Science for Societal Progress - podcast
In the podcast we talk about topics related to science, humanities, society, and of course progress!
because science is fundamental in the 21st century
It’s the time of the year when many of us slow down and think about our career decisions. Are you happy with yours? Are you considering a change? I am, in fact, going to make a change in 2021.
On this podcast, I talked about careers outside of academia a couple of times. This time I talk with Dr. Jennifer Polk from Toronto, Canada. She’s a career coach for PhDs. I came across her Twitter account a while back and thought this would make a great episode.
She describes how she helps PhDs to find out what they want from life and how to find a fitting job.(more…)
Food production, transportation, and consumption habits have an immense impact on health, biodiversity, and the climate. Which food we eat influences our risks for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases; but also the use of land, water, fertilizers, and pesticides, Prices are the main driver for our decisions at the grocery store, but – just as we discussed in the context of mobility and industry as a whole in earlier episodes – the true costs from damages done to the environment by unsustainable agricultural practices are hidden from the consumer.(more…)
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is the idea of bringing stakeholders to the table when we plan our research strategies. The EU-funded project “FIT4RRI” was tasked with finding out why aspects of RRI – such as citizen science projects or the adoption of open science – are applied only little by European research institutes and their researchers. Experiments were conducted to find out how research projects can implement RRI principles right from the beginning. Based on that knowledge they then proceeded to develop guidelines and recommendations for institutions to foster RRI. And finally, they developed an online training course for researchers and administrators to learn about Responsible Research & Innovation practices.
Maxie Gottschling (University of Göttingen) and Helene Brinken (now at the Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology) were part of a German workgroup within the much larger project. In this conversation, they give us some insights into what FIT4RRI found out, and what can be done.(more…)
My guest in this episode is Dr. Maria-Elena Vorrath, a geologist who studies the history of climate change, who just finished her PhD. Besides her work as a researcher she is a science communicator with Scientists for Future.
Her message is clear: we can’t stop climate change, but we can slow the temperature rise. Every bit of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions saves lives down the line. And: A low-carbon society cannot rely on low-emission-technologies, only, but it also has to reduce it’s overall consumption.
We further talk about Elena’s background and research, as well as her science communication for Scientists for Future.(more…)
One of my favorite topics is artificial intelligence, or – more specifically – what we can learn from neuroscience about artificial intelligence. So, when I was gifted the book “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark I enjoyed the read thoroughly. But, several scenarios envisioned in the book as paths to human-like artificial intelligence didn’t make sense to me, as a neuroscientist. So a bestseller book on artificial intelligence completely ignored the views of neuroscience.
This is why invited Dr. Grace Lindsay, host of the podcast “Unsupervised Thinking” about computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Grace is a postdoc at University College London, and she is currently writing a popular book about computational neuroscience.(more…)
My co-host Bart Geurten and I had a rather spontaneous conversation, again. We talk about remote teaching, how science communication and science journalism could be supported by the public, and speculate about how the political fringe might be missing a sense of belonging.
Following a catch-up about our lives in the pandemic, we talk about taking lectures online. Should we do it? Are there circumstances when it makes sense? Or does it remove important social interactions among students?(more…)
Postdocs are, besides graduate students, the main workforce in academic research. Following the PhD, the postdoc position is the only way to follow a research career within academia. Many PhDs around the world are advised to go to the USA for a postdoc – or two – because it is known for its large research output and high-quality research institutes. Around two-thirds of postdocs in the USA are foreign-born.
In this episode, I talk to Gary McDowell, a UK born scientist in protein research who, over the last few years, worked with “Future of Research” to investigate the conditions postdocs in the USA are facing. The situation appears to be far from optimal. And this doesn’t just hurt the postdocs and their families; it also impacts research productivity.
For this episode, I spoke with Dr. Jonathan Köhler who studies the transformation of the transportation and mobility sectors using computational models at Competence Centre Sustainability and Infrastructure Systems of Fraunhofer Institute.
He discusses how ships and aircraft can become carbon neutral, and answers some common questions on the topic. He then talks about his experience with Scientists for Future and Fridays for Future. In the end, he gives us a vision of how mobility could look like in a climate-neutral city.(more…)
For this episode, Bart and I had a rather spontaneous chat about conspiracy beliefs and science communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Worldwide conspiracy myths about SARS-CoV-2 appear to be on the rise, and conspiracy narrators team up with other cranks in demonstrations – ‘hygiene demos’ they call it in Germany. And the far right is taking advantage of them.(more…)
For this episode, Dennis talked to Dmitry Kopelyanskiy, a contest-winning science communicator who gives entertaining science talks on stage – mostly about his own research on tropical diseases. But here, Dmitry also talks about his academic career odyssey (from Russia to Switzerland via Israel and Germany), his path to science communication, and his involvement in “Skills for Scientists” – a career development program at the University of Lausanne.
Over the past two years, Dmitry Kopelyanskiy has been quite successful at science communication contests. At FameLab he made it all the way to the international finals in the UK! But he also did rather well at a number of Science Slam events. Last year he had been involved with Pint of Science in Lausanne as an organizer, and he has become a moderator at FameLab. In the contests, the candidates must explain their science in a clear AND entertaining way. This is – as he says – a skill every scientist should have in order to defend their science; be it as a publishing academic, as a graduating Ph.D. student, or as a scientist who finds himself in a heated discussion with an antivax cab driver – as he once did. And if you can make it fun and interesting, even better!(more…)