Science for Progress

because science is fundamental in the 21st century

Podcast for Progress!

In our podcast series we began featuring our team members, but soon we move on to include other guests! In the podcast we talk about topics related to science, humanities, society, and of course progress!

The podcast has it's own RSS feed. You can also find it on iTunes, Stitcher, and BluBrry!

#5: Mental Health during your PhD – with Lauriane Nallet

Working on your PhD is a stressful phase, and the academic culture isn’t making it better. In this episode I talk to Lauriane Nallet, who is a PhD student in Switzerland. She has a personal history with depression and even PTSD. Lauriane shares what she learned at a workshop on mental health issues in grad school, and also her own experience with mental health issues: symptoms to look out for, how she found help, and what therapy could do for her. We also talk about some aspects of academia that contribute to the stress, including high expectations for work load and ‘passion’, and the ‘publish or perish’ culture.

Visit Lauriane’s blog!

clarifying comment

We mention an article claiming a 6x increased prevalence of depression in graduate students. The article is being criticized for methodological confines. However, another study which was conducted using methods with fewer confines, still finds a 2.8x higher prevalence for depression in PhD students when compared to highly educated workers.

A brief introduction to the Portuguese skeptics community COMCEPT

I interviewed Diana Barbosa about COMCEPT, a Portuguese skeptics community.

Diana told me about events they will be at over the next two weeks. However, the full episode is scheduled for June 1st.

So I cut together a brief intro into COMCEPT and promo for two events!

For Saturday afternoon, May 5th, COMCEPT is invited to talk about their book ‘Não Se Deixe Enganar’ (Don’t fool yourself), a guide to skepticism, as well as other books and science communication at the livraria barata.

On May 12th, COMCEPT will have their monthly meeting. These meetings alternate between Lisbon and Porto. Diana was excited to announce that their guest this month, in Porto, will be João Júlio Cerqueira, the creator of the SciMed blog about scientifically supported medicine.

#4: Founding Science for Progress, and the representation of science in public.

Guest: Dr. Dennis Eckmeier
Guest Host: Hugo Bettencourt

“We face a dilemma in conveying the scientific process to the public, and even within academia: Real science doesn’t fit the elements of effective storytelling.”

Dennis had been vocal on topics surrounding academia, science and pseudoscience on social media for several years. Thus, he readily volunteered to co-organize the March for Science in Lisbon, in 2017. He wants to disseminate the understanding of science, humanities and academia by the public, but also systemic changes within academia.

In the first part of this episode he explains how he decided to found Science for Progress, and what our current goals are. The second part is about the image of scientists in the public. In Dennis’ opinion, story telling in scientific reporting, science journalism, but also in pop culture, creates a distorted image of scientists. The dilemma is that good story telling that consumers enjoy, does not fit the reality of scientific research.



#3: The March for Science in Germany

Guests: Dr. Tanja Baudson and Claus Martin, coordinators of the March for Science in Germany

“The population says, ‘this external funding lowers the trust in science!’ “ – Tanja Gabriele Baudson

“I think our task as citizens and as people interested in science, and in truth, and in freedom, [is] to prevent that something like what happened in the United States is going to happen in Germany aswell.” – Claus Martin

Mark the date! The March for Science 2018 is on April 14th! Last year, the March for Science in Germany was the largest (in terms of number of marches) outside the USA. Dr. Tanja Gabriele Baudson, giftedness researcher and visiting professor at the University of Luxemburg, and Claus Martin, a director and composer from Mühlheim, brought local organizer teams together, and coordinated them! In our first external interview, the two describe how they decided to take the initiative. We also cover what they identified as the issue underlying the spread of anti-science sentiments in Germany: a lack of trust in science in the population due to the influence of third party funding. And finally we talk about activities planned for this year’s March for Science in Germany.

further information


#2: Science History & Philosophy, and Research in Museum Collections

Science History & Philosophy, and Research in Museum Collections

“people should learn scientific knowledge to be able to discuss important topics and use science for good”

Our guest is Gabriella Ferreira, a masters student in Science Philosophy. She talks about her work at the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, and her studies of Science Philosophy. Gabriella showcases the importance of historical collections for current research efforts. Work done in natural history museums can be applied to conservation purposes, and to study the evolution of species.

She further talks about the history of science. Some of the questions posed by ancient natural philosophers are still studied, today, using modern science. We also talked a bit about modern bio-ethical problems.



#1: Science Communication and FameLab

Science Communication and the FameLab Competition

In 2017, Hugo Bettencourt was finalist of the Portuguese section of the science communication competition ‘FameLab’, and appeared at the Noite Europeia dos Investigadores 2017. Here, he talks about this experience.

FameLab is an international science communication competition initiated by the British Council. Hugo explains the application process, and what is expected from the presentations. He also shares some of what he learned in the special science communication workshop for finalists. At the end he had a great experience and made some friends. And it even got him some additional gigs as a science communicator.