Wilson Center policy brief
Developing grant proposals
Writing articles and blog posts for the STIP website, in conjunction with specific projects as described above.
Undergraduate/Social Media Internship
Open to undergraduates, recent graduates and graduate students, our social media and blogging internship is open year-round. We do not limit by specific majors, but instead look for students who are interested in engaging with issues around STEM from a multitude of perspectives, including the applications to science, policy, and the public.
Researching issues around biotechnology, nanotechnology, genomics, citizen science, and serious/educational video games
Assisting the preparation of publications and/or outreach materials
Performing administrative assignments in support of STIP activities
Special Project Intern: Citizen Health Innovators Project
We are seeking a research intern with a specialty in topics including precision medicine, biomedical research and innovation, and/or science policy, ethics and regulation on biomedical research to work with our Citizen Science and Health Project. Applicants with backgrounds in technology development or science and technology studies (STS) will also be considered. Experience conducting cross and trans-disciplinary research is an asset.
The project associated with this internship will relate to analyzing key challenges and promises arising in the domain of citizen and patient-driven biomedical research and innovation, including interesting trends in precision medicine. The intern may:
Co-author analyses on challenges and promises in citizen and patient-driven biomedical research and innovation
Conduct research and/or capacity building to support the mission of the Citizen Health Innovators Project, for example by advancing work in mapping citizen and patient-driven innovation and matching these trends with tech skills and regulatory expertise
There will be opportunities to write and gain expertise – this is part of the internship goals.
Support operations may include:
Conducting independent research on science and technology innovation issues relevant to STIP initiatives, as requested by supervisor.
Co-authoring a journal article or Wilson Center policy brief on topics pertaining to innovations in genomics and health.
Developing grant proposals.
Writing articles and blog posts for the STIP website, in conjunction with specific projects as described above.
Desired skills include:
Familiarity with precision medicine, biomedical research and innovation, and/or science policy, ethics and regulation on biomedical research
Familiarity with national regulation and guidelines on precision medicine in USA
Ability to write for multiple audiences (academic publications, white papers, social media, etc.)
Ability to work independently with minimal day-to-day guidance.
This internship is unpaid.
Special Project Intern: Earth Challenge 2020
Citizen science involves members of the public in scientific research to meet real world goals. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN), The U.S. Department of State, and The Wilson Center are launching Earth Challenge 2020 as the world’s biggest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. EC2020 will collaborate with existing citizen science projects as well as build capacity for new ones as part of a larger effort to grow citizen science worldwide. We will become a nexus for collecting billions of observations in areas including air quality, water quality, biodiversity, and human health to strengthen the links between science, the environment, and public citizens.
We are seeking a research intern with a specialty in topics including citizen science, crowdsourcing, making, hacking, sensor development, and other relevant topics.
This intern will scope and implement a semester-long project related to Earth Challenge 2020 deliverables. In addition to this the intern may:
Conduct ad hoc research on a range of topics in science and technology innovation to learn while supporting department priorities.
Write or edit articles and blog posts on topics of interest or local events.
Support meetings, conferences, and other events, gaining valuable event management experience.
Provide general logistical support.
This is a paid position available for 15-20 hours a week. Applicants from all backgrounds will be considered, though experience conducting cross and trans-disciplinary research is an asset. Ability to work independently is critical.
Interested applicants should submit a resume, cover letter describing their interest in Earth Challenge 2020 and outlining relevant skills, and two writing samples. One writing sample should be formal (e.g., a class paper); the other, informal (e.g., a blog post or similar).
Application Process and Materials
Unless otherwise stated, internships are unpaid.
International students are eligible, but they must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa and appropriate work authorization. All international students must obtain written permission from their Designated School Official or Responsible Visa Officer at their university stating that they are in valid immigration status and eligible to do an internship at the Center.
The Wilson Center is an equal opportunity employer and follows equal opportunity employment guidelines in the selection of its interns.
For all internships there is a singular process to applying: to apply please email Elizabeth.Newbury@wilsoncenter.org with the following information. Please specify in the subject line the intended time period for your internship with [SEMESTER] [YEAR] Internship e.g. “SPRING 2018 Internship”. If there is a specific topic area or project, please note that in the subject line of the email, e.g. ‘FALL 2018 Internship for Digital Futures Project.’
Due to the sheer volume of applications we receive, only those candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. To ensure your consideration, please submit only a completed application.
A completed application will have the following materials.
Cover letter explaining your interest in STIP
1-2 page writing sample ideally demonstrating your work in science and technology research.
Good luck! And, one more thing, application deadlines,
Fall Internship: August 1
Spring Internship: November 15
Summer Internship: March 15
IMAGE: The tiny liverwort plants that are the subject of the Microplants project Courtesy: The Field Museum
I think the eyelash-sized plants are the ones that look like crab claws (?) and if I understand this child’s drawing correctly, it confirms that ‘crab claws’ are liverwort plants being studied at The Field Museum (Chicago, Illinois, US).
Caption A drawing by a four-year-old citizen scientist showing the paper’s lead author describing a new species of liverwort. Courtesy: The Field Museum
If you know better, please correct me in the ‘comments’. In the meantime, a March 9, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily describes the latest in liverwort plant research,
A botanist, a retired businesswoman, and a high school student walk into a bar. Or, maybe not a bar, what with the high school student. A museum. They and their team have a common problem–too many plant photos to analyze–and they find a solution: creating an online tool that lets regular, non-scientist people help do that analysis.
Liverworts, the plants in question–so called because their rounded primitive leaves are kind of liver-shaped–tend to fly under the radar. “When I tell people I study liverworts, my opening line is that it’s not catching,” says Matt von Konrat, the Field Museum’s collections manager of plants and lead author of a paper detailing the project in an issue of Applications in Plant Sciences dedicated to the digitization of botanical natural history collections. You’ve likely seen liverworts before, but you probably didn’t realize it. These ancient plants evolved millions of years before the dinosaurs, and they’re everywhere from deserts to the Arctic. But liverworts are tiny–about the size of an eyelash–and inconspicuous, growing like their cousins, mosses, on rocks and trees. Since they’re so small, they respond to climate change and global warming more quickly than bigger plants and animals, making them valuable to scientists. “They’re like a canary in a coal mine,” says von Konrat.
But using liverworts to better understand climate change requires a better understanding of liverworts. The intricacies of one liverwort species or another are often only visible through a microscope, and analyzing the details of hundreds of thousands of images of microscopic leaves isn’t exactly a plum job. “It’s tedious for one individual to go through these photos for hours on end,” says von Konrat. “But if you get a hundred people to do it for five minutes each, it’s a lot easier.”
The people von Konrat organized to share the load are citizen scientists–volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds who contribute to scientific research. “Citizen science is an opportunity for an individual, group, or community to participate in and contribute to an active research program,” explains von Konrat. “It’s public contribution to science.”
The team adapted the online platform Zooniverse, used in astronomy citizen science projects, to enable citizen science volunteers to analyze photos of liverworts, measuring their primitive leaflike structures. This work helps scientists better determine the differences between different species, which might respond differently to climate change or have other scientifically important distinctions.
“The Microplants project is two-pronged: to help find differences between these species, and see if measurements can actually be done by lay people,” says co-author Kalman Strauss, a high school student and citizen scientist who has been volunteering with von Konrat at the Field Museum since 2014.
The project relied heavily upon citizen scientists like Strauss; another of the paper’s authors Joann Martinec, a retired businesswoman and another Field volunteer.
“I’ve always been interested in nature–in my family growing up, as soon as you could walk and talk, you’d be outside identifying species,” says Martinec. “But I didn’t know much about mosses and liverworts until meeting Matt at a Members’ Night at the museum. I wanted to do something new.” Martinec went on to play a major role in training new citizen scientists on the Microplants project.
Over the course of the project, over 11,000 users assisted in analyzing liverwort photos, participating remotely online and via an in-person digital kiosk in one of the Field Museum’s exhibitions. The platform, which corresponds to Next Generation Science Standards, was also used in classrooms ranging from kindergartens to college biology classes. The resulting analyses of the liverworts, says von Konrat, are accurate enough for use in research that can inform environmental policy. Beyond the contributions to science, von Konrat says, the project is notable for its efforts in public engagement with science.
“This project goes beyond the data,” says von Konrat. “It’s about breaking down barriers and showing that everyone can contribute to science. One key audience is students and younger generations–exposing them to museum collections and science, help them get excited about science.”
Strauss, von Konrat’s sixteen-year-old co-author, is a good example of that. “Although early land plants might not be as romantic as, say, dinosaurs, they’re just as interesting and just as complex–the fact that they’re so often overlooked, especially liverworts, is part of what makes them so cool,” says Strauss. “They’re overlooked all the time. You’ve probably walked on bryophytes a thousand times without noticing them. But looking at them closely opens up a whole new world of beauty and complexity.”
Von Konrat cites a drawing sent to him by a four-year-old girl who participated in the Microplants project–she drew heart-shaped liverwort leaves, along with von Konrat declaring via speech bubble, “Her [sic] is a new species.” “That’s my source of inspiration,” says the non-drawing version of von Konrat. “That’s why we do it–it’s for the next generation.”
Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,
Using citizen science to bridge taxonomic discovery with education and outreach by Matt von Konrat, Thomas Campbell, Ben Carter, Matthew Greif, Mike Bryson, Juan Larraín, Laura Trouille, Steve Cohen, Eve Gaus, Ayesha Qazi, Eric Ribbens, Tatyana Livshultz, Taylor J. Walker, Tomomi Suwa, Taylor Peterson, Yarency Rodriguez, Caitlin Vaughn, Christina Yang, Selma Aburahmeh, Brian Carstensen, Peter de Lange, Charlie Delavoi, Kalman Strauss, Justyna Drag, Blanka Aguero, Chris Snyder, Joann Martinec, Arfon Smith. Applications in Plant Sciences, 2018; e01023 DOI: 10.1002/aps3.1023 First published 9 March 2018
Indris located on Madagascar. Credit: Cornell University
What a face! And, it introduces you to the latest from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ (CALS), from a February 26, 2018 news item on phys.org,
Musicians have long drawn inspiration from nature, but a new online game is taking that connection one step further. “Beastbox” takes sound clips from real wild animals, transforms them into loops, and allows users to mix and match them into an endless variety of beats, breaks and drops. Along the way, players learn about the animals and the ecosystems they belong to.
The free game is the result of a collaboration among the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Cornell Hip Hop Collection and Ben Mirin, a sound artist and beatboxer whose career as a “wildlife DJ” inspired the project.
“‘BeastBox’ is a surprise mashup brought to you by scientists, musicians, designers, animators and coders,” says Mya Thompson, leader of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Academy project. “It’s dedicated to the idea that we could all use a few minutes to appreciate our musical planet. When I first met Ben Mirin, I knew we could take his wildlife DJ concept to a new level – and ‘BeastBox’ is what came out.”
By bringing animals from the same ecosystem together on the virtual stage, players can unlock “Beastmode” and control the moves of animal characters as they dance to Mirin’s music. Each bonus track is created exclusively from sounds recorded in six ecosystems including the Madagascar rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and the Sonoran desert. Fun for all ages, “BeastBox” celebrates the musicality and biodiversity of our planet and encourages fans of music to become fans of wildlife.
“BeastBox” highlights two of Cornell’s world-renowned collections: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library and the Cornell Hip Hop Collection. The Macaulay Library is the world’s premier scientific archive of natural history audio, video and photographs. Many of the sounds players encounter in the game are archived in the library. Players who complete at least one ecosystem puzzle win the opportunity to download 20 wild animal sounds from the Macaulay Library collection.
Founded in 2007, Cornell’s Hip Hop Collection is the largest research archive on hip-hop culture in the world and is part of Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. “BeastBox” players are encouraged to browse the archive to better understand the cultural roots of beatboxing and hip-hop.
Here’s an April 11, 2015 TEDxNYU (New York University) talk by Ben Mirin (published on YouTube June 5, 2017),
I have news about two April 2018 events in the US.
It’s been a while since I’ve featured a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars event. I’d forgotten about this one but, since it was postponed due to weather issues, I’ve gotten another chance (from a March 28, 2018 Woodrow Wilson Center announcement received via email),
For over thirty years, women have remained noticeably underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Women make up more than half of college-educated workers but only 25% of college-educated STEM workers – in some fields, such as computer science, women make up only 18.1% of earned bachelor’s degrees. Missing half of the talent pool impacts our potential competitiveness and innovation in a technology-driven economy. But the real problems may begin once women enter a STEM career.
Once in a STEM career, women continue to face obstacles that prevent them from advancing in their career at the same rate as their male colleagues. From hiring practices to workplace culture, multiple factors create barriers that prevent women from achieving fulfilling and successful careers. The capacity of women in STEM to excel in their chosen careers impacts the pipeline for emerging women leaders in these fields, and if these barriers persist, the number of women in the pipeline will not be able to grow.
In order to open up pathways to leadership for more women in STEM, we must ask the question: What are those barriers? And more importantly, what can we do about them?
In honor of Women’s History Month, please join the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program, Women in Public Service Project and Serious Game Initiative for a conversation with women leaders in STEM on the barriers and opportunities for women in STEM, and the actions that can be taken to achieve true gender parity in these fields.
Elizabeth Newbury is the Director and Program Associate for the Serious Games Initiative for the Wilson Center, leading Wilson’s use of games in engaging the public around policy research. She has a PhD and Masters degree from the Department of Communication at Cornell University, where her research interests revolved around understanding multiple dimensions of gaming audiences and the surrounding culture of those who play video games. Her dissertation was a multi-method, cross-discplinary interrogation of the public consumption of games and the use of gaming in day-to-day practices, specifically in the context of esports. She has presented her research before both academic audiences and public audiences, ranging from the International Communication Association and the Association of Internet Researchers to the Serious Play Conference.
As lead of the Serious Games Initiative, she leverages games as a tool for the public communication of science and policy research. Current projects include the Fiscal Ship, a game about the federal budget developed and maintained in collaboration with the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy with the Brookings Institute. Collaborating across the Wilson Institution, her current works in progress include games pertaining to cybsercurity to the history of nuclear proliferation to polar initiatives. Under her leadership, SGI is pursuing how public policy and science can come together in an interactive platform to increase public dialogue and engagement around timely and critical issues of today.
Onto the second event,
New York City
Every once in a while I get an unexpected email and this one was a delightful surprise as it combines an art installation, intellectual property law, and a legal performance piece (from a March 30, 2018 galeplstonpc.com announcement),
I Speak for the Trees:
A Mock Trial
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | 6:00 PM
Location: Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, Cardozo School of Law
2018 A Blade of Grass Fellow Aviva Rahmani is creating Blued Trees Symphony, an ecological artwork made with the intention of using copyright law (VARA) to defend land in New York, Virginia, and West Virginia that is subject to eminent domain because of proposed natural gas pipelines.
The Cardozo School of Law Environmental Law Society; Art Law Society; and Intellectual Property Student Association welcome us to the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room for a mock trial that will explore whether the status of the artwork under VARA trumps eminent domain takings by corporations. Experienced VARA litigator Gale Elston (Cardozo alumna) will represent the artist.
This program is free and open to the public, but space is limited! Please RSVP to email@example.com. If you’re unable to join us in person, stay tuned to our Facebook page for a live stream of the event!
Ecological artist Aviva Rahmani is the inaugural ABOG Fellow for Contemplative Practice, in partnership with the Hemera Foundation. This targeted fellowship supports artists who work with the intersection of social practice and contemplative practice. Rahmani’s The Blued Trees and The Blued Trees Symphony projects have been installed and copyrighted in the path of natural gas pipelines across miles of North America. The work has gained international attention and support, including Fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and A Blade of Grass. Rahmani holds a PhD from Plymouth University, UK in environmental sciences, technology and studio art and has produced over twenty one-hour raw Gulf to Gulf sessions on climate change viewed from eighty-five countries. “Trigger Points/ Tipping Points,” a precursor to Gulf to Gulf,premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale.
Gale P. Elston is an art attorney who has represented artists, art institutes, and non-profits for over twenty-five years as an advocate for artists’ rights. Three of her cases are featured in the Art Law Handbook, including a VARA based case establishing new law for the rights of artists. She has litigated many VARA cases in the Federal Southern District Court of New York. Her cases have obtained monetary awards for artists whose work has been damaged, modified or harmed. She has served on the board of numerous art related non-profits, including WhiteBox, (Re)Create Artist In Residency Program, and Faith Ringgold’s Any Child Can Fly Foundation, and as a Trustee for the Marin Headlands Artist in Residency Program. She has served to promote numerous artists’ rights pro bono, and represented notable artists including Carolee Schneeman, Phillip Pavia, Faith Ringgold, Ida Applebroog, and Hans Van de Bovenkamp, among others.
We’re grateful that this program is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the support of the American Chai Trust; and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
I’m particularly interested in this approach to pipeline protests as my home province (British Columbia, Canada) i s currently in a fight with two other provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan), as well as, our federal government where the usual tactics (protests, jail the time and interprovincial trade wars [see: March 29, 2018 Financial Post article by Geoffrey Morgan], etc.) are being used. Maybe it’s time to apply a little more imagination to the protests in British Columbia.
*’property’ added to title of blog posting on April 5, 2018 3:30 pm PDT.
I have two science opportunities one for students (grades six and seven) who would like to submit a science project for the CBC Vancouver Science Fair and another for people who can’t get enough science policy and British Columbia politics. Coincidentally, it’s the inaugural year for both events.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Vancouver science fair
Calling all grades six and seven students! CBC Vancouver is holding its first-ever Science Fair on Sunday, May 27th, 2018, and we are looking for your creative submissions.
If you love science fairs and are passionate about environment and technology, we would love to hear from YOU.
In order to apply, submit a short 100-word hypothesis about your concept for the science fair project, along with key application information below. You have until April 15th, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. PST to submit. All entries will be judged on creativity and originality, incorporation of the themes of environment and/or technology, realistic possibility of execution, and if entries meet all other criteria.
CBC Vancouver staff will select the top 30 submissions to participate in the science fair on Sunday, May 27th, 2018, held at CBC Vancouver, 700 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, B.C. These 30 entries will be judged by a panel including CBC Vancouver senior meteorologist and seismologist Johanna Wagstaffe and Science World’s Manager of Partnership Development & Science Promotion Magda Byma.
The grand prize
• A special CBC Vancouver Science Fair trophy
• $750 gift card from Best Buy for all your future STEM projects
• A spot in one of Simon Fraser University’s Science Al!ve Summer Camps
• And Johanna Wagstaffe will feature the winning project on her CBC TV segment Science Smart
I have found the rules (a seven-age PDF) and am including Eligibility here as that’s usually my first question,
Contest is open to all Canadian residents who a re full time students in grades 6 and 7 who areenrolled at an educational institute in Canada.
For any contestant who has not reached the age of majority in their province (a “minor”) parentor guardian consent is necessary to enter the Contest and participate in the prize.
Parent/guardian will be responsible for minor’s participation in the prize. Where appropriate,
the terms “contestant” and “winner” mean parent or guardian of the minor.
If a minor contestant has not received consent to enter the Con test or a minor winner do es noth ave parental/guardian consent to participate in the prize, or, where applicable, does not havea parent/guardian to accompany them in the prize, the prize shall be forfeited and a newpotential winner may be selected by CBC in its sole discretion.
Employees of CBC, Prize Provider and their respective affiliates, as well as such persons
immediate family (father/mother, brother/sister, son/daughter) or persons living under the
same roof are not eligible to enter this Contest.
CBC Law Department July 2017
British Columbia Science and Policy Conference
Some of the text seems a little overblown but I’ll get to that in a minute. British Columbia’s first (I believe it’s the very first ever) science policy conference is coming up on May 11, 2018 from 12 pm to 5 pm somewhere on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus (presumablythe Vancouver campus). You can find more on the 2018 BC Science and Policy Conference webpage.
Impressively, they have 10 speakers lined up (from the Speakers page,
Terry Lake is the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Hydropothecary Corporation, a licensed producer of medical cannabis in Gatineau Quebec. Before returning to the private sector, Terry served as a member of the BC Legislature for Kamloops with appointments as Environment Minister and Health Minister. He was Mayor of Kamloops and an instructor of Animal Health Technology at Thompson Rivers University. Prior to his career as a veterinarian, Terry was a broadcast journalist in Alberta working for Broadcast News, a division of Canadian Press. Lake was awarded Canada’s Public Health Hero Award by the Canadian Public Health Association for his ground breaking harm reduction initiatives launched in the face of BC’s opioid epidemic. He maintains a keen interest in public health and is an advocate of exploring the use of cannabis as a substitute for opioids and other substances.
Dr. Wendy Palen is an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser where her research focuses on the ecology of aquatic communities in the Pacific Northwest. Her passion for aquatic conservation has led her to serve as Board Chair of Evidence for Democracy, an organization that advocates for science and smart decision making in Canada. She is also committed to training the next generation of scientists to resolve ecological and conservation problems through her work as a co-founder of Earth to Ocean Research Group and as an Associate Director of the Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellows program in applied conservation.
Sam Sullivan is a twice-elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the riding of Vancouver False Creek and served as Mayor of Vancouver from 2005-2008. He is a member of the Order of Canada and is the only non-medical doctor in the country to be made an Honorary Member of the 22,000-member College of Family Physicians of Canada. His work champions evidence-based policy development with respect to urban densification and drug prohibition alternatives that address social challenges.
Kei is a Visiting Scholar in science policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) where he explores ways to bring science, the public, and policy together. Previously, he served as Assistant Director for Federal Research and Development and Senior Advisor to the Director for the National Science and Technology Council at the White House Office of Science and Technology during the Obama-Biden administration. Kei is a leading authority on federal support for research and development, and coordinating federal policy in collaboration with White House staff, Federal agencies, Congress, and the science and technology community.
Dan Reist leads a team within the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria that focuses on communicating current evidence in a way that supports the evolution of effective policy and practice. With a background in continental philosophy and hermeneutics, Dan is quick to acknowledge that evidence is far more than statistics about patterns of use and harm and includes attention to the ways we as human beings experience and talk about drugs and drug use in our cultures and communities.
Amani Saini is the President and Founder of Adverse Drug Reaction Canada, an organization committed to preventing the 4th leading cause of death for Canadians: adverse drug reactions. Her efforts are motivated by her sister’s near death experience from an adverse drug reaction to a common over the counter ibuprofen drug. They do so by bringing together patients, families, policy-makers, scientists, researchers, health care providers and academics to advocate, develop policy solutions and advance research. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Dalhousie University and a BA in Political Science from UBC. She is also the 2016 recipient of the Canadian Science Policy Award of Excellence.
Maxwell A. Cameron
Maxwell A. Cameron (Ph.D., California, Berkeley, 1989) directs the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at UBC and founded the Summer Institute for Future Legislators. His research focuses on comparative democratization in Latin America, constitutions, and the role of wisdom and judgment in politics. His publications include Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, The Political Economy of North American Free Trade, and To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines. Cameron created the Andean Democracy Research Network to monitor and report on the state of democracy in the Andean region, with funding from the Glyn Berry Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada, the Ford Foundation, and IDRC. His forthcoming book, Political Institutions and Practical Wisdom will be published by Oxford University Press later this year.
Laurel L. Schafer
Dr. Schafer fulfills her role as the Canada Research Chair in Catalyst Development by researching chemical catalysts that allow for safe, waste-free, and environmentally friendly methods of producing chemicals. Her work impacts the chemical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and petrochemical industries – everything from the preparation of compostable plastics to potential treatments for chronic pain. She has published over 80 research papers and received several prestigious awards for both her research and teaching, including the UBC Sustainability Fellowship (2011), the Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2013), and the Clara Benson Award (2015). She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Otto is a Professor in Zoology at the University of British Columbia, Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Research, and a recipient of numerous awards including the coveted MacArthur Fellowship. Her research aims to understand how evolutionary processes have generated the wondrous diversity of biological features observed in the natural world. She addresses this fundamental topic using a combination of mathematical theory, statistical inference, and evolutionary experiments. In addition, she encourages scientists to engage in public policy through her work launching and directing the Liber Ero Fellowship Program and as initiator and advisor of the Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowships.
Maria is a Mitacs Science Policy Fellow and Behavioural Scientist with the Behavioural Insights Group in the BC Public Service. As a public service scientist, Maria uses experimental research methodologies and knowledge of how humans behave in the real world to guide public policy challenges and to improve citizen services. Maria holds a PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience, and has formerly worked as a science policy researcher at the Council of Canadian Academies, as a consultant with Dialectic Solutions, and as a course instructor at the University of Guelph.
Tickets are $79 for general admission or $20 if you’re a trainee.
Theme 1 – Lightning Talks
How does science research currently affect policy development in BC? Amani Saini, Conny Lin
1:20 – 1:40
1:40 – 2:30
Theme 2 – Panel Discussion
What is the relationship between the scientific community and public policy makers? Laurel Schafer, Lynn Raymond, Sally Otto
2:30 – 2:40
2:40 – 3:00
Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowship Program
3:00 – 3:45
Keynote Address Terry Lake & Wendy Palen
3:45 – 4:45
Theme 3 – Audience Discussion
What is BC’s science policy strategy and how can it be improved? Dan Reist
4:45 – 5:00
*Program is tentative and times may be subject to change
I was not able to find any information about the organizers but at least some information can be inferred from the About webpage,
The expectation that government decision-making be built on a foundation of credible evidence has become a growing demand of the Canadian public. [emphasis mine] Access to information, availability of appropriate resources, and strong relationships with researchers are just a few of the many factors required to ensure government can obtain the best available data. While both researchers and government can agree that an evidence-based approach to policy-making is critical, the relationships between these sectors are not so clearly established and defined. Thus, to better support government efforts towards evidence-based decision making, it is worthwhile to keep strengthening the channels that bridge these gaps.
Canada’s current federal government reaffirmed its commitment to evidence-based decision making through the creation of a Ministry of Science and the re-appointment of a Chief Science Advisor, to name a few examples. Moreover, the commissioning of the Fundamental Science Review (also known as The Naylor Report) has brought much needed attention towards the critical role fundamental research plays in the growth of Canadian society. With increasing support towards science for policy at the federal level comes an opportunity for governments to capitalize on this momentum at the provincial level. Many domains fall under the jurisdiction of provincial governments, including health, education, natural resources, and social services. Moreover, provinces are the primary funders of Universities, and are therefore linked to Canada’s scientific efforts.
Following in the footsteps of the “Bridging the Gap between Life Sciences and Politics” conference series at the University of British Columbia, the 2018 British Columbia Science & Policy Conference aims to open up a discussion about the current status on the use of science for policy in British Columbia. Our goal will be to not only bring forward ideas on how we can better facilitate the communication and mobilization of scientific knowledge in policy development, but to drive motivation for change among both researchers and government to better support the sustained integration of science into everyday government decision making.
Was there some sort of general populist movement in BC or any other part of Canada demanding that government-decision-making be based on evidence? Certainly, experts have made those kinds of demands but as far as I’m can tell the demise of the penny aroused more passion from ‘average’ people. Which Canadian public made the demand? At a guess, someone got carried away by their own rhetoric.
After glancing at the speakers’ bios., it’s no surprise to see that a series of ‘life science and politics’ meetings birthed this conference.
Substance abuse and drug use seem to be of particular interest with political science and the environment rounding out the range of sciences represented by the speakers.
Should you be interested in attending, they are still looking speakers for their Lightning Talks and, if you have financial concerns but would like to attend, the organizers encourage you to contact them: firstname.lastname@example.org
In no particular order, here are some Frankenstein bits and bobs in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s book.
The Frankenstein Bicentennial Project
This project at Arizona State University has been featured here a few times and most recently in a October 26, 2016 posting about an artist using a Roomba (robotic vacuum cleaner) in an artistic query and about the Frankenstein at 200 online exhibition.
A free, interactive, multiplatform experience for kids designed to inspire deeper engagement with STEM topics and promote the development of 21st century skills related to creative collaboration and critical thinking.
A collaborative, multimedia reading experiment with Mary Shelley’s timeless tale examining the the scientific, technological, political, and ethical dimensions of the novel, its historical context, and its enduring legacy.
A set of hands-on STEM making activities that use the Frankenstein story to inspire deeper conversations about scientific and technological creativity and social responsibility.
How to Make a Monster
Kathryn Harkup in a February 22, 2018 article about her recent book for the Guardian delves into the science behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Note: Links have been removed),
The bicentenary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus has meant a lot of people are re-examining this brilliant work of science fiction. My particular interest is the science fact behind the science fiction. How much real science influenced Mary Shelley? Could a real-life Victor Frankenstein have constructed a creature?
In terms of the technical aspects of building a creature from scraps, many people focus on the collecting of the raw materials and reanimation stages. It’s understandable as there are many great stories about grave-robbers and dissection rooms as well as electrical experiments that were performed on recently executed murderers. But there quite a few stages between digging up dead bodies and reanimating a creature.
The months of tedious and fiddly surgery to bring everything together are often glossed over, but what virtually no one mentions is how difficult it would have been to keep the bits and pieces in a suitable state of preservation while Victor worked on his creation. Making a monster takes time, and bodies rot very quickly.
Preservation of anatomical material was of huge interest when Frankenstein was written, as it is now, though for very different reasons. Today the interest is in preserving organs and tissues suitable for transplant. Some individuals even want to cryogenically freeze their entire body in case future scientists are able to revive them and cure whatever disease caused their original death. In that respect the aims are not so different from what the fictional Victor Frankenstein was attempting two hundred years ago.
At the time Frankenstein is set, the late 18th century, few people were really thinking about organ transplant. Instead, tissue preservation was of concern for anatomy professors who wanted to maintain collections of interesting, unusual or instructive specimens to use as teaching aids for future students.
She provides fascinating insight into preservation techniques of the 18th century and their dangers,
To preserve soft tissues, various substances were injected into or used to coat or soak the dissected specimen. The substance in question had to be toxic enough to destroy mould and bacteria that could decompose the sample, but not corrosive or damaging to the tissues of the specimen itself.
Substances such as turpentine, mercury metal and mercury salts (which are even more toxic than the pure element) were all employed stop the decay process in its tracks. Killing off bacteria and mould means that some vital process within them has been stopped; however, many processes that are critical to mould and bacteria are also necessary for humans, making these substances toxic to us.
Working in cramped, poorly ventilated conditions with minimal regard for health and safety, the substances anatomical curators were using day in and day out took a serious toll on their health. Anatomical curators were described as emaciated, prematurely aged and with a hacking cough. …
One of the most successful techniques for tissue preservation was bottling in alcohol. …
In the 18th century the University of Edinburgh handed over twelve gallons of whisky annually to the anatomy museum for the preservation of specimens. Possible not all of those twelve gallons made it into the specimen jars. The nature of the curator’s work – the smell, the problems with vermin and toxic fumes – must have made the odd sip of whisky very tempting. Indeed, more than one curator was dismissed for being drunk on the job.
Shelley described Frankenstein working in a small attic room using candlelight to illuminate his work. Small rooms, toxic vapours, alcohol fumes and naked flames are not a healthy combination. No wonder Shelley wrote the work took such a toll on Frankenstein’s health.
The year 1818 saw the publication of one of the most influential science-fiction stories of all time. Frankenstein: Or, Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley had a huge impact on gothic horror and science-fiction genres, and her creation has become part of our everyday culture, from cartoons to Hallowe’en costumes. Even the name ‘Frankenstein’ has become a by-word for evil scientists and dangerous experiments. How did a teenager with no formal education come up with the idea for an extraordinary novel such as Frankenstein?
Clues are dotted throughout Georgian science and popular culture. The years before the book’s publication saw huge advances in our understanding of the natural sciences, in areas such as electricity and physiology, for example. Sensational science demonstrations caught the imagination of the general public, while the newspapers were full of lurid tales of murderers and resurrectionists.
Making the Monster explores the scientific background behind Mary Shelley’s book. Is there any science fact behind the science fiction? And how might a real-life Victor Frankenstein have gone about creating his monster? From tales of volcanic eruptions, artificial life and chemical revolutions, to experimental surgery, ‘monsters’ and electrical experiments on human cadavers, Kathryn Harkup examines the science and scientists that influenced Shelley, and inspired her most famous creation.
The Frankenstein 2018 project is based at Volda University College in Norway, but aims to engage and include people from elsewhere in Norway and around the world.
The project is led by Timothy Saunders, an Associate Professor of English Literature and Culture at Volda University College.
If you would like to get in touch, either to offer comments on the website, to provide information about related projects or activities taking place around the world, or even to offer relevant material of your own, please write to me at email@example.com.
What a great idea and I wish the folks at Volda University College all the best.
The Monster Challenge
Washington University in St. Louis (WUSL; Missouri, US) is hosting a competition to create a ‘new Frankenstein’, from WUSL’s The Monster Challenge webpage,
On June 16, 1816, a 19-year-old woman sat quietly listening as her lover (the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley) and a small group of friends — including celebrated poet Lord Byron — discussed conducting a ghost-story contest. The couple was spending their holiday in a beautiful mansion on the banks of scenic Lake Geneva in Switzerland. As the conversation about ghost stories heated up, a discussion arose about the principle of life. Not surprisingly, the ensuing talk of graves and corpses led to a sleepless night filled with horrific nightmares for Mary Shelley. Later, she recalled her own contest entry began with eight words; “It was on a dreary night in November…” Just two years later, in 1818, that young woman, Mary Shelley, published her expanded submission as the novel Frankenstein, not only a classic of 19th-century fiction, but a work that has enjoyed immense influence on popular culture, science, medicine, philosophy and the arts all the way up to the present day.
THE MONSTER CHALLENGE
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication in 1818, Washington University is hosting a competition open to WU students (full time and registered in fall 2018), both undergraduate and graduate. The submission deadline is October 15, 2018.
The prompt for our own WU “Monster Challenge” is “The New Frankenstein”:
If you learned of a contest today, similar to the one that inspired the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818, what new Frankenstein would you create? Winning entries will be those best exemplifying the spirit, tone and feeling of Frankenstein for our age.
Submissions are eligible in two categories: written (including poetry, fiction, nonfiction and theater; 5000 word limit) and visual (including new media, experimental media, sound art, performance art, and design). Only one submission is allowed per student or student collaboration group. The winners will be determined by a jury of faculty members and announced in the fall 2018 semester. Winning entries will also be featured on the Frankenstein Bicentennial website (frankenstein200.wustl.edu).
Through the generosity of Provost Holden Thorpe’s office, winners will receive a cash prize as well as the opportunity to have their submission read, exhibited, and/or performed during the fall 2018 semester. Prizes are as follows:
WRITTEN CATEGORY VISUAL CATEGORY
Grand Prize: $1000 Grand Prize: $1000
2nd Prize: $500 2nd Prize: $500
3rd Prize: $250 3rd Prize: $250
HOW TO SUBMIT
Please review the guidelines below and download the appropriate submission form … for your project.
All submissions are due by 3 pm on October 15, 2018.
Only one submission is allowed per student or student collaboration group.
Electronic submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the appropriate submission form (right).
Non-electronic submissions should be dropped off at the Performing Arts Department in Mallinckrodt Center, Room 312 (specific dates and times to be determined). All applicants submitting work here must also send an email to email@example.com with a digital image of the work and the appropriate submission form (right). Entries should fit into a case 74″ w x 87″ h x 23″ d. For exceptions, please contact Professor Patricia Olynyk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For additional information about the contest, please contact the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities: email@example.com.
One of the most famous literary works of the last two centuries, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) permeates our cultural imagination. A man of science makes dead matter live yet abandons his own creation. A creature is composed of human body parts yet denied a place in human society. The epic struggle that ensues between creator and creature poses enduring questions to all of us. What do we owe our non-human creations? How might the pursuit of scientific knowledge endanger or empower humanity? How do we combine social responsibility with our technological power to alter living matter? These moral quandaries drive the novel as well as our own hopes and fears about modernity.
Over the last 200 years, Frankenstein has also become one of our most culturally productive myths. The Black Frankenstein became a potent metaphor for racial otherness in the 19th century and remains so to this day. From Boris Karloff as the iconic Monster of 1931 to the transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show of 1975, the novel has inspired dozens of films and dramatizations. Female poets from Margaret Atwood to Liz Lochhead and Laurie Sheck continue to wrestle with the novel’s imaginative possibilities. And Frankenstein, of course, permeates our material culture. Think no further than Franken Berry cereal, Frankenstein action figures, and Frankenstein bed pillows.
Please join us at Washington University in St. Louis as we celebrate Mary Shelley’s iconic novel and its afterlives with a series of events organized by faculty, students and staff from across the arts, humanities and life sciences. Highlights include the conference Frankenstein at 200, sponsored by the Center for the Humanities; a special Frankenstein issue of The Common Reader; a staging of Nick Dear’s play Frankenstein; the symposium The Curren(t)cy of Frankenstein, sponsored by the Medical School; a film series; several lectures; and exhibits designed to showcase the university’s museum and library collections.
This site aggregates all events related to the celebration. Please visit again for updates!
They do have a page for Global Celebrations and while the listing isn’t really global at this point (I’m sure they’re hoping that will change) it does open up a number of possibilities for Frankenstein aficionados, experts, and enthusiasts,
Technologies of Frankenstein
Stevens Institute of Technology, College of Arts and Letters and IEEE History Center
The 200th anniversary year of the first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus has drawn worldwide interest in revisiting the novel’s themes. What were those themes and what is their value to us in the early twenty-first century? In what ways might our tools of science and communication serve as an “elixir of life” since the age of Frankenstein?
Frankenstein@200 is a year-long series of academic courses and programs including a film festival, a play, a lecture series and an international Health Humanities Conference that will examine the numerous moral, scientific, sociological, ethical and spiritual dimensions of the work, and why Dr. Frankenstein and his monster still capture the moral imagination today..
San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, and University of San Francisco
During 2018, the San Francisco Bay area partners will host The Frankenstein Bicentennial. The novel brings together STEM fields with humanities & the arts in such a way to engage almost every discipline and major. The project’s events will address timely issues of our world in Silicon Valley and the advent of technology – a critical topic with questions important to our academic, regional and world communities. The novel, because it has been so popular for 200 years, lives on in discussions about what it means to be human in a digital world.
Next performance: Monday Feb. 26, 2018; 7 PM
Extended through 2018!
“..it is a success of a show that should be considered
something great in the realm of musical theater.”
“A musical love letter”
– Local Theatre NY
“…infused with enough emotion to send chills down the spine…”
– Local Theatre NY
““ an ambitious theater piece that is refreshingly buoyed up by its music””
– Theater Scene
a new Off-Broadway musical by Eric B. Sirota
based on Mary Shelley’s classic novel
Presented by John Lant, Tamra Pica & Write Act Repertory
at St. Luke’s Theater in the heart of the theatre district
. . . a sweeping romantic musical, about the human need for love and companionship,
which honors its source material.
Performances Monday nights at 7 PM
tickets to performances into March currently on sale
(scroll down for performance schedule)
Contact us for Special Group Sales and Buyouts at: info@TheFrankensteinMusical.com
St. Luke’s Theatre
an Off-Broadway venue in the heart of the theatre district on “Restaurant Row”
308 West 46th Street (btwn. 8th and 9th Ave.)
– Book, Music & Lyrics: Eric B. Sirota
-Additional lyrics: Julia Sirota
– Director: Clint Hromsco
– Music Director: Austin Nuckols
(original music direction by Anessa Marie)
– Producer: John Lant, Tamra Pica and Write Act Repertory
– CAST: Jon Rose, Erick Sanchez-Canahuate, Gabriella Marzetta, Stephan Amenta, Cait Kiley, Adam Kee, Samantha Collette, Amy Londyn, Stephanie Lourenco Viegas, Bryan S. Walton
Eric Sirota developed Frankenstein under the working title of “Day of Wrath”, an Official Selection of the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival’s Reading Series
Feb 26, Mon; 7 PM
Mar 5, Mon; 7 PM
Tickets to later dates on sale soon. . .
March 12, 19, 24
April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
May . . .
Jun . . .
running though 2018
2018 – Frankenstein bicentennial year!
The Purgatory Press*
The Purgatory Press blog’s* John Culbert (author and lecturer at the University of British Columbia) wrote a January 1, 2018 essay celebrating and examining Mary Shelley’s classic,
She was born in 1797, toward the end of the Little Ice Age. Wolves had been extirpated from the country, but not so long ago that one could forget. Man’s only predator in the British Isles was now a mental throwback. Does the shadow of extinction fall on the children of perpetrators? What strange gap is left in the mind of men suddenly raised from the humble status of prey?
In the winter of her sixteenth year, the river Thames froze in London for the last time. The final “Frost Fair,” a tradition dating back centuries, was held February 1814 on the river’s hard surface.
The following year, a volcano in present-day Indonesia erupted. It was the most powerful and destructive event of its kind in recorded history. Fallout caused a “volcanic winter” across the Northern Hemisphere. In 1816 – “the year without a summer” – she was in Switzerland, where she began writing her first novel, Frankenstein, published 200 years ago today — on January 1st, 1818.
Fascinating, yes? I encourage you to read the whole piece.
3–8 April (with special events on 28 March and 27–28 April)
The Science Museum is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus with a free festival exploring the science behind this cultural phenomenon.
Through immersive theatre, experimental storytelling and hands-on activities visitors can examine the ethical and scientific questions surrounding the artificial creation of life. Families can step in Doctor Frankenstein’s shoes, creating a creature and bringing it to life using stop motion animation at our drop-in workshops.
In the Mystery at Frankenstein’s Lab visitors can solve puzzles and conduct experiments in an escape room-like interactive experience. Visitors are also invited to explore the Science Museum as you’ve never heard it before in It’s Alive, an immersive Frankenstein-themed audio tour. Both these activities have limited availability so pre-booking is advised.
In Pandemic, you decide how far Dr Victor should go to tackle a virus sweeping the world. Is it right to create new life to save others? You decide where to draw the line in this choose-your-own-adventure experience. Visitors can also see Humanity 2.0, a play created and performed by actor Emily Carding. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the play examines what could happen if a benevolent AI recreated humanity.
As part of the festival, visitors will meet researchers at the cutting-edge of science—from bio chemists who manipulate DNA to engineers creating artificial intelligence—and discover fascinating scientific objects with our curators which could have influenced Shelley.
The Frankenstein Festival will run daily from 3–8 April at the Science Museum and is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Tickets for activities with limited availability are available from sciencemuseum.org.uk/Frankenstein.
Our free adult-only Frankenstein Lates on 28 March will focus on the darker themes of Shelley’s iconic novel, with the Promethean Tales Weekend on 27–28 April, featuring panel discussions and special screenings of Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Curse of Frankenstein in our IMAX cinema.
Frankenstein Festival activities include:
An immersive audio tour created by Cmd+Shift in collaboration with the Science Museum. The tour takes 45 minutes and is limited to 15 people per session. Recommended for ages 8+. Tickets cost £3 and are available here.
Mystery at Frankenstein’s Lab
This interactive, theatrical puzzle experience has been created by Atomic Force Productions, in collaboration with the Science Museum. Each session lasts 45 minutes and is limited to 10 people per session. Recommended for ages 12+, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets cost £10 and are available here.
Create Your Own Creature
Get hands on at our drop-in workshops and create your very own creature. Then bring your creature to life with stop motion animation. This activity takes approximately 20 minutes and is suitable for all ages.
Humanity 2.0 (3–5 April)
Step into a dystopian future and help shape the future of humanity in this unique interactive play created and performed by Emily Carding. Her full body make-up was created by award winning body painter Victoria Gugenheim in collaboration with the Science Museum. The play has a run time of 45 minutes and is recommended for ages 12+.
Pandemic (5–8 April)
This choose-your-own-adventure film puts you in control of a psychological thriller. Your decisions will guide Dr Victor on their quest to create artificial life.
Pandemic was created by John Bradburn in collaboration with the Science Museum. The film contains moderate psychological threat and horror sequences that some people may find disturbing. The experiences lasts 45 minutes and is recommended for ages 14+. Tickets are free and are available here.
Frankenstein Festival events include:
Wednesday 28 March, 18.45–22.00
Join us for a fun free evening of events, workshops and screenings as we ask the question ‘should we create life’.
Lates is a free themed-event for adults at the Science Museum on the last Wednesday of each month. Find out more about Lates at sciencemuseum.org.uk/Lates.
Artificial Life: Should We, Could We, Will We?
Wednesday 28 March as part of the Frankenstein Lates
A panel of expert scientists and researchers will discuss artificial life. Just how close are we to creating fully synthetic life and will this be achieved by biological or digital means?
Discussing those questions will be Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College and scientific advisor for the hit movie Ex Machina Murray Shanahan, Vice President of the International Society for Artificial Life Susan Stepney and Lead Curator of the Science Museum’s acclaimed 2017 exhibition Robots Ben Russell. Further speakers to be announced.
Promethean Tales Weekend
Terminator 2: Judgement Day + Panel Discussion
Friday 27 April, 19.30–22.35 (Doors open 19.00)
Tickets: £8, £6 Concessions
Age 15 and above
In part one of our Promethean Tales Weekend celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we will be joined by a panel of experts in science, film and literature to discuss the topic of ‘Promethean Tales through the ages’ ahead of a screening of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
The Curse of Frankenstein and Q&A with Sir Christopher Frayling
Saturday 28 April, 18.00–20.30 (Doors open 17.30)
Tickets: £8, £6 Concessions
In part two of our Promethean Tales Weekend, we are joined by Sir Christopher Frayling, author of Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years, to discuss the life and work of Shelley, the origins of her seminal story and its cultural impact.
The screening of The Curse of Frankenstein will be followed by a book signing with copies of Sir Christopher’s book available to purchase on the night.
You can find out more about the festival and get tickets to events, here.
This initiative seems like a lot of fun, from the Frankenreads homepage,
Frankenreads is an NEH [US National Endowment for the Humanitities]-funded initiative of the Keats-Shelley Association of America and partners to hold a series of events and initiatives in honor of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, featuring especially an international series of readings of the full text of the novel on Halloween 2018.
They have a very open approach as their FAQs webpage attests to,
Why host a Frankenreads event?
Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus appeals to both novice and expert readers alike and is a work that remains highly relevant to contemporary issues. Thus it is perhaps no surprise that (according to the Open Syllabus project) Frankenstein is the most frequently taught work of literature in college English courses and the fifth most frequently taught book in college courses in all disciplines. It is certainly one of the most read British novels in the world. Hosting a Frankenreads event is an easy way both to celebrate the 200th anniversary of this important work and to foster discussion about issues such as ethics in science and the human tendency to demonize the unfamiliar. By participating in Frankenreads, you can make sure that your thoughts about Frankenstein are part of a global conversation.
What kind of event can I host?
You can host any kind of event you like! Below are some suggestions. Click on the event type for further guidance.
Complete Reading — A live, all-day reading (about 9 hours) of the full text of Frankenstein
Viewing — A community viewing on Halloween 2018 of the livestream of the NEH reading or other online events
Other — Whatever other kind of in-person or online event you can think of!
Should I hold in-person events or online events?
Either or both! We encourage you to record in-person events and upload video to our YouTube channel. We will also be providing advice on holding events via Google Hangouts.
When should I hold the event?
You can hold a Frankenreads event any time you like, but we encourage you to schedule an event during Frankenweek: October 24-31, 2018.
Why post my event on the Frankenreads website?
Posting your event on the Frankenreads website enables the Frankenreads team to publicize your event widely, to give you help with your event, and to connect you with others who are holding nearby or similar events.
How do I post my event on the Frankenreads website?